PokerStars Team Pro Fintan ‘easywithaces’ Hand discusses his third SCOOP title, the joys of winning at home in Ireland, and why he’s not taking his foot off the gas.
Just call him Mr. Three-Time.
Last night (Monday, May 16), Twitch star and PokerStars Team Pro Fintan ‘easywithaces’ Hand took down his third Spring Championship of Online Poker title in as many years, and he did so in incredible fashion.
Hand took what he describes as an “obnoxious” chip lead into the final table on Day 2 of the $2,100 buy-in Sunday Warm-Up, otherwise known as SCOOP 34-H, having enjoyed a Day 1 run so pure that only the Poker Gods can be held responsible (read on to find out what happened).
Ultimately, when top pros including Sam “SamSquid” Grafton, Martin “M.nosbocaJ” Jacobson, Jonathan “Proudflop” Proudfoot and Jens “Graftekkel” Arends had all been dispatched from the final table, Hand defeated Malta’s “PepaPig88” to capture his third title, the trophy, and the prize money.
Hand took down a total $119,046 for this one, including $71,820 in bounties.
Perhaps more importantly to Hand, he got to win this one live on his Twitch stream. Last year when he took down a $5K SCOOP for $232,156, a power cut in Malta meant his entire stream went down just moments before he secured the victory. Thankfully, nothing like that happened this time around.
Here’s a look at Hand’s three SCOOP titles:
2020: $1,050 Afternoon Deep Stack – $73,653
2021: $5,200 NLHE PKO High Roller – $232,156
2022: $2,100 Sunday Warm-Up PKO – $119,046
We caught up with Mr. Three-Time over the phone on Tuesday as he was running errands before settling in for another day at the SCOOP tables. Check out that conversation below.
PokerStars Blog: Congratulations Fintan! How nice is it seeing actual clips of you winning being shared on social media this time after all the drama last year?
Fintan Hand: That was obviously heartbreaking and bittersweet last year given that the moment was lost. I have brief memories of how it all went down but it’s all kind of a blur, so it feels amazing to share it with the community this time.
I haven’t actually watched anything back yet but I know I was pulling off some dodgy dance moves and without the music, I always look like someone who should be locked up. I’m sure I’ll look back at the clips fondly but they’re probably a bit cringy.
This is your first SCOOP win in Ireland. What’s it been like taking one down on home soil?
It’s class to be in Ireland. When I was playing at the end of the final table my mum was actually downstairs in the kitchen with my fiancee and I didn’t know, so [after I won] I ended the stream early to go have a cup of tea with her. Just as I was ending the stream she was coming upstairs to come on the stream, and she’s never been on before. Unfortunately, I’d already ended it so I was a little bit sad about that. But obviously, it’s been amazing.
After the win I had that cup of tea with my mum then I went for a single pint. I’ve been off alcohol in solidarity as my fiancee’s pregnant, but I had a celebratory pint of the black stuff and went to bed.
Hat-trick of SCOOPs complete.
First time winning one in Ireland.
Makes it a little more special.
Cheers you beautiful fucks x pic.twitter.com/v3OKZR5QhJ
— Fintan Hand (@EasyWithAces) May 16, 2022
You must have had a lot of adrenaline running through you still?
Honestly, it’s a bit weird. I’ve never had a big score so early in a series before and usually, in the past, every big score I’ve had has been something that kind of got me out of a hole. It’s been a relief and kind of wrapped up a series.
But this time we’re only a week into SCOOP, so while there was a lot of adrenaline, I still feel very fresh. I feel ready to keep playing poker for two more weeks.
You mentioned on the stream that you feel like you’re basically freerolling SCOOP now. Do you think you play better when you’re winning or do you think you play better when your back is against the wall?
I’ve never had the feeling of freerolling a series before, but in general, when I’m losing at poker I become more determined to work harder, study more, and put more hours in. I’ve been guilty of taking my foot off the gas slightly when things are going better, and that’s probably a mistake I’ve made throughout my career.
I also play substantially higher during a series than I do outside of them. That’s completely by choice but the same games just don’t run outside of a big series. My years are quite determined by my results in all of the big series.
I’ve run outrageously well over the past three years at the top of my buy-in range, so it’s just nice for it to happen again and happen this early. Obviously, I could lose a large chunk of it back over the next few weeks, but it’s very unlikely to be a painful series now, so I’m very happy.
How did you prepare for SCOOP this year?
It’s always the same for me. I’ve been working very closely with Jordan ‘bigbluffzinc’ Drummond and some of the other coaches at BBZ Poker, where I have a training bundle coming out in the coming weeks.
I also use DTO every day. Training with their software and the ICM sims they have really helped me with the final table.
On Day 1, you had an insane hour of power where everything was going your way, and it felt very familiar to your Day 1 from the $5K last year. Were you getting those familiar feelings again that this could be your tournament?
Honestly, that hour I had in the $2K is probably the cleanest hour of poker I’ve ever had across multiple tournaments. I just won every single all-in in every tournament I played. Then some guy was put on my table in the $2K and obviously had somewhere to be because he was just going all-in every hand which was pretty crazy. I had to put in nearly 50 big blinds with ace-five off because he was putting every hand all-in, and I held against 10-6 off if I remember correctly. It was crazy stuff, you don’t see that every day.
As for the $5K last year, the sheer outrageousness of that run–I just kept coolering the best regs in the world–will probably be hard to match, but there’s definitely a feeling of deja vu in terms of this tournament going extremely well for me. My chip lead going into the final table was just obnoxious.
It must have felt like a gift to get that guy on your table!
Yeah, it’s definitely a gift. It’s the kind of player you want on your table but you’re also severely ramping up the variance, right? Having to put in 50 big blinds with ace-five off deep in the money of a $2K is not something that’s a very familiar feeling, but you have to be willing to pull the trigger and take the spot because if you’re in those fields and you’re presented with a spot to make a high amount of dollars from a weaker player, you can’t pass it up. The best players in the world will be fighting you for every single pot. That’s just how it is. When these opportunities come up you have to gamble more than you’d like to and you just hope it goes your way. This time it went my way and I feel very fortunate for that.
Finally, where does this SCOOP title compare with others? Does it feel extra special with the baby due any day or is the first one still your favourite?
It probably goes the first one, then this one, then the $5K. When I won the first one there was a lot going on. If I remember correctly it was the beginning of the lockdown and I basically played poker every day for months and months on end. I think I won it at the end of May having played every day since February. I was running really well but I still didn’t have a major title. I don’t think anything will ever beat that, maybe if I win a Main.
But it definitely felt extra special being at home in Ireland. The feeling of being surrounded by friends and family right now is impossible to beat.