Pius Heinz just won the 2011 WSOP. But I'm writing in commendation of Martin Staszko. I really liked how he played. He made a crucial mistake near the end calling an all-in with just a flush draw, which is probably what cost him the match in the end. But before that, he had been in the lead for most of the heads-up battle. He looked completely unflappable, whereas Heinz showed obvious signs of the stress and frustration. He said hardly a single word. He tamed the wild Heinz by using the call as his primary tool--just as Mike Caro advises for dealing with a maniac. He supplemented that with some impressively well-timed bluffs, deadly traps, and perfectly sized value bets. His style of play is not flashy or sexy, in the way that Heinz's daring high-wire act of unrelenting aggression is, but it is highly effective. It's the classic tortoise and hare story. I've always been partial to tortoises.
Wednesday, November 09, 2011
I think I was with most observers in seriously underestimating him coming into tonight. I mostly thought of him as having luckboxed his way to the final table, and then coasting on his chip lead to the final three. He always struck me as looking confused, like he didn't really know what was going on. But we learned from a Kara Scott interview late in the evening that, to everyone's surprise, most of Staszko's online play is heads-up, so he came to the end-game not nearly at the experience disadvantage that most of us assumed. And it showed--he never seemed the least bit intimidated by Heinz's aggression, and actually managed to force Heinz to dial it down, frustrating him by calling light, and usually correctly.
I'd like to think that I would have played about the way he did, in both decision-making and composure.
Good game, sir.