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Canadian wins EPT seat from PokerListings.com
The playing field may have been small, but it wasn't an easy feat for xzenit to walk away with a European Poker Tour Prague seat at Hollywood Poker recently.
The freeroll was hosted exclusively for poker players who signed up at Hollywood Poker through PokerListings.com, and it saw 26 players take to the table to try to earn the seat.
To qualify for the freeroll, players had to place in the top four of one of the weekly $1,000 freerolls for PokerListings.com players leading up to the tournament. That limited the playing field to at most 32 players.
For xzenit, a 21-year-old college student living in Quebec, Canada, it was obvious the resulting playing field was going to be tough.
"We were 26 players at first in the freeroll, and they were paying top four players," he said. "So I knew it was going to be pretty tough against these players, because they were all top-four finishers in different tourneys."
However, xzenit is no slouch at the poker table either. He said he's been playing poker for more than a year now.
"I didn't know anything about the game," xzenit said of his beginning in poker. "I saw [an advertisement] and decided to try it. At first, it was just for fun, but it changed over time."
Now he puts in between three to five sessions of poker each week, often at Hollywood Poker.
"I visit Hollywood Poker each week. I love this room," xzenit said. "The traffic at Hollywood Poker is very good, and the software is great. The players are coming from around the world, and it is nice to play at the table with these decent players."
He's also a regular at PokerListings.com, where he said he likes to check in at least once a week for news and information.
"I think PokerListings is a great place to find a good poker room," xzenit said. "They give you tons of details about the biggest rooms in the world so you are able to compare them and then choose the one you most like. The bonuses are better than what the poker rooms would give you, and you can read great tips and advice in order to improve your game."
Perhaps that's what helped propel xzenit to the top of the EPT Prague playing field.
"It was tight in the beginning, but some players were too aggressive for the size of the blinds," xzenit said of the freeroll.
"I took the lead in chips in the middle of the tournament. The players were good in general, but I knew they were going to tighten up their plays at the final table, so I pushed them around with my stack to steal blinds, without facing a lot of resistance."
On the last hand, xzenit said he was holding 7-8 suited, and he raised all-in against his severely short-stacked opponent. When it came to the showdown, he had the best hand and an EPT Prague prize package.
The package includes the buy-in for the EPT main event in Prague as well as money for travel and accommodation. It will be xzenit's first live major poker tournament, and he plans to put it to good use.
When asked if he planned to take the trip to Prague he said, "Yes. It is like a dream come true to go to that event with a good field of players from all around the world."
One player in particular would make the dream even more complete. He said he would most like to face Phil Ivey at the poker table.
"I'm a fan of this guy, and I personally think that he's the best poker player in the world," xzenit said. "I love his style; he's willing to play any two cards with good timing and aggressiveness, and he can read players so easily. He is the guy I would like to play against, even if I know I don't stand a chance!"
PokerListings.com players who missed out on this freeroll have a shot at another EPT seat as well. On Jan. 27, qualifiers will hit the felt to compete for a seat to the Copenhagen stop of the tour.
To qualify, players must have signed up at Hollywood Poker through PokerListings.com, and then do one of the following:
Finish in the top five of any weekly PokerListings.com $1,000 freeroll.
Be in the top five PokerListings.com players for Hollywood points any week before the freeroll.
Be the last PokerListings.com player standing in selected open Hollywood Poker tourneys (list sent each week).