Tournament coverage Poker

Epic performance

Written by Pai Yao

This article first appeared in the Nov/Dec 2011 issue of World Gaming magazine.

David Steicke flew the flag for World Gaming magazine at the recent Epic Poker League tournament at the Palms in Las Vegas. His runner-up finish saw him go tantalizingly close to lifting the trophy and claiming his most prestigious title to date. The proud Hong Konger pocketed over half a million US dollars to help ease the pain of second place.

The recently created Epic Poker League (EPL) affords the world’s leading players the chance to compete in an invitational style poker league. The format is similar to that of the exclusive major golf tours, where only the best players are granted invitations. Currently the EPL has approximately 250 league-qualified players.

The Hendon Mob website has recorded poker players’ earnings for years and has been instrumental in helping the league establish their playing list. Invitations are earned via players’ results over the past three years, though many would argue the invitational process is far from perfect. It appears Epic has gone to great lengths to devise a fair ranking strategy, but they are not the first to try this.

Steicke at the final table (photo: Epic Poker League)

Steicke at the final table (photo: Epic Poker League)

The second main event of the EPL was held at the Palms Casino in Las Vegas in early September this year. 97 of the world’s best lined up, down on the 137 that battled it out in the inaugural event back in August 2011. Epic’s invitational format is designed to attract quality fields, which usually means big name final tables. This event was no exception, with Erik Seidel, Fabrice Soulier, David Steicke, Mike McDonald, Nam Le, Isaac Baron, Sean Getzwiller and “Dutch” Boyd forming a distinguished final eight.

After hours of intense poker it was experienced young professional Mike “Timex” McDonald who lifted the trophy. The Canadian pocketed US$782,410 in winnings for good measure. However, it was the impressive second placed finish of David Steicke that really caught our eye. David is an Australian-born Hong Kong resident and a huge supporter of WGM. The eccentric businessman and poker aficionado had been threatening to set the poker world on fire for some time before proving himself at the Palms.

“It really was awe-inspiring. It was like being selected to play in the Olympic Games, and then making the Olympic final,” said David, ever respectful of his opposition.

David will now set his sights on securing some big finishes in this part of the world, and is looking forward to the upcoming APPT (Asia Pacific Poker Tour) event in Macau. He will be striving to hit peak form for the Aussie Millions at Melbourne’s Crown casino in January.

“Financially this result was a big success. Emotionally, I felt like I had actually won, as it was such a star-studded field. I suppose the only disappointment was that I was chip leader coming into heads-up, so I really should have won it!”

Well done David and best of luck on the tables from all your fans here at WGM. David admits that he might have had a little friend on his side during the tournament.

“I used a Pai Yao as a card protector in this tournament. It was a birthday present from Joey my secretary back in 2009 after I won the APT high rollers event in Macau. Before I started this Epic event I had a bad flu and I needed some help. Once when I lost a big hand I noticed that Pai Yao was faced around the wrong way and had fallen off my cards. When Pai Yao was on my cards staring at my opponents with his lucky backside in my direction I knew the little guy was looking after me.”