When an established professional poker player like Benny “RunGodLike” Glaser or Conor “1_conor_b_1” Beresford wins a Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) title in one of the opening events, it sets them up to have a profitable series overall.
When a small stakes player who works in a supermarket and lives on a Greek Island currently struggling due to a lack of summer tourism wins an event at the beginning of the series, it sets them up in all kinds of different ways.
Dimitrios “papadatos69” Papadatos helps to run his family’s supermarket on the beautiful island of Kelafonia, off the west coast of Greece in the Ionian Sea. “Here, we make ends meet through tourism,” he says.
“During the winter things are very calm and I have a lot of time, so I play poker for fun. I usually stop playing during the summer as we have so many tourists, but things are different this year.”
With more time on his hands than expected, the 35-year-old–who learnt poker while studying at the University of Piraeus and usually plays small stakes multi-table tournaments (MTTs) and Spin & Gos–decided he’d put some work into his poker game ahead of SCOOP.
“I try to improve at poker every day by watching the big MTT replays on PokerStars which show the hole cards,” he says.
Papadatos then registered the $11 low edition of Event 4, a No Limit Hold’em freeze-out with $80K guaranteed. That amount was obliterated when 19,588 players signed up, building a $192K prize pool.
Once they were in the money, Papadatos found himself all-in and at-risk twice, and both times he came from behind to win.
“With 800 players left, I was all-in with pocket queens against pocket aces and I doubled up. With 200 players left, I was all-in with pocket jacks against pocket kings and again, I doubled up. From then on, I told myself to play without fear. After all, I was supposed to have been eliminated twice.”
That mentality served him well and with 100 players remaining Papadatos found himself with the chip lead.
“I told myself to apply pressure on others. I eventually entered the final table with the chip lead, and the rest is history.”
Three-handed, Papadatos made a deal with eventual runner-up “Fixxxr6_” of Canada ($15,869) and Romania’s “2aSi” ($13,584) before going on to win it for $15,084. “This victory will help my summer go smoothly,” he says.
He might have won a large amount right at the beginning of the SCOOP series, but don’t expect to see Papadatos battling with the Glasers and Beresfords of the world in higher buy-in events.
“I know that poker is a game of skill and if I play bigger buy-in tournaments, the regs are going to eat me alive,” he says. “So I will try to improve by studying poker theory and climb the stakes slowly.”