Paul Berende Talks Open Face Chinese

TAGs: audio interview, Aviation Club de France, Lee Davy, NLHE, Open Face Chinese Event, Paul Berende, Poker tournament, World Poker Tour, WPT, wpt grand prix, WPT Grand Prix de Paris

Paul Berende Talks Open Face Chinese Audio
Paul Berende is a man who understands poker.

At the final table of World Poker Tour (WPT) Baden in Season XI he was one card away from being crowned a WPT Champions Club member. The line between champion and also-ran is a fine one, and yet despite the enormous disappointment that must have been hacking away at his heart with a chainsaw, Berende took that defeat better than any I have seen in my short time in poker.

Paul Berende Talks Open Face Chinese Berende finished fourth in the £2,000 Open Face Chinese event, at EPT London recently, a tournament that was won by Phil Hellmuth. During WPT Grand Prix de Paris I overheard Berende and Barry Greenstein debating the rules of that tournament and thought it would be interesting to get Berende’s thoughts on the up and coming poker game that has all the poker players in a frenzy.

“I started playing the game a little over a year ago after a Swedish player introduced me to it. I was addicted to it from the start. I started playing the game with friends, we added a few of our own rules and we have fun with it.”

Can the game grow from cult status to No-Limit Hold’em (NLHE) levels of popularity?

“The game has taken off well. The EPT were the first tour to include a game within their side event schedule, and other tournaments have started to follow suit. I played an event for the first time in London recently and ended up getting on the final table. It was fun, the whole vibe was excellent and I finished fourth for a min-cash. It was also fun to play with Phil Hellmuth.”

So why is the game so popular?

“I think it’s because nobody has solved it yet. It’s still new so nobody understands the right tactics to use to play the game optimally, so everyone has a decent chance. It’s also a gambling game, and poker players love to gamble.”

So what were Berende and Greenstein debating over the table in Paris?

“We were talking about the rule they had in London which concerned the short stacks. If you were the short stack you could only play with the chips you have against the guy to your left. So let’s say you only have 1k left you only play for that 1k, and even if you lose against two other players on the table it doesn’t matter, you only play your 1k with the guy on your left.

“This makes it a little weird sometimes because at the end of the tournament it’s a little crap shoot heavy and maybe a guy with the 1k can stay in a tournament, and a guy with 50k chips can bust in the same hand.”

I guess this was always going to happen when you consider that this is a new game, and poker has no governing body to set rules?

“Even the tournament staff are not sure what the rules should be. Instead they ask a lot of players who have experience with the game to give them advice. I think Barry {Greenstein} had the upper hand in London with the decisions at the beginning. He told the staff how the game should be played and they went with that.

“It’s better than the old version though. I played my first OFC tournament at the PCA. There was a rule that if you only had 1k in chips, for example, you could actually win 50k, so at least they have changed that rule which was absurd. I am still not sure what the best rules are going to be, but they will have another tournament in Prague and I am sure the rules will change and make the game even better.”


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