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Sudworth cashes in at Ladbrokes Poker
James Sudworth, 22 years old and a native of Molash, Canterbury, Kent, has been tearing it up on his favorite online poker haunt: Ladbrokes Poker.
Sudworth goes by the ominous name of James666 on Ladbrokes, and recently took part in the Ladbrokes European Online Championship of Poker IV. Sudworth entered seven of the 16 events and did extraordinarily well.
"I am a cash-game player, therefore I love deep-stack, long-blind tournaments, or short-handed and heads-up events, more than a standard stack and blind structure tournament that you find regularly online," Sudworth said.
"Which shows in my cashes in both the Deepstack, which lasted 11 hours and in which I came first, and the $1,000 main event with a fantastic structure, in which I final-tabled for $22,000, after a grueling 13 hours."
It was the Sunday Deepstack in particular that was filled with strategic moments and critical decisions for Sudworth on his way to the win. One play in particular was not a popular one among his peers.
"One call, which I was criticized for by one established tournament player, took place early on in the tournament with blinds of $150/$300/$30," Sudworth said. "I opened for $850 from the hijack with Q-T of hearts and the small blind, who I have a long history with in cash games, made it $3,000."
Sudworth said in a standard tournament he would just fold instantly, but it was deep-stacked and his opponent had $14,000 behind, so he called.
"The flop was a tasty-looking, but dangerous flop if I was against an overpair, which was highly likely: T-6-5 with two spades. The small blind made a standard continuation bet of $3,850 into the $6,410, which I know he would make with A-K or air, or also with an overpair," Sudworth said.
Sudworth didn't put his opponent on an A-T, believing he would have smooth-called or mucked pre-flop out of position. For that same reason, he didn't believe he had 5-5, 6-6 or 5-6.
"I decided to call instead of raise here, as I had position and it would be clear if he pushed on the turn that I was beaten, and if I had raised in position, then he would most certainly have only called or pushed all-in with a better hand."
Next came the turn card, the queen of spades. Sudworth's opponent instantly pushed his remaining $10,000 into the middle.
"I obviously snap-called my top two pair in a three-bet pot pre-flop, and saw I was against AA," Sudworth said. "It held up, and saw me rocket to a top-three place chip lead in the tournament."
As mentioned, his play, which cracked aces, was not met with admiration.
"I was criticized for making the call pre-flop," he said, "but in my defense, we were in a deep-stacked tournament, and I was looking for any opportunity versus the second table chippy to double through and sit with a very nice stack, and to allow me to bully the weak table with my stack.
"If he had bet a sizable bet on the flop, perhaps $5,000-$6,000 on the flop, I would have had to think very carefully about how to proceed with the hand, and I would have likely folded on the flop. But for such a small continuation bet, I had to peel off the turn to see where I was, and unluckily for the small blind, I made my two pair."
Sudworth said it only cost him just under $4,000 to see the turn card that would give him the $37,000 pot, when blinds were relatively low.
"This stack size gave me a huge edge against all my table opponents, [who were] trying desperately to simply make the cash instead of go for the win," he said.
It was this win-at-all-costs mentality that propelled Sudworth to the top spot in this event and a cool $18,650 prize.
Seven days later, with not much luck in the events in between, Sudworth had another good run in the $1,000+$100 LEOCOP main event. The event was not without its bumps though.
"When it got down to the final 99 players, I was placed 99th out of 99, being the short stack with approximately 11 times the big blind at the time," Sudworth said.
"No one still in the tournament or out of the tournament wanted to take a share in me, or buy a piece of my action. Fast-forward one hour, and after some coin flips and plays, I had a decent-sized stack, and the offers started to arrive. I should have been stubborn and not accepted any deals, as I went on to place at the final table for $22,000. A nice feeling to come back from such few chips, to be one of the favorites at the final table."
The eighth-place finish secured Sudworth's spot at the top of the LEOCOP leaderboard. Along with the prestige, he earned a $4,000 bonus payout for winning the leaderboard race.
Also, the top 80 players in the leaderboard were automatically included in the invitation-only LEOCOP Masters Event on November 22. Perhaps a bit anticlimactically, Sudworth did not score in the invitational.
He said that within 20 minutes of logging into the tournament, he found himself facing set vs. set on a perfect board, and it wasn't in his favor. He couldn't make a miracle comeback this time around and was busted soon after.
Still, Sudworth has to be pleased at his performance in the LEOCOP IV, and his future in online and brick-and-mortar poker seems bright.
Interestingly, although Sudworth visits Las Vegas often, he doesn't gamble there much.
"I have just returned from a trip to Vegas, where I was ringside to watch the Rikki Hatton fight, courtesy of Ladbrokes Poker, which was fantastic," Sudworth said. "But when I travel to Vegas it is usually for the partying, not the poker, as I used to live there, so I'd rather party than gamble, as I still class it as a home away from home."
This coming year might turn his stateside trips from pleasure back to business.
"Obviously 2009 will have the WSOP in store, and I hope to make some of the circuit events at the Bellagio at some point this coming year," he said. "I have also yet to experience the L.A. poker scene, which I have been advised by some big players, gets some of the best action in the states."
Until his next trip overseas or next marathon run in a major tournament series, you can find Sudworth at the online cash tables.
"My specialty is cash games, therefore I play a lot more cash games than I do tournaments," he said. "I can usually be found 10-tabling the $2/$4 games on Ladbrokes, or 4-/5-tabling the higher-staked $3/$6 - $10/$20 games if the value is good. I find no need to play high-stakes poker, as I can make a comfortable living at the current levels; I prefer to take my shots at the big time, and big money, through larger tournaments instead of a higher-risk cash-game strategy."
In fact, winning the leaderboard has done wonders for Sudworth's game.
"When I made the final table, I knew I would have topped the leaderboard, so I was extremely happy with myself for taking on the best tournament players in Europe and winning!" he said.
"Since then, my confidence has returned, and I am now improving my cash-game standard to that which it was before my longest bad run yet. As for an instant reaction when I knew I had won the leaderboard, it was, 'Ooh lovely, an extra $4,000' - it's all about the moolah!"