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Poker Tournament Trail -- Carter Phillips

Talks About His Win at the 2009 PokerStars EPT Barcelona Main Event

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Carter PhillipsCarter Phillips won the 2009 PokerStars European Poker Tour Barcelona main event. He topped a field of 479 players to walk away with €850,000 and his first EPT title. He had gone deep in an EPT field before, and he learned form his mistakes to capture the win. After the final card hit the table, he showed his emotion as a few tears streaked down his cheeks while he grinned from ear to ear.

Card Player caught up with Phillips at a post-final-table press conference, and he spoke about how much the emotional victory meant.

Question: You appear to be really touched by this victory. Can you describe what you’re feeling right now?

Carter Phillips: During the whole tournament, it felt just like any other poker tournament, even when we got heads up. Once the river hit the deck, all of the emotion just came into me at once. I didn’t even know how I would react, but it just all hit me at the same time, as you can see by my reaction.

Q: You have gone deep before in an EPT event before, but never won one. What do you think the difference was this time? Were you running better? Playing better?

CP: Definitely a combination of both. In those past experiences, I had made some bad plays and bad calls. Over-aggression in those earlier tournaments was one of the factors to why I lost. In this tournament, I kept to my aggressive style, but it was much more controlled. I didn’t do anything stupid to lose big pots.

Q: What were your thoughts on the initial final-table draw?

CP: I was dreading it the whole night last night when I was thinking about it. Matt Lapossie was on my left, and he was one of the best players at the table. He’s really aggressive … that’s one of the main reasons I started out playing tight at the final table. When he was there, I didn’t want to get involved with him. Marc Goodwin also had position on me. He’s obviously another one of the guys I don’t want there. Those were also two of the biggest stacks, as well.

Q: How much confidence did you gain when you made a call in a 40,000 pot on day 1 holding just king high and it turned out to be the right call?

CP: That was my tournament. That set me on the right track all week. That was a huge confidence boost, because I had pretty much lost a bunch of my chips early in this tournament, and after that I was so confident with my decisions, and I just went with my gut reads.

Q: Can you walk us through that hand?

CP: My opponent min-raised from the hijack (two off the button) when I held KHeart Suit QHeart Suit in the big blind. The flop came JHeart Suit 6Heart Suit 2Club Suit. We both checked, and the turn came 6Spade Suit. I bet 400, and he instantly made it 1,700. I haven’t been playing a lot live, but I’ve played a little bit, so I know some of his tells. Also, the way this guy had been playing, nothing made sense here. I thought he had called me with ace high. Pretty much the only thing he could have was a 6, so not too many hands could beat me. The river comes a deuce, pairing the board. I check, and he jams over the pot for three times the pot. I couldn’t see him doing that with anything. I ran the hand through my head several times and nothing made sense to me that I was behind. I just went with my gut.

Q: Is this win and the money going to change your life?

CP: Most people say no, but I’m sure it will. It’s a huge sum of money. And not only that, having an EPT title, and being an EPT champion, will change things for me just as much, having the recognition. I’m looking forward to see what comes next.

Q: You and Marc Goodwin came into this final table one-two in chips and it went into the heads-up final the same way, with you holding a lead. How had you mentally prepared yourself during the course of the final table knowing that you were most likely going to face off against the veteran?

CP: I’ve played a lot of tournament online heads up against many different types of opponents. He seemed to be the more passive type. My game plan going in was to be very aggressive, raise a lot of pots in position. I think it worked out, because a couple of times I chipped up. I was winning a lot of the small pots, but then I would lose a couple big ones, but then I would chip back up so it seemed like my strategy was working well.