Just a month or so back, Michael Overstreet hit the biggest score of his poker career. After five years of playing poker, the man known as FireGoblin on PokerStars stepped away from the computer as the runner-up finisher in a $20 180-man sit and go. It was to that point his crowning achievement in poker.
So, color Overstreet ecstatic when he was able to add more than $23,000 to his PokerStars account. It happened when he entered the $109 WCOOP 8-game Mixed event and beat out nearly 1,800 people, including Team PokerStars Pros Chris Moneymaker, Joe Hachem, Tom McEvoy, and Ylon Schwartz . You can read more about it in the WCOOP Event #5 final table report.
Making the final table and ultimately winning was an experience that Overstreet barely knew how to comprehend.
"I definitely had a lot of jitters going on in it, but I just told myself these are the same games you've played before, just keep playing solid, and for the most part I think I was able to keep my A-game going through it," he said. "When I actually won the whole thing I was in a state of disbelief for a while. It was just an awesome feeling to win the whole thing."
Far from an established poker pro, Overstreet spends most of his days as a software engineer. Over the past five years, he would play poker in streaks. Sometimes he'd play without stopping for months, and then he'd take months-long breaks. During that time, he started to dabble in just about every game he could. That obviously helped a bit when he played the 8-game rotation. Still, making the WCOOP final table didn't seem like reality until he actually made it.
"I just kept trying to focus on playing each hand well and keep myself from worrying too much about moving up the ladder," Overstreet said. "I was short stacked for most of the final two tables so couldn't nit up and coast into final table. The tournament is a perfect example of why you should never just give up and dump off even a tiny stack."
Aged just 22 years, Overstreet followed the path of folks like Noah Boeken and David Williams from the world of Magic: The Gatheriing into poker. When he was old enough to play poker for real, he spent his time learning the basics.
"It's only in the past year or so that I really started trying out all the different poker games and I really recommend it as the variety keeps playing fresh," he said. "All the games have their own interesting quirks to them and will teach you something new about poker in general."
Overstreet takes a philisophical approach to poker. Its not just a game. It's a learning opportunity at every turn and river.
"Whenever I find myself uncomfortable in a situation, unsure of the correct play, I don't try to avoid those situations but instead look to figure out how to play them and be comfortable in them, whether that's getting feedback on a forum about your play, or just sticking myself in that situation until I know how to handle it," he said. "All those uncomfortable situations are opportunities for you to figure them out and make money versus the people who still don't know what to do in them."
For now, Overstreet is going to try to move up in stakes a little and keep working on his mixed game abilities.
"In the long term I'd like to be able to sit in any mid stakes game in any of the 8-games and be confident I'm a winning player in them," he said.
Oh, and he might buy himself a nice new television that winning 180-man tournaments couldn't pay for, but winning WCOOP can.
We say go ahead and do it, Michael. You deserve it.