Once upon a time there used to be a way that amateur players were able to qualify for a big buy-in live event. It was called a satellite. Then, as if by magic, the really, really great players started to win them all. Suddenly, when you got excited to hear that a player had gotten deep after winning a satellite, it waned when you learned they had already won millions playing online poker.
Maximillian Droege is a throwback to those mythical times. I’m not saying the Canadian is an amateur…that’s not my point…but this is, of his own admission, one of the first times that he has qualified for a big live tournament.
“I actually don’t play a lot of satellites for live events like this, “ says Droege.
So far so good for the newbie live tournament player. He has managed to find a route through to the last 14-players where he currently sits in sixth place with an above average stack. He hails from Ontario Canada and qualified for this event through the $350 Sunday Satellite that offers one package every Sunday evening.
“I have been trying to qualify for the last three weeks. I actually met the guy I beat heads up to win my package at the hotel when I arrived here. He won the very last satellite that PartyPoker ran for this event. I mean what are the odds a guy from Canada and a guy from the Ukraine play each other heads-up and then meet each other in the lobby of a hotel in Cyprus?”
It really is great to see an online qualifier doing so well in a live event, and I was interested to gauge the opinion of Droege when it came to the two different types of tournament play.
“I think live poker is the most purist form of poker. It’s a completely different dynamic from online. There are lot of bad players who play high stakes live tournament’s, whereas online there is more consistency, so it’s good to try and find softer tournaments. It’s a world away from a big buy-in tournament online.”
His sentiments echo those of Kelly Kim whom I interviewed earlier this week. In that interview Kim was explaining why he doesn’t play as many tournaments as he used to because the value just isn’t there anymore, so he chooses to ply his trade in the likes of Cyprus and the Ukraine. Now that’s what I call chasing value, and that’s the point that Droege makes when he talks about the allure of playing live tournament poker in places like the Merit Crystal Cove.
“This is a beautiful country, the tournament is well organized and ran extremely well, everyone is so polite and they have the most beautiful dealers in the world. I can’t concentrate on my hands because they are so beautiful.”
And here was this sucker believing he was here for the value!
The last time the WPT was at a European venue it was Barcelona. Guess who won that event…Chanracy Khun from the Playground Poker Room in Quebec. So can Droege become the second Canadian in successive European WPT events to win a title? Well that depends if he can keep his eyes off those long luscious legs and concentrate on his cards.