Having a child changes your life. Beers and curry becomes milk and nappies, nights on the tiles become mornings at the stove and for Mark Suddes, a PokerStars qualifier to EPT Barcelona this week, long online tournaments became pot limit Omaha cash. “In case I need to stop and help out, you know,” Suddes said.
Suddes is a 38-year-old project manager from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the north east of England. He is over here in Barcelona playing Day 1B of the EPT Main Event, having qualified online at PokerStars. Although he used to be a regular tournament player, he switched to the high octane, easy childcare world of mid-stakes PLO (the $5-$10 games) after his daughter Zoe was born.
So far, so good for father and poker. Suddes won this package to Barcelona when he fired up a hyper-turbo satellite “on the side” of his regular game and booked his spot to the EPT. It’s his second time on poker’s premier tour, having been to Copenhagen a couple of years back. But this is the first time that the family have come along. Having confessed to nipping to Vegas earlier this year on a friend’s bachelor party, Suddes said that this trip was one for both his wife, Joan, and Zoe, currently taking it easy in a rented apartment near to the centre of the city.
Yesterday night, Suddes was able to come back to the apartment with a few quid in his pocket. He made the final table, finishing eighth, in the €400+€40 PLO tournament – a result worth €900. His best live result remains an $11,100 score at a tournament in the Bahamas in 2008, but he has also recently been qualifying, playing and cashing on the UKIPT, so plenty more entries can still be written.
For the time being, Suddes is sitting with something like his starting stack, sharing a table with Pierre Neuville, and making the necessary adjustments.
“It’s slow going compared to PLO,” he said. “I’ve not had many hands so far, but you’ve got to be more patient for this.”