Tournament coverage Poker

One for the good guys

Written by Pai Yao

This article first appeared in the Jan/Feb 2014 issue of World Gaming magazine.

We’re not the types to blow our own trumpet, but we do like to acknowledge when one of our own excels – and that’s exactly what happened during the recent Asia Championship of Poker series at Macau’s PokerStars LIVE room at City of Dreams.

World Gaming’s Chief Marketing Officer Michael Mariakis sat down on 31 October to play the HK$11,000 No Limit Hold’em Turbo event and by the time play had come to an end he had emerged victorious to win his first “Spadie”.

When we’re not making him slave away in the office, Michael is a regular in events around the Asia-Pacific region and has had a number of close calls so he was understandably ecstatic to finally claim a title at a major tournament series.

WGM's Michael Mariakis won his first 'Spadie'at ACOP 2013

WGM’s Michael Mariakis won his first ‘Spadie’at ACOP 2013

“It was a really good feeling breaking through for a win at ACOP,” Michael explained. “Danny, Fred and the whole team run great tournaments throughout the year at Pokerstars LIVE at COD in Macau. It’s a new home for PokerStars and no doubt Macau’s premier room for poker tournaments.

“To win a ‘Spadie’ at the biggest series of the year was really special. The ACOP will just keep getting bigger and bigger and will one day seriously rival the WSOP in Las Vegas. It’s nice to think I’ve won what might one day be considered the equivalent of a WSOP bracelet.”

Michael entered the final table sitting second in chips and although it wasn’t all smooth sailing, he eventually reached heads-up play against England’s Jack Salter for the title.

“When we got to heads up play I suggested a five minute break and while we were chatting I asked what he did for a living,” Michael recounted. “You can imagine my reaction when he said, ‘Oh I play heads up online for a living!’ “

“In any case, being a turbo event the structure really took away any edge Jack might have had on me, but I remember being hammered initially during the start of heads-up play and thinking this was going to be over very quickly.

“The lead swapped a few times, and we both had a couple chances to win thwarted. After about 20 minutes of play I picked up A-5 and shoved into his K-T. He had me covered and he hit a K on the flop, but I was lucky enough to hit an A on the river and win the pot, crippling him. Next hand it was all over and I had won myself the title!”

Congrats Michael – hopefully there will be many more wins coming your way.