I’m happy, and it’s not just the Guinness. I don’t know Roland de Wolfe at all, but I kept bumping into him today, and when I did we’d share brief friendly chats. Every time I met him I’d will him to win a little more. Now he’s just brought his winner’s bottle of champagne into the Press Room, to give it to us guys, with a bashful comment, “Before I was a half decent poker player, I was a really bad journalist.”
A couple of times I ran into Roland today he commented on his luck. And today he put seven of the eight final table players out. So, yes, he hit hands that held up at just the right times. And in one of these hands he was behind and still won… Yet it seems obvious that de Wolfe is a player who deserves to win an event of this kind. I think you have to be more than just a ‘lucky player’ to be the first ever player to win both EPT and WPT events.
Roland de Wolfe is a very good player, and a very good player who got lucky, maybe… You can give a bad player some luck, and they stand a chance of winning an event like this, but give a good player some luck and they will walk it. It felt like Roland walked away with first prize today. With never a scare, he took a prize of €554,300, with this seeming pure logic, like this is how poker is supposed to be. Well, isn’t it a poker ‘law’ that the best players will always win in the end? Well Roland did. and I’m glad of that. And not least because he’s modest about this, not least because he’s a guy who thought of those who were working when he did it.
So how did Roland win, and who did he beat..?
We lost Patrick Bueno first, shortstacked at the start of play, forced to make a move before the blinds took him. It was a calculated gamble, re-raising the most agressive player at the table with an all-in bet. Unluckily for him William Thorsten had a little something to call with, plus plenty of chips to gamble with. Patrick held just K7. William, correctly judged that he was ahead with AJ. Before the game Patrick said, “I might not be aggressive enough”. Well, the move that sealed his fate was agressive. It didn’t pay off for the Frenchman, but I hope he won’t re-evaluate his whole poker style based on it.
Next out was Nick Slade. Another player caught making a move at the wrong time. He re-raised Roland de Wolfe, and chose a time when Roland had a hand. AQ for Roland, Nick with just J-9. The best hand won, so Nick exited EPT Dublin, telling all who’d listen, “I thought he had nothing. I really thought he had nothing…”
Rob Yong next to go. He must have that bittersweet feeling of going out on a bad beat. He was all-in with AK, so there’ll be no berating himself for bad play, but the poker gods sent Roland de Wolfe with an AJ to beat him. This chatty Brit plans to open a new poker club soon, perhaps he could organise some bad-beat-free poker venue? I expect it would be a hit…
George McKeever next out. A well known Irish player, his best result before today a 7th place finish in WSOP. Funny to think that such a result today would make him a millionaire… In 1999 it made him $125,775. In EPT Dublin he did a little better, made €112,710. Not much action from George on the final table, he started as one of the shortstacks, and never really did more than survive. His pre-flop all-in found Roland de Wolfe with 88. And Roland eliminated his 3rd player of the day.
Gavin Simms is most often found playing winning poker at a private members club game, attended by media types. TV people, and poker players who don’t have much clue. Gavin proved he can also play against players who have lots of clues. He held his own in this tough game, before going out 4th in a 50/50 with Roland de Wolfe. Yes, Roland de Wolfe again…
William Thorson is a brat of a player. The kind of player that no one wants at their table. Just in case he’s reading, I mean this as a complement… He plays a lot of hands, and the bad thing is he’d play yours when you really don’t want him too… He’s everyone’s worst nightmare at the table, because he wants to win the chips in every hand, he’s a poker bully who’ll want to club your subtle tight-agressive play to a pulp. He’s fearless, yes… But sometimes fearlessness can lead to arrogance, and lack of caution… I think William’s a great player, a great player to watch also, that’s for sure. He lost almost his whole stack on a bad beat, lets not forget that. Without that we have a heads up match between Roland and William – and that would be some poker battle…
David Tavernier was heads up with Roland instead. This French doctor the ‘dark horse’ of the final table. He always played confident poker, he made ‘moves’ at just the right times. Only in the ende he went out with Queen high, against Roland de Wolfe’s trip fives. His comment, “Quite a few bluffs worked really well. Until the end…”
I expect Roland de Wolf made quite a few bluffs, they all worked. He told me, “Every time I’ve been behind I’ve come out on top. You need to get lucky in a tournament, the lucky ones will always win…” He said that, but I don’t believe him. It’s refreshing that he’s so modest, yet I think he deserved a win in EPT Dublin. Maybe the Poker Gods smiled on him a little? Well I think he earned their favour too… And he earned the favour of the press as well – with a gift of a few bottles of champagne. I’m happy that this nice guy of poker won. This nice guy who’s also one of the best players I’ve seen play. And that’s not just a bottle of winners Champagne talking…
Final table payouts:
1st Rolande de Wolfe €554,300
2nd David Tavernier €314,120
3rd William Thorson €184,780
4th Gavin Simms €138,580
5th George McKeever €112,710
6th Rob Yong €88,690
7th Nick Slade €70,210
8th Patrick Bueno €51,740