There was a peculiar natural phenomena here in Copenhagen last year, a maelstrom which seemed to centre on Michael Tureniec. Wherever he was drawn to sit action followed; big stacks would get moved to his table and invariably bust while coolers, hero calls and suck outs appeared as if out of thin air (well, out of a deck of cards). Perhaps the same was to happen this year around the monster Day 1 chip leader Steve O’Dwyer. The American started the day with two of the other nine stacks in the field that returned with over 100,000 – way more than the average amount of chips you should have at a table.
That table, number 32, has the mercurial Marcel Bjerkmann two seats to O’Dwyer’s right and Danny Neess (<100,000) and Alexander Manson (>100,000) to his left.
The storm started with Manson who re-shoved with A♠Q♣ over the top of Roger Hannaseth’s A♥J♠ shove to push him up to 135,000. O’Dwyer was the next to get involved, albeit on the wrong end of things, after opening from middle position to 1,400 and getting two calls before Yozzi Azulay squeezed it up to 5,800.
“Move your hand,” asked O’Dwyer. Azulaay acquiesced.
The chip leader plucked out 13,200 and made the four-bet sending Azulaay into the tank. Eventually he moved all-in for 32,000 and O’Dwyer quickly made the call with A♦Q♦ which failed to suck out through Azulaay’s A♠A♣. O’Dwyer lost another pot the next hand just as Michael Tureniec, reigning champion and eye of the storm, sat himself down in seat two – directly between Bjerkmann and O’Dwyer.
Tureniec wasted little time in getting involved three- and five-betting into Maikel van Leeuven button aggression. Put simply, don’t get mixed up with Tureniec unless you’re willing to get your stack in.
We caught up with O’Dwyer at the break to find what he thought of his table.
“It’s the first level of the entire tournament I’ve lost chips so I guess not good, but I’ve still got 165,000 so it’s no big deal. The table is not certainly ideal. I have Michael (Tureniec) and Marcel (Bjerkmann) on my right, which I suppose is all right but I’d rather they were on a different table entirely,” said O’Dwyer, who met and played with Bjerkmann at UKIPT Galway last week.
“I hung out with him (Bjerkmann) a bit with Kevin MacPhee. He’s a crazy person. I played with him in the High Roller event and got sucked into the whirlwind of degeneracy in level one and lost half of my stack. He was playing every hand so I thought, I’m going to play every hand, suddenly I realised I didn’t have any chips. He’s an interesting fella for sure.”
O’Dwyer still sits third in chips, just behind Jan Verstraete (186,000) and Lauri Varonen (182,000) but could he ever get away from those tanking aces of Azulaay?
“I was a lot more miserable calling but I was getting a price where I couldn’t fold. When he starts Hollywooding I was a lot more upset with my hand and would rather have had something better. Against certain players I would consider folding but I’d already discovered that he’s an online player of some sort. It was the perfect spot for a squeeze so I couldn’t really play it any other way. If it was an older player then perhaps I wouldn’t have four-bet in the first, but if I had then I’d try to get some more information by staring him down for a while,” said O’Dwyer in his usual languid drawl.
The laidback player has got plenty of reasons to be relaxed following an incredible year at the tables in 2011 where he scored two big money runner-up spots including £465,000 at EPT London. Last year’s live takings tot up to $1,423,680 which make up almost three-quarters of his career winnings. Something had obviously changed.
“I was playing a lot more tournaments,” explained O’Dwyer. “Once Black Friday happened I didn’t have any other choice than to play live. I had to go out on the road and play as much as I could. I don’t think I’m doing anything differently from two or three years ago but in a lot of the tournaments I went deep in I certainly ran way above expectation. In London I sucked out on people over and over and over again for five days. It was amazing.”
Unfortunately for O’Dwyer his run good at both EPT London and WPT Venice ended when he got heads up, twice giving him a tantalising taste of a big money title, but he refuses to be a prima donna about it: “It’s mildly frustrating. No, barely frustrating. We chopped up London which was a lot of money. I got a nice little piece of that.”
O’Dwyer always looks calm at the table, unwilling to allow other players to buffet him off the correct course of action which, given the aggressiveness of EPT Copehagen, is a vital quality, especially when you have the reigning champion sat next to you.