Julian Thew – How I won the 2007 EPT Baden

End of the line

I played the European circuit non-stop for five years and I just couldn’t do it any more. The emotional swings are too big. I am a player that has had some success and even for me, after five years I couldn’t take the disappointment anymore. It’s gruelling rolling up to different stops, busting out and wanting to get home as soon as possible. There came a point where I just really didn’t want to go to these places because there was too much pressure. It coincided with a downswing where I wasn’t having deep runs. I fell out of love with the game and I started playing locally purely to bring in some wages and because it didn’t require that much effort. I had two years from the end of 2009 where I wasn’t happy with the situation.

Even though I have the hunger back I don’t have any desire to hit the circuit hard. And I’m not bankrolled for EPTs now. You’d have to have a few million spare. I have been sensible with the money I have won and it’s all tied up. I don’t have a huge bankroll but I have enough to play mid-stakes tournaments in the UK and Ireland.

I quite often watch the live feeds of the EPTs now. I definitely get a hankering for going back out there and I’d like to have another shot at an EPT soon [although] I probably can’t compete at that level right now. I definitely don’t feel like I would be one of the favourites, but I have played long enough to know that you just need a little bit of rungood and then once you get deep experience counts for a lot.

The trouble with youth

I fear for a lot of younger players in the UK that are playing professionally. It may be going well now but it might not in the long-term. I was in my early 30s before I took up poker. Before that I was a draughtsman, drawing architectural pictures, for 14 years. It made me appreciate the value of money. We never had savings – and then in poker you can suddenly have these big life-changing scores, which are unimaginable when you work a nine-to-five.

We were very sensible with the money and apart from the odd car now and again we didn’t splurge much at all. I have four kids now and it would definitely worry me if they wanted to turn professional at 18. It can all work out well for a while but are you going to be able to get a job at 25 when you’ve never worked before and you’re used to partying hard?

The hands that won the tournament

1. Julian Thew Q♣-8♣ vs Thomas Fuller 6-6

Vladimir Poleschuk raises to 70,000 with A-9, Fuller calls with 6-6 and Thew completes from the big blind with Q♣-8♣. The flop is K♣-6♣-Q, hitting Thew and Fuller hard. Fuller bets 130k, Thew raises to 430k and Poleschuk folds. Fuller then shoves and Thew calls all-in. The A♣ comes on the turn and 5♣ on the river to give Thew a huge double-up.

I got lucky when we were four-handed against a young American guy called Thomas Fuller. He was definitely the strongest opponent for me at the table. It was inevitable that we would get it in when he flopped bottom set and I flopped middle pair and a flush draw. Fuller had me covered so I would have been out in fourth – but lucky me, I hit the flush! I probably wouldn’t play it that way now as I’m a bit more conservative but I didn’t think that way in 2007.

I was gutted when I saw he had a set and not just something like an overpair. I was now looking for around eight outs, which luckily came in on the turn. It was my tournament after winning that hand. Earlier in my career I would have then raised every single pot and tried to finish the job early but I had learned over the years that you can’t just close it out, you have to let the game take its course and grind out the win.

2. Julian Thew A-8 vs Denes Kalo A♠-5

Julian Thew raises to 80k with A-8 and Kalo three-bets to 300k. Thew moves all-in and after a long tank Kalo calls. The board runs out 2♠-6♠-T– K♣-9♣ and Julian Thew wins the 2007 EPT Baden.

I was slowly getting away from him in chips and I just knew that he was going to take a stand at some point. I felt that this was probably the time. Although I’d much rather have some paint with that hand it felt like A-8 was the one to go with. He might even fold if I shoved. This was the time though and luckily I had him outkicked. I was just praying for him not to hit his kicker!

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