Never Say Die: An Interview with Reuben Peters

Reuben Peters
Reuben Peters wins the EPT4 Dublin main event

After watching Annette Obrestad absolutely ravage this final table it seemed a foregone conclusion that this winner interview would have her name on it. From the title though, and the photo you see below, this is obviously not the case.

Reuben Peters entered the heads-up match at a significant chip disadvantage but after close to an hour of play every single marker had made its way to the patch of felt in front of the American.

A former stock trader from Colorado, Peters seemed to be the only player at the table who was able to mount a defense against Annette's assault, and after getting the better of the deck during one-on-one play he was able to close the deal and take this PokerStars EPT title back across the pond to the U.S.A.

One-on-One with Reuben Peters

After the winner photos had been taken and the champion had answered some general questions from the horde of online and print reporters in attendance, took him aside to get a more personal look at the tournament from his point of view.

Well Reuben, you've just made an unbelievable comeback to take down this tournament. You seem very happy and a little blown away as well so tell us how you're feeling.

You know, I feel great (laughs). I really didn't expect it. She had a huge chip stack, probably at least five times as much as me, but the blinds and antes were still relatively small so I just tried to play smart and hoped things would work out.

Let's start with the end of the tournament and work our way backward. You mentioned earlier that you've had the chance to play with Annette online before so give us your thoughts on the dynamic of the heads-up match, given the huge chip differential, and how much your past experience helped you deal with her.

Annette Obrestad

Knowing what I know about Annette, you have to expect her to do a lot of raising in position. She played very well and she's really good at playing in position. A good example was when she hit that gut-shot straight draw, she was in position and took a free card. She hit the straight and got paid off. She is an excellent player.

I knew that I did not want to play her out of position. So if I was in a hand and out of position I'm just going to check to her and let her continue to be aggressive; she's an extremely aggressive player. So that was my basic strategy. Play good cards, call when I'm out of position with a good hand that might make something and raise in position when I have something and go from there.

Given that you were able to hit some flops, with her catching a small piece as well, do you think her level of aggression made it easier for you to chip up as quickly as you did?

Well, we played the one hand where I flopped bottom two and she hit top pair and in heads-up the money's probably going in there every time. So there was nothing wrong with her play there. That doubled me up and got me back in it and the last hand she had pocket sevens and there was only one overcard on the board and she had raised pre-flop. She's very good at reading people and I was lucky to hit that ten. Her aggression did help me there but generally speaking she can run you over. The entire table got run over by her and I was kind of sulking, picking up 7-4 off-suit over and over. It's easy to get frustrated in that situation and you really want to do something but you have to be patient.

Reuben Peters
Reuben Peters

Let's talk about patience a bit. Yesterday around the bubble you were really low in chips but you picked your spots well and made it to the final table. You seemed to fly under the radar a bit, which is the opposite of Annette, so give us your thoughts on patience versus all-out aggression.

I think her strategy is better. You'll definitely win more playing like Annette. But I'm still learning and a big part of that is learning when to be aggressive and when not to be aggressive. Most of the tournaments I've won online I've come back from no chips. So I know it's possible to run good and when you're catching cards late in a tournament you're going to get paid off. For me it's about being patient.

Do you really focus on just surviving to put yourself in a position to get lucky? Because a lot of players try to avoid coasting into the money with just a few chips.

The Final Table
The final table.

Yeah, it's tough. Especially over here because you have Swedes to your right and Norwegians to your left the entire time and you know they're aggressive players. I told you earlier that I hadn't been given a walk in my big blind until we got down to three-handed. But I think I was the luckiest player; I must have won 10 straight races.

It's a given that Annette is a brilliant player but during the final table today it was getting a little eerie how good she was running. Did you find that demoralizing, especially since you had to face her heads-up?

Well yeah, she had A-J against A-T, A-3 against A-J and won, and aces against other big pairs a few times. But she's a great player. It seems like she's just really aggressive but she's very good at being aggressive in position. She's absolutely fearless in her re-raises and she'll do it with any two cards. You can't put her on a hand; she plays beautifully. I didn't see anything she did wrong.

Reuben Peters
The Colorado Cooler.

One final question: Give us an idea of your lifestyle, how poker plays into it and how it might change after a win like this.

I was a stock trader for a long time and I'm still learning poker so I really don't think this is going to change my lifestyle a whole lot. I was able to make some money in stocks before the crash and after that there was just a lot less money in the market. There are a lot of hedge funds and everything's automated now, there's just not as much volatility so I thought I'd try something new. I've always been a gambler and I thought that poker was a fair game. It's a numbers game and it takes a lot of gumption.

Thank you Reuben and congratulations again.

Peters was able to fly under our radar for much of the tournament but after a win like this it will be harder for him to remain inconspicuous in the future. Tempering Annette's aggression with patience and a great sense of timing, Peters was able to succeed where seven of his final-table counterparts had failed. Defeating one of the best young players in the game today, and having to come back from a massive chip deficit to do it, is no easy feat so we'd like to congratulate Reuben Peters one last time on his accomplishment.

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