Amongst the crowds of players who took part at the Unibet Open Malta Poker Tournament, we took a minute with local player, Vanja Torbarov’s, after he exited the tournament for an in depth look at his tournament progression. Whilst commenting on the tournament itself, he also gave us a technical look into some of his plays throughout the early stages of the tournament, as well as the most crucial hands in his Unibet Open experience.
PM: What attracted you to take part in this tourney
VT: I missed a few of these International tourneys recently as I was abroad and couldn’t play. I was speaking with some colleagues of mine who mentioned the tournament to me and thought, ‘why not?’. I wanted the experience but I didn’t have time for satellites so I invested the €1,700 buy-in and gave it my best.
PM: What were your impressions of the tournament
VT: Well, I didn’t last too long, but while I was there it all seemed to go fairly well. The tournament was well organized, I cannot complain, smooth registration without queues; Tourney started on time…so really it was all fine.
PM: Your thoughts about the tournament structure and your progress?
VT: Maybe for €1,650 we could have had 20k to start off with, but the blinds were slow so it compensates. When I went out, before the hand started, I managed to come back to 8k. Previously I had dropped to about 5/6 k and I picked some hand then went up to 8k. With the BB at 150 its still a decent stack, but then….
I tried to be more active than usual but it didn’t work out. Possibly I was too active before then and I think my table image was ruined. Not ruined as such, but it was that of a player who is quite loose, so stealing pots became a bit difficult – but then again it could have worked in my favour if the right cards come along.
PM: Did you pick any decent cards whist at the tables?
VT: I picked up some nice cards on the first level. I got dealt a pair of Jacks and I was second to act preflop so I rased 3xBB. I got 3 callers and I hit my jack on the flop. The flop was AJ5 rainbow and I thought it was pretty good…. Two checks and I placed another bet, but all of them folded and that was a missed opportunity to make some chips with my ‘loose’ table image.
Next I had 98 and the BB placed a mininum raise of 2 x the BB. I called and the flop showed a 996. Again I bet out, trying to disguise the trips, but my opponents folded. Those were two hands where I could have made some cash but failed to do so.
I was pretty card dead throughout the whole tourney. It was a bit difficult as I had to play with a wide range of cards. I was trying to still be aggressive and raise in position whilst trying to control the pot but things weren’t really going my way.
PM: Which was the most crucial hand you played in the tourney?
VT: There was one crucial hand where I was on the button and a very active player open raised 3x BB. I was cutoff plus one, and I raised to 700 thinking I could cause him to fold. It was a bit imaginative especially since I only held 65h. There was a 3x bet from the SB to 1500 and that’s where my mistake was, I should have given it up, but I had the button and I reasoned that if I hit well it would be disguised and I could extract something out of it. The flop was a disaster for my play, AKT and no hearts, plus my opponent bet out 50% of the pot. I raised to about 5,000 chips, but he shoved. I had to fold…that was a big loss. From that point onwards I did not ever have more than 60% of the starting stack.
PM: So how did it go form there on?
I was quite short….I only had around 4.5k, then I managed to get my stack up to around 8,000 chips by taking some pots down. That is when I got dealt the magically inspiring AA whilst under the gun.
The blinds were 75/150, I raised to 425 from my position UTG and both the button and the BB just flat called. The flop came Q high rainbow, I bet out 750, and I got called from the button. The BB folded so it was a heads up – just me and this guy. The turn came as a Ten and then I bet the pot, he again just flat called and the river came a jack which was quite a bad hand because he could have hit his two pair. I thought to myself ‘either the turn or river gave him two pairs’…but at that point I had 4k left, I checked, he shoved and I guess that I could have folded but I was already frustrated that I was short stacked, and I didn’t want to continue the tourney with 4,000 chips…the pot would have got me back to average stack ….but I called and he showed his two outer ten ……He hadn’t raised on the flop!
PM: What can you tell us about the players you were up against?
VT: The standard was good but it was nothing too overwhelming. I didn’t feel that there were players that could outplay me. I think it was ok value. It would have been nice to grab something from the tourney because the prize pool was quite big. Overall I would say that it was a valuable tournament to play considering the average standard of the players and the attractive size of the prize-pool.
PM: Vanja, many thanks for your time. We’re sure that we’ll see you at some final table in the near future! Till next time.
VT: Will do! Thanks!