No Mercy Monday February 1

Once Upon a Time: I Won a Championship After 16 Hours of Play!

Last time on No Mercy Monday, Isabelle wrote about the time when she played the police at the poker table. Now, we head on to Prague for a happier memory of a long tournament that, fortunately, ended up with a victory.

Ahhh Prague! Romantic city par excellence, a jewel of Eastern Europe, where history and bohemian spirit are present everywhere. Prague and its cobbled streets, its castle, its magnificent Charles Bridge, its small traditional restaurants…

That’s all I didn’t take advantage of, because, on that cold weekend of December 2015, I spent 16 hours playing in the very first Open Face Chinese Poker (OFC) World Championship in “Progressive” format. And you know what? I won it. 

Before the tournament

Small flashback of 48 hours. After two very early Monaco-Nice and Nice-Paris (far too early) flights, here I am on the plane to Prague, heading to the Open Face Chinese Poker “Pineapple” championships. 

Back then, while I played a lot online at OFC, I have to admit that I was sorely lacking in a live experience. When you’re in Fantasyland it’s very easy to see all of your cards on the screen and, with a single click, you can even arrange them by color.

Live, that’s another story, especially when you have Smurfette-sized hands like me. 

A different variant of OFC

In the classic variant, you see 14 cards at once. In the variation I was about to play that night, we can have up to 17! It’s literally a third of the pack that you have to sort out and arrange in order to accumulate as many points as possible. 

As such, I’m practicing in my window seat to sort out my hands in Fantasyland as quickly as possible and to count my points. Arrived in Prague, no time to go shopping, I take the keys to my room and I go to take the temperature at the Casino where the tournament will take place the same evening.

I thought it would be a long game session, but I couldn’t imagine it would be that long!

Before I fell asleep the day before, I had watched a YouTube tutorial from a very nice player who gives advice on how to play well in “Progressive” format.

This is a variant that is played “from top to bottom” he hammers several times. We try to put ideally two aces or two kings on the top row, and then we manage to cover this top line on the other two rows. 

Warming up for a long night of poker

By the time the tournament started at 6 p.m., I was in great shape. There were “only” 107 other players and I felt that the trophy and the title would be mine. I like to visualize the finish line in poker.

What I hadn’t visualized, however, was the structure of this tournament. In the list of choices for online tournaments, we have hyper-turbo, turbo, normal and slow. I think this live tournament would have deserved another name… hyper-slow.

Hours go by, players are disappearing, but not at a very fast pace. I’ll make it short: after 12 hours of play, we are still more than 10 players in the race.

There is no day 2, the winner must be determined immediately because tomorrow there is another tournament starting. 

Hungry for more?

Around 2 a.m., I joke around my table, mentioning the fact that I wouldn’t want to miss my hotel breakfast which ends at 11 a.m.

To be fair, I did not think so well put, because the tournament indeed lasted until the wee hours of the morning and my final heads-up ended at 10 am, after a long obstacle course of 16 hours of play. Still, victory has finally arrived!

There is still time to take the traditional photo. Then, I catch my breath a little after all these hours of counting the points and the bonuses accompanying each hand, and here I am in a taxi towards the breakfast of the hotel that I almost miss for real.

Isabelle Mercier Prague

I am looking at the time. I have two hours of sleep left, then I have to go back to the casino to play the OFC Classic “Pineapple” Main Event at 2pm. 

Honestly, I won’t hide from you that my brain was idling. At each table, a very large number of Russian players threw me a sympathetic (or not so sympathetic) “Can you count faster?”.

I wish I could have counted faster. But it was not possible to do so. I didn’t have to count for long anyway, because unfortunately, I didn’t do well in this tournament, which allowed me to go to the Christmas market and drink spicy hot wine. Ahhh Prague! Romantic city … finally, I’m here! 

Meet me at the tables on CoinPoker to practice your skills and enjoy the action. Open yourself a CoinPoker account today.  

Isabelle “No Mercy” Mercier 

WPT Winner & OFC “Progressive” World Champion 

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