Through all of the first day and most of the second of 2020 Spring Championship of Online Poker Event #46-L ($11 NLHE, 8-Max.), Nicolas “Nicoverlast” Wright of Montreal had played it cool.
A small-stakes player, Wright hadn’t even paid the full admission price for the event, having won his entry via a Spin & Go for a reduced price. And while making it to the second day of the 23,994-entry event was nice, it really wasn’t until there were 200 or so players left and Wright found himself in the chip lead that he started to think about the possibility of winning.
“I tried not to think too much about the prizes,” he told us, including the $23,991.27 first prize awaiting the winner.
“You know that moment… when you start to believe you could win,” says Wright. “I started to be very focused, just trying to make the best decisions and not think too much about the consequences.”
But then things got really tense. The tournament had gotten down to the last two tables, with the final table soon to start. Wright realized he might be starting to lose his cool.
A former soccer player, Wright is athletic by nature and if not for the current shutdown would be visiting his local gym regularly. He has adapted, though, and even has a treadmill in his kitchen where he can keep up an exercise routine.
“About 10 minutes before the final table began, I realized I was starting to get nervous,” he explains. “I knew I was about to win something — I didn’t know if it would be the whole tournament or not. I needed to find some way to stay cool and relaxed.”
“Suddenly I looked at my treadmill, and I had an idea.”
“I knew one way for me to stay loose would be to be physical — to get my body moving. I couldn’t do push-ups or anything like that where I wouldn’t be able to see the screen. But I realized I could put my laptop on the treadmill and walk while I play.”
Wright started walking.
When the final table began he was one of the bigger stacks, but an early setback put him in the danger zone.
He kept moving forward, though. One step at a time.
“I was able to double-up several times,” he explains. “To win a tournament, you have to take some chances, and it helps to be lucky now and then, too. Once I had ace-six versus ace-nine, and the six came. It was then I started to think I could really win it. The table dynamic was good for me, I had some good spots, and the cards kept going my way. I really started to believe.”
Eventually it was three-handed, and Wright was still there, well into his second hour of walking. Only then did he step off the treadmill in order to focus on the finish, as well as on the deal-making conversation that had arisen.
“We talked about a possible deal, but we were not able to make one. At one point the chip leader said he didn’t want a deal, then when I became chip leader I said I didn’t want to deal because he didn’t before, and we laughed about it,” he says.
Eventually they were heads-up, and after winning a final all-in, “Nicoverlast” had outlasted everyone.
“Suddenly… freedom!” says Wright. “The happiness! It was crazy. I started to laugh. I almost cried. I was very happy. I started to shout. I didn’t care about my neighbors for a couple of minutes. I jumped around everywhere.”
The accounts manager used to play regularly online, although four or five years ago began playing live more frequently, including at the Playground Poker Club. Then came the pandemic and shutdown, and Wright found himself back at the virtual tables.
The win was by far the most Wright has ever enjoyed, well above the $600 or so that represented his previous high mark. In fact, the day after Wright won, he realized the $23,991.27 first prize was worth even more than he had realized — he had initially thought his win was in CAD, not USD.
“It’s like I won two times!” he says with a chuckle.
Congratulations to Nicolas “Nicoverlast” Wright for walking the winning path to victory in SCOOP #46-L! And thanks to him as well for having given us a great idea to use the next time we make a final table.
“That’s my advice… if you want to win, buy a treadmill!”