On Thursday, December 3, 2015, Filipino poker pro Lester Edoc overcame a field of 258 players and was crowned the International Poker Open 3 Main Event champion. After all the snapshots and congratulatory handshakes, Edoc joined us for a nice chat about his success at the final table.
SMP: Congratulations Lester! Is this your first Main Event trophy?
LE: Yes. I’ve won several major events at the Metro Card Club but this is my first Main Event win. I am so happy.
SMP: Coming into the final table, you were one of the big chip leaders, how were you feeling when it started and what was your initial strategy?
LE: I felt comfortable. My plan was to play tight and wait for them to make a mistake. I was waiting for the perfect spot because the blinds were so high. I really didn’t want to get into so many hands while it was still a full table because I knew I had the chip advantage and could afford to wait for the perfect spot.
SMP: Was there anyone you were most worried about?
LE: Respectably, Marc Rivera. I was cautious against him and against the chip leader. I made sure to watch myself against them because I didn’t want to get into a coin flip that would be damaging to my stack. Getting into small pots was my plan. I also didn’t want to double up Marc because I may end up being in trouble.
SMP: What were some of the toughest situations you faced?
LE: When I bluffed the Russian player. I remember it was the third time in a row that I raised preflop. The first two I wasn’t called but this time he called me on the big blind. When the flop showed q-2-3 rainbow, we both checked. When the turn dropped a 9, he bet 170k then I raised it to 400k because even if I had ten-seven hearts, I was one hundred percent sure that he also didn’t have anything. He folded. I felt good because it was a perfect read on him. Also, I had to make a move because in a hand before that, I became short stack when I lost against Marc with my pocket queens against his ace-seven.
SMP: Did you make any big laydowns?
LE: I folded jacks preflop against Isabelo. He went all in and if I called, I’d be crippled so I gave it up. He was also the tightest player at the table. If it was anybody else, I would call.
SMP: I noticed you switched from playing tight in the early levels to playing aggressively in the later stages. What prompted the change?
LE: When it was short-handed, I knew I could start stealing the blinds and antes. That was my strategy from the start once there were less players. And I had decent hands as well. SMP: When it was three-handed, you were up against Martin and Marc, how did you adjust knowing that all three of you are aware of how each other plays? LE: For me, I just played my usual game. Honest playing. Up to them to believe me or not.
SMP: At the heads up stage against Martin, you were ahead 2:1 in chips. Did you have a strategy on how to play him?
LE: Still the same. Play my usual game. When I had him covered, I played aggressive. When he doubled up and I was short stack, I was careful and waited for legit cards.
SMP: Overall, how did you like the event?
LE: I enjoyed the event but it felt more like a deep stack turbo event of the APT. It was too much of a turbo main event. It didn’t feel like a main event. It was hard to reach the turn and river betting stages because you didn’t have enough chips versus the blinds. It becomes a game of luck instead of skill and talent. It was around sixty percent luck involved instead of seventy percent strategy and thirty percent luck. As a short stack, if you got lucky twice, you would become the chip leader. Blinds were just too high.
SMP: One last question, how will you be celebrating?
LE: If you noticed Ferlyn wasn’t here today so I will go home and spend it with her, spend it with my wife.
Congratulations to Lester Edoc! If you want to catch him, his next stop will be the APT Finale.