It was Sunday, Day 2 of the 2020 Spring Championship of Online Poker Event #9-M, a $55 buy-in no-limit hold’em affair that had attracted no less than 7,898 total entries.
Adam “amayid” Owen had survived the first day well enough to carry a decent stack into the final day. But a tough seat draw with Francisco “Tomatee” Benitez having position on him forced Owen to take the cautious route as he continued to navigate his way through the event.
“He was on my direct left, so I really couldn’t play many hands,” Owen explains. “I felt quite restricted, but maybe that helped me in that I didn’t quite get to go as hard as I usually might have done in that kind of tournament.”
Owen’s patience was rewarded as he made it to the last couple of tables, and even got to see Benitez fall in 22nd place. “With two or three tables left there were lots of really tough names,” says Owen. “I was happy to see some of those bust….”
“But having ‘veeea’ on the final table… he is one of the all-time end bosses.”
That’s Artem “veeea” Vezhenkov, of course, who like Benitez just wins and wins and wins. Quite a foe for Owen to have to contend with after having outlasted so many thousands of others.
“Throughout the final table we both had massive stacks,” says Owen of himself and Vezhenkov. “That was the constant theme — we were the ones opening up most of the hands, and it kind of felt inevitable that we’d get heads-up.”
Luckily for Owen, when that inevitability did arise, he found a way to outlast the end boss.
“I was just fortunate enough to flop two pair every other hand,” says Owen with a chuckle. “And the way we played each other meant that I was going to get paid off. So… no complaints there!” says Owen.
After building a big chip advantage, the last hand saw Owen flop top pair of kings and Vezhenkov an open-ended straight draw. The chips went in, Owen’s pair held, and he’d won the title and a nice $55,531.49 first prize.
It was Owen’s second career SCOOP title and third ‘COOP win after topping a 9,762-entry field in a WCOOP event last fall. “Another minefield… small tournament with lots of runners,” he laughs.
The UK player is back in Mexico City again, grinding the series in a familiar spot.
“I’m in the leaderboard hunt, so I’m playing every event possible,” he says. “The time zone is great for SCOOP,” he adds, noting the stark contrast between the reasonable hours he’s able to keep when playing in Mexico versus having to play all night back in Lyminge, the small village in England where he is from.
He’s enjoyed the big city for other reasons as well, including the weather and there being plenty happening, generally speaking. “There’s a lot to do — a lot of malls and cinemas, and some green spaces. I like it.”
Of course like most cities, both big and small, things have slowed down there of late in response to the pandemic. In that regard Owen, who has sought out opportunities for charitable giving in the past, is mindful of how the crisis is affecting the less fortunate.
“Effective altruism… I’m keen on that,” he says. While having a brand new six-week-old child has understandably occupied his attention most recently, he is nonetheless keeping an eye on finding areas where he can help in that way again. “It’s in my plans,” he says.
Given Owen’s background as a mixed-game enthusiast, it isn’t surprising to hear how when it comes to online versus live poker, he enjoys variety.
“I really like playing live. I’ve done pretty well live in the last few years. But I like both,” he says. “I like to be around people and talk to them and play with chips and cards, and then when I’ve done too much I like to sit around and click buttons in my underwear,” he laughs. “And vice-versa. So I do like a mix!”
For now, though, Owen’s focus remains on that online grind and the SCOOP leaderboard. And getting to more final tables and perhaps becoming an all-time end boss himself.