By Simon Young
Steve Eggleston is a regular guy: he likes golf, travelling and is soon to be married. And because he is a finance director, he’s pretty good with money, which helps when you can make loads of it playing poker. Steve – player DrawnOut – has proved that by winning the PartyPoker.com $300K Guaranteed Sunday at the weekend for the second time!
We think that’s impressive – as eye-opening as the $40,000 that can now be added to his previous $50,000 win – and asked Steve to talk us through his latest profitable day at the tables.
Here follows his answers – keep an eye out on his great strategy for multi-table tournament play…
Full name: Steve Eggleston.
Place of birth: Holland.
Current place of residence: Devon, England.
Profession: Finance Director.
Marital status: Engaged.
When and how did you get into poker? It was in 2005 while watching Late Night Poker on TV in England. I was fascinated by the aggressive confrontation behind friendly table banter. It played right into my competitive instincts and love of card games. I got broadband internet access at home not long after and decided to join an online site. PartyPoker.com was the biggest at the time so that was the one I joined.
What game do you normally play and at what level? No limit hold’em MTTs and STTs, all buy-ins up to $200.
How often do you play our $300K Guaranteed Sunday? Whenever I have 10 hours free on a Sunday evening – which is not very often! At the moment travelling means that I am in a different country from my fiancee, so I played the last three weeks.
What is your previous best finish in the $300K? I also won it in 2007!
Did you buy in direct or win your seat via a qualifier? I bought in direct after failing to qualify – when my kings got busted on the bubble of a $10 rebuy qualifier :(
What is your strategy when you play a multi-table tournament like this? Because of the deep stacks, I will splash around a couple of times early on to try to get ahead of the game, but basically play very solidly early if I can’t generate a stack. The tournament only really starts in the third hour anyway, so I will just play my big hands pretty straight forward until then, and just make enough steals to preserve an active enough image to get paid off occasionally when a big hand does come along.
The first two hours are really an exercise in pot control, with moves either being small stabs for small pots, or attempts to get all the chips in with the near nuts. There’s not a lot of point running big bluffs, because at this stage of the tournament there are too many weak players out there who may just call “to keep you honest”. Players can’t feel the money yet, and will make calls now that they will never make later on just a few places from a bubble.
After the second break, there are enough opportunities created by blind pressure so that opening up my play should become pretty profitable, and around the end of the 3rd hour, near bubble time, there are enormous opportunities for exploitation. During this hour, I like calling in position and playing flops with the intention of taking pots away from passive players post flop. I also like to attack “vulnerable” blinds pre-flop.
Unfortunately this is where my results deviate from the top players, because where they will chip up massively during this period, I will usually find ways of getting a nice stack and then donking it right back! The main difference is the pre-flop aggression, where the really
good players can accurately re-shove or fold when played back at. Whenever I re-shove I wind up facing a hand and losing a chunk of chips! Funnily enough this tournament I was on the phone to my family for almost all of the third hour and played much more passively then normal… maybe that should be my new tactic!
From the first bubble to the endgame is really one long series of bubbles, where the key is identifying the players to whom the money matters and exploiting their passivity, and then also identifying the point at which they give up and calling the desperate shove for a small portion of your stack.
Final table play really all depends on stack size, and big stacks can be relentless with their aggression. The “bubble” effect is magnified because each and every player knocked out gives rise to such a huge jump in payouts.
Were there any key moments on the way to winning the Sunday’s tournament? I confused myself into a couple of bad spots early on and was quickly down to 2/5 of the starting stack. Then ran hotter than the sun as all my A-Ks held up for a while.
Key hands: Hand 87 was the first one to get me above average stack in the tourney. I had about 7,000 at the 100-200 level and doubled up with K-K v A-K, all in pre-flop.
Hand 104: I had Ac-Kc on the button with a 13,000 stack at 150/300. UTG had a stack that just had me covered and raised to 800. A small stack called 25% of their stack from UTG+1 and it folded round to me. I had a decision to make since a raise with A-K suited was
definitely an option. This was the first time I had seen this raise from UTG, however, and he was raising into the table chip leader in the big blind so it was unlikely to be an early position steal. The small stack over-call for 25% of his stack looked stronger than an all-in shove, since it essentially commits him to the pot, but is inviting more action behind. With this in mind, I wanted to keep the pot small, not invite an all-in confrontation with the bigger stack when I was probably behind at least one or both. I didn’t think I could fold A-K suited, but I seriously considered it. In the end I flat called to see a flop in position and the blinds folded.
The flop came 8c-9c-Qh. UTG bet 1,700, and UTG+1 shoved for 2,460. I have the nut flush draw and and am getting almost 3:1 odds. The only thing that stopped this being an instacall was that I was worried about whether UTG was allowed to re-raise me for all my chips, at which point I might have to fold. I honestly didn’t know whether the 760 chip raise constituted a full raise, or whether UTG would only be entitled to call. I decided he could only call making this a trivial call, and fortunately I was right. UTG checks to me on the turn – 3s –
and I have to decide whether to semi-bluff the flush draw. I take the free card instead, thinking I am probably behind at least one of the hands (so not much to gain from a semi-bluff), a club hits on the river and I made a smallish value bet on the end which was called. UTG showed Q-Q for a flopped set that would have crushed me if I had raised pre-flop or bet the turn. UTG+1 showed K-K, and I won a 10,000-ish pot. I normally play A-K very aggressively so this was an unusual hand for me and set me up pretty well.
Hand 133: I made a crucial call with J-J on a draw-heavy board when the big blind made a strange sequence of bets culminating in an unusal shove overbet, having checked the turn. I correctly read it for a missed draw but I almost burned my entire timebank trying to work it out. Sadly the deciding factor in me calling was probably that I was on mild tilt after losing two medium-sized pots in quick succession, and was looking for signs that I should call!
Hand 246: Having chipped up to 85,000 at 800/1600/50 I made a dreadful call. Having decided to try to avoid a big confrontation with the only other big stack at the table, I pick up A-K in late position and hit a K on the flop against three players – including the other big stack. Check, check and big stack makes a pot-size bet. I re-raise a bit less than 3x, fold, fold and the big stack shoves. I now am getting almost 2:1 with top pair top kicker against the only stack that can hurt me, and he has put his tournament life on the line having shown
no aggression pre-flop and having no reason to think I will fold. I should have known I was behind and drawing thin, but the pot odds beguiled me into a quick call, he shows down a set of sixes and I am down to six big blinds. I also need a new mouse at this point!
I hung on for a while and then got a bunch of premiums and also sucked out for half my stack to get close to the lead with A-Q v A-K. Once I had a good stack it played pretty easy – lots of aggression and steals later we were at the final table. I had a 4 to 1 chip lead at one stage at the final table before making a very bad call when I thought the other guy was frustrated with me abusing the table (I called a shove with A-5 for 25%+ of my chips thinking I was ahead of his shove range, but he had A-K and all of a sudden I wasn’t dominating anymore). We made a deal not long after.
What happened on the final hand? We made a deal three-handed … The variance between 3rd and 1st was too big. We were basically all even in chips, and I didn’t want to risk finishing with 3rd place money.
What will you do with your winnings? Pay for a new bathroom and kitchen.
Favorite past time, sports or hobbies? Golf, cricket, travel.
Personal goals or ambition? Success in life, not just in games or business… but having said that – get down to scratch handicap at golf, win a bracelet at poker.
Favorite movie? City of God (about gangs in the favellas in Rio).
Favorite place? The terrace of St George’s Hill Golf Club, with a pint of bitter and a table full of friends.
Describe yourself in five words: It’s all about the challenge.
U GOT A HORSE SHOE, BUD?
Congratulations Steve. See you on one of the finals tables in the future.