Belfast man Marty Smyth opens up about his WSOP bracelet victory in the $10,000 PLO event
THE ULTIMATE AMBITION OF COMING OVER WAS to get to a final table. I came out in 2006 and 2007 and played maybe eight events without cashing. I think if I hadn’t cashed this year I probably wouldn’t have come back. I really wanted to get a few cashes under my belt to convince myself I could do it over here.
WHEN I GOT TO THE FINAL TABLE I THOUGHT, ‘Okay, I have achieved all I wanted to this year.’ I never thought I was going to win it until I got heads-up. I would have been happy to go out in fifth or sixth. But when I got heads-up and was almost over the line I realised how disappointed I would be to finish second.
THERE WERE SOME BIG NAMES ON THE FINAL table such as Michael Mizrachi and Kido Pham. They are very good tournament players and they know how to put the pressure on and use their stack, but I don’t think they know the game of Omaha as well as I do. So I thought I would have an edge if I could keep the pots small and make decisions after the flop.
MY STRATEGY WAS TO PLAY VERY TIGHT AT the start and see a lot of flops cheaply. Halfway through I was thinking I might have blown my chance because I had anted myself down to 600,000. I was thinking at that point maybe I should have gambled more, but then I doubled through against Michael Mizrachi and then doubled through again, and from that point on I thought I had a good chance to win it.
PETER JETTEN [WHO FINISHED SECOND] CERTAINLY seemed like he was playing the best poker at the final table. So when we got to heads-up I wanted to push him out of his comfort zone and get a lot of money in before the flop. I don’t want to say I was second favourite against the guy, but I thought he was at least as good as me.
THERE WAS A POT WHERE HE BLUFFED ME OUT OF A hand. I had A-10 and I raised him on an A-10-9 flop and he called. A Jack came on the turn and I thought any of the hands he should have were now ahead, so I folded my hand face up and he showed me a bluff [Q?-J?-7?-6?]. I was having horrors and my head was in bits. I knew it would take a couple of years to get over it if I ended up losing from there.
THE ONLY THING LEFT IS WINNING THE MAIN EVENT, BUT I fully expect that not to happen. I have already achieved far more than I ever thought I could and whatever happens from here on is a bonus. I’m never going to be disappointed with anything that happens from now on.
Grab yourself a digital subscription to PokerPlayer for more great interviews like this