Sorel Mizzi’s is a sponsored poker pro. Read about his experience of the WSOPE: “I simply transferred my Hold’em theory to the Omaha event”

Betfair pro Sorel Mizzi reflects on his 2008 WSOPE experience…

As I sit at the desk in my hotel room the significance of the last month in London dawns on me. This has been my first WSOPE as a Betfair-sponsored pro, so it was really important that amid the sea of Full Tilters and Pokerstars pros the small Betfair team held its own in its own sponsored poker tournament. Also, with fellow team members John Tabatabai and Annette Obrestad doing so well last year it was vital for me to join the group of WSOPE success stories.

Event 1, the £1,500 No-Limit Hold’em didn’t really go to plan. I made an early exit, having got off to a bad start when an older guy bluffed me off Aces in one of the very first hands, and it went downhill from there.

However, it was the £5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha that proved to be the unlikely forum for my success. No-limit Hold’em has always been my strongest game but one of the most important factors of tourney play is the ability to maintain timely aggression, so I simply transferred my Hold’em theory to the Omaha event. As the tournament progressed I really felt that my game was improving, and as the breaks arrived I disappeared back to my hotel room to talk tactics with a few friends who were more experienced in PLO.

I played solid throughout the tournament with the exception of one big bluff on a man who I’d witnessed pick off at least six bluffs during the tournament. Every time he called a bluff I would tell him how sick he was and how I’d never even consider bluffing him. The fact he knew I was scared to bluff him and that I’d seen him call some huge bluffs, meant that my play would have a much higher success rate.

It was when we were down to five that I decided it was time to bluff the unbluffable… With blinds of 6000/12,000 Erik [Friberg] completed on the small blind to see a flop of A-8-6. He bet 20k into the pot and I called with 7-7-6-4 giving me the blockers to the straight, that I planned on representing if it hit. The turn was the 10? – BINK! I hit my imaginary straight and decided to represent it as strong as possible. He bet out 60k and I min-raised him to 120k total; he called with 175k behind him. The river was the 3? so I moved all-in with fourth pair and was pretty happy to see him insta-fold.

My tournament experience really helped as the field dissolved, and with only two left I had the bracelet within my sights. With only an Ace or Jack standing between winning my first bracelet I stood up as observers craned their necks towards the table. Sadly the four-outer hit and I was left crippled… the rest is history. Would I have taken a second in the Omaha before the tournament? Probably. Is that much consolation? Probably not.


The Main Event, however, failed to yield the same success, but I had a decent run at the EPT London the following weekend, cashing in the top 30. Despite the inevitable frustration of not going all the way, the trip to London was definitely worth it. Betfair and Harrah’s put on the best-structured tournament in the world with the most exciting field of the year.

Outside the poker room I caught up with friends and sampled my fair share of the London nightlife. As usual the betting continued between friends and within the first couple of days I’d taken $ 2k off John and Annette by eating the 1.3kg steak-tasting menu. Much of this profit – and subsequent gastric pain – was in vain as I had a sick run on video game prop bets and the new betting phenomenon ‘Johnny Lodden thinks’. Next up is the WPT where I’m going to go and crush some waffles. See you next year London!

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