The champ is here! The champ is here!
Sorry if that evoked an earworm commercial jingle for some of you, but I’m just doing my job. What I mean is, I’m dutifully reporting that Andres “Andy” Risquez, the defending champion, has taken a seat in Moneymaker’s Road to PSPC – Seminole Day 1B.
Risquez is a poker pro who lives nearby, splitting his time between Ft. Lauderdale and Las Vegas. He is playing today at the Seminole Hard Rock poker room. Meanwhile up the highway in the room at Seminole Coconut Creek Casino, more players are in action as the field continues to grow.
When Risquez won the Moneymaker event here at Seminole a year ago, the champ defeated another champ — and the tour’s namesake — as Chris Moneymaker finished runner-up.
When asked about his memory of that experience from a year ago, Risquez immediately went to the most humorous final table moment.
“We were four- or five-handed, and someone says ‘hey, you guys want to do a bomb pot?'”
With just a few players left from the 957-entry field — and with $14,000 and a Platinum Pass to the 2019 PSPC in the Bahamas awaiting the winner — Jaman Burton proposed the remaining players play a “bomb pot.”
Popular in cash games (but really, never in tournaments), a bomb pot involves players all putting in a designated amount before the flop without having seen their cards, then action proceeding to the flop and continuing from there. In this case, it meant a building a decent-sized pot blind.
As chip leader at the time, Risquez measured the risk-versus-reward and went along with it. And so did everyone else! You can more read here about how it happened.
A little after that it was just Andy and Chris — meaning Risquez was assured the Platinum Pass — and eventually he won heads-up and the first-place cash prize as well.
“That was amazing, really. When I got to the final table, I thought I had a slight edge if I played very solid. But then the hand that really helped me was one against Chris,” he explains.
“The flop was K-6-5 and he had 6-5 suited, and I had pocket eights. He made a continuation bet and I called, then an eight came on the turn and I said ‘check.’ He made a substantial bet and I went all in, and he insta-called. He flipped his hand over and said ‘I’m drawing dead, I’m drawing dead!'”
That hand held, and after eventually winning Risquez had turned $86 into $14K and a trip to play in the first $25K PSPC in the Bahamas.
As we were getting settled in earlier today with Director of Poker Marketing Tony Burns, Andy and Chris relived last year’s excitement as well — take a look:
While Risquez didn’t cash in the PSPC, he still profited from the experience playing against Erik Seidel, Jennifer Harman, and other top talent.
Among the moments that stood out for him was an interesting hand against Ryan Laplante.
“I had pocket sevens, he raised and I called. The flop came 7-8-9, a very wet board. I checked, he continued and I called. I knew had maybe kings or queens, I never put him on aces.”
After a blank turn that both checked, then the river brought a 10 and Risquez checked. “He bet a little more than half the pot, and I knew if I pushed all in he’d fold, but I wanted to see his cards so I just called.”
Risquez indeed had him beat, and not only won the pot, but a compliment from his formidable opponent as well.
“He said, ‘wow, that’s a professional check,'” Risquez remembers with a smile.
“It was a very good experience,” he continues. “I can’t tell you how much it really uplifted my game. It brought me a lot more confidence.”
We chatted a little more about reasons for playing poker, and the need to be able to balance the profit motive with finding opportunities to enjoy yourself.
“In the end, poker is about having fun,” says Risquez. “If you run good, great, but just play your game and have fun.”
It’s a good strategy — and a great way to find more rewards in the game to help mitigate the risks.