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Precious! - Spegal Wins $1,500 Pot-Limit Hold'em
This evening we saw the former Michael Spegal.
Celebrating his wedding anniversary, Mike now has another reason to mark down this day as one to remember in years to come.
Well this has been quite a day for you Mike. It's your anniversary, your first WSOP cash and, of course, your first gold bracelet. Give us your feelings on the final table, the heads-up match and how you're feeling now that it's all over.
Well, you know, when I got to the final table, I was honestly just happy to have made it there. There were nine of us and I really just wanted to play the best cards I possibly could. I wasn't going to try to bluff the pot; I wasn't going to try to bluff these players. This is what they do for a living.
I just wanted to sit back and play only the best cards. When I did play I was raising and re-raising and doing all the things you're supposed to do. I had the best cards going in, and they held up. So basically when that happened, when the short-stacks were starting to make moves, I had some cards and it ended up working to my advantage.
I wanted Gavin heads-up. He was one of the best there at the table, and it would be an honor to win, having played against one of the best.
Take us through the heads-up match in a bit more detail. How did you find Gavin's play, and how did you're two styles complement each other?
Well I've heard and seen from watching him play that he's a very aggressive player. And a lot of the pros today are aggressive. So I thought about the way he was going to play and I knew that he was going to come after me.
So I thought that I'd kind of change it up on him and steal some chips here and there to let him know that I wasn't going to sit there and let him pick me off. I wanted to go after him. Then after the break, I switched it up and really tried to change gears. I thought that was the only way I was going to stand a chance against him heads-up.
Let's go back to before the final table. Take us through how the tournament went for you.
I actually started out pretty good. I was getting some cards, and I tripled up pretty early and took advantage of that throughout the tournament. Each time I went heads-up with someone, I usually had the bigger stack.
There was one hand in particular where I had pocket jacks and another player had A-J; he was actually second in chips at the table. The flop came out jack high, and I put him all-in. It took him a while, but he called, and I pretty much doubled up.
This is your first WSOP cash, and obviously your first bracelet, but are you a newcomer to the World Series or have you played here before?
I'm pretty new to the Series, but I did win a seat to the Main Event last year online. I played the first day and was playing good and playing strong, but when the night came around, I made a few mistakes and ended up taking a few bad beats.
That ended my tournament life right there, and it was pretty upsetting, so I figured this year, because I do want to play the Main Event again, I'd play a few smaller events, and if I cashed there, then I could play the Main Event.
So do you think the $10k buy-in is within your bankroll now?
(Laughs.) I think so.
Tell us about how you got into the game and what role poker plays in your life.
I'm a former Marine and now I'm a business owner. I actually own two businesses, a UPS store and an equipment rental business. I'm married to a beautiful woman who has four children, and one of them has two children so I'm actually a grandfather.
But family is important to me, as are my businesses, so there's just not that much time for poker. Now, to have this happen tonight is amazing and I really want to play more in the future.
It sounds like you lead a hectic life; will this money give you a bit more freedom to spend more time with your family and let you do the things you want to do?
It will definitely give me a bit of breathing room and let me do things like play poker. It's also nice to know that I can compete at this level, with the professionals of the game. I want to win another one!
Are you going to play many more events before the Main Event?
I'll be back tomorrow at noon.
Thanks, Mike, and congratulations again.
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Mike Spegal: family man, grandfather, business owner and now poker player. Defeating a player like Gavin Smith in heads-up play is no easy feat for anyone. The fact that Mike was able to do this, and pay respect to the veteran in the process, says a lot about his character at the table and what we can expect from him in the future.
With plans to play more events throughout the Series, as well as the newly inflated bankroll to back them up, there's little doubt we'll be seeing more of Mr. Spegal in the weeks to come.