What would you do if you found yourself in possession of $41,391.70 at 04:00 on Monday morning, having outlasted a star-studded field in a $1,050 buy-in tournament that only cost you $11 to enter? I’d like to follow the actions of partypoker player Phil Buttle who popped open a bottle of prosecco, and rustled up some steak and eggs while sporting some rather fetching Superman pyjamas.

Phil is a 42-year-old self-employed financial advisor who hails from Cardiff, Wales. Phil is a husband to Leander and the couple are kept on their toes by their four children, aged 10 to newborn, making his recent victory all the more impressive as he managed to actually find the time to play some poker!

Formerly a chess player who won the Under 18 South Glamorgan Schools Championship, Phil first discovered poker at the Les Croupiers Casino in Cardiff around five-years ago.

From PLO to NLHE

“The tournament was a round of Hold’em and a round of Pot Limit Omaha,” explained Phil, “I’d never seen PLO before and had to have the rules explained to me! At that time, most cash games in the casino were PLO and mostly full ring. I bought a book on how to play PLO and started winning in the cash games there. It was only later that I developed my Hold’em skills to a decent level because all of my time was spent playing PLO cash.”

Work and family life make playing live more difficult for Phil, but he does sometime play small stakes online poker and it was online at partypoker that saw him turn $11 into more than $41,000.

Poker in Punta Cana

Phil and his wife Leander

Phil and his wife Leander

Back in 2016, Phil qualified for the $2,500 buy-in partypoker Million Main Event. A 39th place finish saw Phil return home with $10,000, which he says was “fortunate for my marriage because I had left a four-week old baby at the time and my wife was not happy!”

Despite this success, satellites did not become a part of Phil’s schedule. That was until he saw on Twitter that Barry Carter and Dara O’Kearney had written a book all about satellite strategy.

“The book interested me because it was indicating satellites had a unique strategy themselves and that people like Dara had made a good living from them. I found the book well structured and the concepts easy to understand and I learned lots. I think the book not only improved my satellite strategy but also my MTT strategy because I understood ICM much better after reading it.”

$11 into a $1,050 ticket

Armed with new knowledge, Phil started playing satellites at partypoker and quickly got his hands on a $215 ticket from a $5.50 rebuy/add-on satellite that cost him the grand total of $11. From there, Phil turned the $215 ticket into one worth $1,050. After asking Dara and Barry for their advice on which $1,050 tournament he should enter and the rest is history.

“The tournament itself was the second largest tournament I’d played, after the Punta Cana Live tournament. However, the standard of player was far higher in this tournament. For a recreational player like myself it was so exciting, and such an honour, to play against well-known pros such as Isildur, Juha Helppi and my favourite player, Team partypoker’s Roberto Romanello. Approaching the bubble I was solely interested in cashing – $2,000 from an $11 spend was a huge result for me. That was the only point in the tournament I felt nervous (i.e. before cashing). As soon as I cashed I lost all my nerves and just played how I thought I was supposed to play in the spots I found myself in.”

“I nearly went bust early in the tournament when I had to bet/fold a rivered top pair against HellmuthTheGreat, who shoved into my remaining $25k stack with about $75k in the middle. Massive pot odds and of course, he could have been bluffing, but I thought bet/fold was the correct line to take in the spot. During the whole tournament I won about four or five pre-flop all-in flips and survived 1 occasion where I was an underdog all-in pre flop (KJ>AJ).”

No Deal!

Everything seemed to be falling into place and the potential prize money kept increasing. Phil was willing to discuss a deal when only four players remained, ticking the deal box in the partypoker software but nobody wanted to follow suit.

More fool them because Phil eventually found himself heads-up and on course for a career-best score. The final hand took place at the 150,000/300,000/37,500a level. His opponent raised to 2,460,000 and then called off his last 138,366 when Phil set him all-in. It was for his opponent and for Phil. A final board reading saw the pot slide to Phil and his opponent fall by the wayside.

“As soon as I won the tournament I opened a bottle of prosecco that was in the fridge and cooked myself steak and eggs (in my Superman pyjamas!). It is really weird to win such a big tournament at 4am because you’ve got nobody to share it with. As good as it felt, it wasn’t long before I was brought back to earth – my wife had me getting the kids ready for school just a few hours later!”

Phil now has plenty of chances to turn a small investment into a much more substantial sum with satellites and SPINS taking place during the $30 million guaranteed POWERFEST that starts Sunday 31st March. Will it be you who is featured on the partypoker blog in the coming weeks?

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