Just a few weeks backk, Dustin Mele won the PokerStars Passport. He has already started his trips around the world. His first journey took hm to Dortmund, Germany for the European Poker Tour event there. This is his account of his first trip.
By Dustin Mele
EPT Dortmund was a great experience. I had a great time and made some new friends. Right from one of our connecting flights from Munich to Dortmund my girlfriend and I met fellow poker stars players who had also won satellites to the event on poker stars, and were also staying at the Hilton hotel near the casino. We arrived in Dortmund on Monday, January 28th and took a cab to the Hilton hotel. The Hilton was very nice and the people who worked there were very helpful.
The first night there PokerStars was hosting a party for all the players at the Bay Club, Nightrooms. It was a very nice club in downtown Dortmund. When we arrived there was complimentary food and open bar all night. There was also entertainment including podium dancers and snake performers. We had so much fun, we missed the shuttle back to the hotel.
The following day was Day 1 of the tournament. We were ready to deal the first hand at 3:30. From the beginning I could tell that my table was pretty loose. I played pretty tight in the beginning, picking my spots and getting a feel for each player at the table. When the blinds started getting bigger, I kicked it into gear and started chipping away as much as possible building my stack to about 19,000 from the 10,000 starting stack. As players were getting eliminated, tables were being broken down and new players were coming to the table. One player was playing about 9 out of 10 pots and put several bad beats on the table. He was calling all-ins with bottom pair and hitting two outers to eliminate players from the tournament.
So, I decided to tighten up a bit with about an hour of play left on Day 1. I was being patient and sitting with the 19,000 chip stack for a while, because it was a four-day tournament and I was card dead for a while during the last few hours on Day 1 until, with about 20 minutes of play left, I picked up pockets kings.
The table was still playing loose, so I raised four and half times the big blind. The only player that called was the same player that was calling all-ins with bottom pair and was accumulating a big stack by getting lucky. So, I knew I had to play this hand strong against him. The flop came 8h6s2d–nothing to worry my pocket kings with a rainbow flop like that. He checked to me and I bet more than what was in the pot so I wouldn’t give him pot odds to call with a weak hand.
He called and the turn came 6d. He checked to me instantly. Watching him play for a few hours I knew it was very possible he could have any garbage hand with a 6 in it, so I decided to play it safe and just check. The river came Ah. He bet 3,500. At this point the pot sat some where around 22,000 and my stack sat around 8,000. So, a few things I have to think about. One is that I am getting ridiculously good pot odds to call, but also, why would he bet so little with so much in the pot. He must want me to call.
He has just turned over so much garbage that he could have easily been beat by my kings-up with and there was just far too much in the pot to fold for 3,500. So I call him and he flips over 6h3s. Figured he had it, but couldn’t bring myself to fold getting almost 7 to 1 odds. I was thinking risk over reward. I either go into Day 2 with over 30,000–above average–or I have to comeback from the short stack regardless. Unfortunately my stack only sat at 4,300 at the end of Day 1.
Going into Day 2, blinds were 400, 800, with a 100 ante. So, I only had about five times the BB. The button started giving me one free hand until my big blind. I knew that if I picked up any pocket pair or any decent hand, I would have to go all-in and try to double up and get back into the tournament. The very first hand I picked up was pocket twos, the worst pocket pair possible. But I knew I had to do it. I am not the type to just dwindle away so I go in firing. I go all-in and one player calls me. He unfortunately had an over pair. He flipped over pocket sevens and turned a set. I was eliminated.
When all was said and done I still had a great time. Unfortunately I did not get my first EPT title yet, but just two weeks after getting home I am getting right back on a plane and going to play in EPT Copenhagen. I am very determined to get my first EPT title under my belt.
Here’s Mele’s first interview from his Passport travels