Almost every poker player dreams of turning a small investment into a massive payout. It’s this reason that satellite tournaments are so popular. Ireland’s Daniel Smyth proved this particular poker dream is still alive by turning a $33 satellite entry into almost $430,000 and a World Poker Tour title.
Daniel came out on top of a star-studded field in the $3,200 WPT Knockout Championship. His reward came in the shape of a $208,803 payout from the main prize pool, an additional $204,588 worth of bounty payments, and a free $15,000 seat to the next WPT Tournament of Champions.
He’s obviously a very happy man right now.
“It feels super,” Daniel told the partypoker blog, “the WPT is the most well known and respected poker tour in my opinion and to become a champion is something I’m very proud of. This victory comes 10 years after my best previous result and certainly trumps my Sunday Million victory. To beat the best of the best in a high buy-in event gives me great confidence.”
The Irishman was a rather unknown quantity to our Twitch commentators but anyone who has followed the British and Irish poker scene will no doubt have heard Daniel’s name banded around. He may not play as much poker as he once did – a high flying finance job eats into his spare time – but he’s still got the skills to pay the bills, as they say.
“I started playing home games with friends during our final year of school and picked up online poker the next year playing $10 and $10 rebuys on the old Ladbrokes site. In recent years, I have played more sporadically but during the COVID restrictions I have put in more volume playing games from $10 to $100 and satellites into bigger Sunday events.”
The satellite seat guarantees partypoker have been putting up are incredible this WPT series
His satellite prowess is there for all to see. Hardly anyone else in the world has ever managed to win so much from a prestigious event from such a small initial outlay. Unsurprisingly, Daniel is a fan of the WPT satellites we’re offering.
“Satellites are a fantastic way to get into a bigger tournament and can often offer lots of value. The satellite seat guarantees partypoker have been putting up are incredible this WPT series. You are often going to find added value and extra tickets in the prize pool when the number of entries doesn’t reach the guarantee; which has happened quite a lot this series.”
“Rob Yong has been instrumental in the restructuring of the format of these tournaments, allowing only one re-entry stops the field from getting diluted with professionals and regular grinders which can only be good for increasing the chances of the average punter qualifying for the next round.”
Daniel admits he ran hot from the moment the Knockout Championship started and was involved in a big pot during the 10,000/20,000/2,500a level. A short-stacked player jammed for 187,340, the button re-shoved for 474,062, and Daniel called in the big blind with .
“I don’t recall the exact bounties of each player but if I KO’d both I stood a chance at instantly banking something like $3,000. Jack-ten suited felt like it could have good equity considering the original raise was short and the late position isolator could have a lot of weak aces and low pairs.”
As it happens, the original raiser held and the button . A jack on the flop won the $3,000 worth of bounties and catapulted Daniel to almost 2,500,000 chips.
Players often have a game plan in their heads when they reach a final table. Daniel admits his initial play was to target Joao Maureli who he had position on and who he knew plays lower stakes than most of the other players at the final table. Joao won his $3,200 seat as an added prize to his victory in a $22 Mini Masters tournament earlier in the month.
“This plan backfired a bit because Joao played back very well post-flop when I three-bet him, putting me in handcuffs.”
A huge flip with against Pim Gieles’ didn’t go to plan either and it left Daniel on fumes. A few hands later, Daniel rolled the dice against Artur Maritrosian and secured a much needed double up.
“When Artur opened from middle position and I found in the small blind with seven big blinds, I felt I could get my cards in live a lot of the time and couldn’t allow the blinds to come through me again. So I rolled the dice there and was very lucky to double.”
Our champion flopped a king to beat .
Another huge hand, a pivotal hand, went Daniel’s way in a battle with eventual runner-up Manig Loeser. You can watch the hand in the clip above before Daniel explains what went down.
“The double versus Manig was also pivotal. I felt I had built back up a tight enough image by this stage and with the fact I covered the last caller into the pot (for bounty purposes), coupled with the fact the player under the gun had been opening from early position frequently. I was really banking on Manig having a marginal hand here and that he was not trapping. I don’t think the button is ever trapping here. I went with the jam and hit the best suckout of my career!”
Heads-up didn’t initially go Daniel’s way and he lost a big flip to find himself whittled down to 20 big blinds, but he never lost faith and was rewarded with a double up.
“With a second chance at the title, I decided to try take on Manig properly and play some heads-up poker. I feel I played through the streets very well against Manig when we were deep stacked. Whenever I got him short-stacked, I was willing to play high variance and really lean on him with lots of all-ins, which worked out well.”
Worked out well is a huge understatement because Daniel got the job done and walked away with a huge prize and a WPT title to his name.
Daniel’s watched the recorded live-streamed action back since his win, partly to make sure that he’d actually turned his $33 into almost $430,000.
“I watched it back the day after to make sure it was real and I was not dreaming! Great coverage from WPT – the banter between the guys on Day 2 was great and I have to say Jamie Kerstetter is a great addition to the commentary because she has a great in-depth knowledge of today’s game.”
So, what’s next for Daniel in regards to the WPT World Online Championships? Any more satellite to riches stories brewing?
“I actually won a $10,000 PPLIVE Passport on Sunday so now plan to use that for the WPT Main Event as I think a lot of the plans for live events are up in the air at the moment. I also have a ticket for the medium $1,100 event so will be playing that also. I will probably play some of the other WPT tournaments and try to take a shot at the leaderboard.”
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