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Team Online’s Travis “DramaticDegen” Darroch enjoyed a fantastic result last week when he turned a $22 buy-in satellite ticket into a prize worth more than $100,000 courtesy of striking a deal when play was three-handed in the $1 million guaranteed partypoker MILLION.

Darroch managed to capture the whole event, including the deal-making, on his Twitch channel, which was watched by dozens of Darroch’s fans and followers. We reached out to Darroch and asked him about his recent good form, his superb victory, and for some tips for partypoker players wanting to follow in his footsteps.

Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, Travis. First of all, prior to this big win, you have been enjoying plenty of success. What do you put that down to? A change in lifestyle? Are you studying more, or maybe just running hotter than the sun!

I would say all of the above. My game has definitely improved over the last year. I decided to be more consistent with my studies, and more open to the opinions of my peers. After a while, I actually looked forward to studying. I enjoy trying to solve the puzzle when I have interesting hands.

Despite my increase in work ethic and studies, there’s no denying that I’ve run very very good this year. For instance, I had 1.5bb at the final table of a $1,050 KO Series this past summer, and I ran it back up to a second-place finish! That’s the craziness of MTTs in a nutshell. You study so that when you’re running good, you can take advantage. And I’m happy to say I took advantage of a lot of good luck this year!

What made you enter a $22 satellite? Is there significant value in them? I guess even pro players like to lower their overall costs.

To be honest, it was the final satellite running before the last Day 1 of that Sunday’s $215 partypoker MILLION. However, the satellite in question finished too late, so I ended up having to use it for the proceeding week’s Day 1A. The poker gods had a different plan for me!

As for value in satellites, there’s an insane amount. It’s filled with players who don’t understand how to fully adjust to satellite ICM. I recommend players try their hand at grinding satellites instead of taking massive shots. That way you can still follow reasonable bankroll management (BRM) and get your shot at glory without breaking the bank!

Which Day 1 did you play and how did that go for you?

I played Day 1A. It went fairly well. I got a little too fancy and tried to bully the table towards the end of the day. I figured there were enough people who badly wanted a Day 2 and I could take advantage of that. But what started as a good plan (60bb on the second last level) didn’t work out so great (27bb at the end of the day). Oh well, it still worked out!

Were there any key hands on your way to the final table that stood out from the crowd? What about at the final table?

There were quite a few. I ran very well leading up to the final table. First, I won AJo vs 88 and QQ all in preflop, with about 40 people left. QQ flopped the set, but I turned a straight and held! Next with about 30 left, I shoved 16bb in the big blind vs the button with A3s. The button had A7s, but I rivered the three! Then not long after, I won AJdd vs JJ and KK all-in preflop, by flopping the nut flush! It was pretty crazy. Even with all this run good, I think I made some pretty decent plays too. I triple barrel bluffed Ad6c on KhJs4cTc6s and it got through, with 15 left! I have a video out of all the crazy hands here:

Was there a point on the final table where you thought you had the tournament in the bag and would win the entire thing?

I always enter every final table with the confidence that I can win it. Going in feeling good about yourself always trumps self doubt. At the same time, surrendering to the unknown and focusing on playing your best will always produce positive results.

You eventually struck a three-handed deal and scooped $106,000, your largest score to date. What was the thinking behind taking the deal?

The Degen in me would prefer to play it out. But this is life-changing money! If I was chip leader with a large stack difference with my opponents, I probably would have considered playing it out. But when I’m 3/3, with only 6bb difference between myself and the chip leader, I thought it would be best to look at the numbers. In the deal, third would get $106k ($40k more than the guaranteed payouts), and I decided it was best to take the lower variance approach and agree to the deal. I’m happy I did it!

How good did it feel to bag such a big score live on you Twitch channel? Were you receiving plenty of support from fans?

The regulars in my channel have always been supportive of me, and they’ve always told me it was only a matter of time before one of these big scores game along. I also knew that if I kept grinding away, continued working on my game, and stayed patient, one of these glorious moments would come knocking on my doorstep. It was great to get to share that with the Twitch Poker community.
The support has been pretty overwhelming. I’ve easily received at least 100 messages across all platforms from people congratulating me. I’m incredibly grateful.

Have you any plans for the newfound six-figure score? Will it be going into the bankroll? Investments? Treating yourself?

Some of it will stay in the roll, but most of it will go straight to the bank. I still have a tiny bit of student debt to pay off, so it’ll be great to see that go away. I’m not entirely sure what to do after that. I want to set myself up so that Twitch and poker become a sustainable source of my lifestyle for many years to come. Setting up my finances to contribute to those goals will be a priority going forward. As for treating myself: video games. Lots and lots of video games! I’m a nerd. Can’t help it.

What do you think about the multi-day MILLION structure? Is it positive? What about the early finish time compared to similar large field tournaments?

Personally, I think it’s by far the best value Sunday MTT out of all the platforms. Hopefully, the poker community will take notice of the changes partypoker has implemented and show up to make the game sustainable in the industry. This year partypoker has done a great job putting themselves in the conversation as the best poker site. The partypoker MILLION is a great example as to why.

Any satellite and MILLION tips for partypoker players wanting to follow in your footsteps and emulate your success.

When nearing satellite bubbles, you want to call significantly tighter than cEV. You don’t want to be getting into flip situations if you don’t have to. The same is to be said when you’re opening. You generally want to be jamming lots of hands when you’re <30bb instead of min-raise/folding or min-raise/calling because your fold equity goes up with your jams leading up to the bubble, and you can’t be abused compared to when you min-raise open.

As for MILLION advice: K.I.S.S. – KEEP IT SIMPLE, STUPID! I see too many players with a low average buy-in get into the $215 MILLION and catch a case of FPS( Fancy Play Syndrome). They’re playing a buy-in they aren’t used to, so for some reason, they try to make plays that they don’t fully understand how to make. You’ll make it a lot farther by playing a simple, structured strategy. It might leave you open to being exploited sometimes, but it will prevent you from getting caught by the better players who can smell out your bad plays.

Most importantly – don’t stress! Enjoy the game! Having fun and reducing stress will help you get through each hand much easier.

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