Everyone has heard about beginner’s luck, the first-time player who shows up to a major live tournament and then destroys it, cruising through to the final table an a massive debut payday. But that story tends to begin and end with chapter one; we never see them again.
For Luke Reeves, a PokerStars qualifier from Manchester, UK, one suspects the book might run to several further volumes, despite that familiar opening. Reeves, 22, has already demonstrated “beginner’s luck” three times at least, by which point it begins to morph into something much more solidly resembling skill.
After shifting from online cash games to MTTs, where he goes by the moniker “bit2easy”, and then gradually moving onto the live circuit, Reeves played his first major live tournament in Blackpool last November. It was a £1,000 entry event that attracted 173 runners. He made it to the final table and finished fourth for £12,980.
Then he decided to play an online satellite to EPT Deauville, his first attempt to get on this Tour. It was the “luck-box” 3x turbo, according to Reeves, and he won that, which earned him his trip to the Normandy coast. He had set aside a specific bankroll, all of which he was prepared invest in the attempt to qualify for this event, but achieved his goal at the first try.
He is in for about €300, approximately one seventeenth of what most other players have stumped up, and is now closing in on the money.
Yesterday, Reeves’s table was selected for the EPT Live treatment, which continued his rapid learning curve. “At first I was a bit nervous,” he confessed this morning. “But after a couple of orbits I was comfortable and I pretty much ran the table, actually.”
Reeves bagged up 176,700, which is more than the average, and so is a good bet to make a debut cash on the EPT too. He has an excellent table draw today, as well, with seven French players and one Russian, only one of which has a bigger stack than him. At this stage of an EPT main event, that proportion of local players is extraordinary. They are typically more likely to tighten up in the attempt to creep into the money, and Reeves may indeed find this a bit2easy.
But let’s lay to rest any complacency. Reeves also described some of his methods online, which any new player would be well advised to imitate. Reeves says he keeps meticulous notes on all his opponents and has a list of players he considers to be sharks. Before signing up for any tournament, he flicks carefully through the lobby of players already registered and simply doesn’t play if he sees too many red flags.
“I game select,” he said matter-of-factly, as if it’s as much a part of his success as learning that a flush beats a straight. And really it is. It might be cool to try to play the top players day in, day out, but beating the poorer players is the way to succeed.
As things progress here in Deauville, it’s likely that the cream will rise to the top and the going will get considerably tougher. But Reeves is on a roll. We’ll see how long it can continue.
Plans for the day
We will play five 90-minute levels today, with a break at the end of each. That means the day will end at around 8.50pm local time. It is likely to be a day of contrasting paces: slow and steady as we edge towards the bubble; critically slow as we actually hit the bubble; then super-fast when we’re into the money and everyone goes nuts.