The poker player with the runaway lead Poker Masters Rankings is not Alex Foxen, Sean Winters or Sam Soverel. That’s not it Stephen Chidwickwho recently dropped out Event #8: $25,000 No-Limit Hold’em for $400,000.
No, the player who achieved the greatest success PokerGO Studio This week belongs to Lithuania Vladas Tamasauskasa newcomer to the high roller scene who quickly gained attention by winning two events and taking trophies from some of the best players in the world.
Tamasauskas, who played mostly mid-stakes tournaments before flying abroad to sign up for the Poker Masters in Las Vegas, started the series with a win in the inaugural $10,000 buy-in event for $239,400. dollars before winning the third event of the series for $208,800.
PokerNews caught up with Tamasauskas during the ongoing Poker Masters September 26th before a player is awarded the elusive Purple Jacket.
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“You couldn’t ask for a better start”
Tamasauskas earned his first tournament money in 2015 with an 11th place finish European Poker Tour (EPT) Prague Main Event for $21,164. Since then, he has amassed hundreds of thousands in winnings, mostly in the $500 to $1,500 buy-in range, before posting a career-best $439,650 with a third-place finish earlier this month EPT Barcelona €10,000 High Roller.
“I’ve focused primarily on main event tournaments, not high roller tournaments with smaller fields,” he said PokerNews on September 21st. “I would play on bigger fields and smaller buy-ins. But this year I wanted to play higher. And I had a decent result in Barcelona, and after that it was easier to come here and play on these as well.”
At the Poker Masters, Tamasauskas began the first event with a victory over his heads-up opponent Aram Zobian before winning a second PGT trophy with a PB performance in Event #3 Ren Lin, who himself had a strong performance at Poker Masters and is ranked third in the Poker Masters rankings. Between victories, Tamasauskas placed sixth in event #2, earning $58,200.
“(I) couldn’t ask for a better start and I just want to finish as strong as I started,” Tamasauskas said. “There are still a lot of tournaments left and we obviously want to win the leaderboard at this point. But there are still a lot of tournaments left and just try to focus on each one.”
Chasing the Poker Masters title
With his three final tables, two wins and $506,400 in prize money, Tamasauskas was the clear leader in the leaderboard race with 506 points PokerNews interviewed him during the first break of Event #5. Now, with only a few events left in the series, Tamasauskas remains in the lead.
Despite being new to the high roller scene, Tamasauskas, who noted that it was his first time playing with “some of these guys…probably half of them,” didn’t make any major strategy adjustments.
“I prepare for the smaller tournaments the same way, just treating each tournament with respect,” he said. “And if I don’t want to play, I won’t play a tournament that day. But as far as preparation goes, it’s the same for every tournament. Because just as you play (in) one tournament, you will also play (in) another. If you do one thing, you can do anything.”
Still, Tamasauskas noted that his strategy has evolved over the course of the series, as he tries to “adapt to each individual opponent and move on from there.”
“I think it’s evolving into getting to know your opponents better. And yes, there is more dynamism with each individual player at the table because the fields are smaller, so you play against the same opponents more often. And I think that’s the biggest difference from the first events in the future.”
Tamasauskas still has to fend off attacks from others on the leaderboard late in the series, including Chino Rheem (358 points), Lin (325 points) and Darren Elias (319 points). While such a surprise is not uncommon, the Purple Jacket almost belongs to the Lithuanian high-roller newbie at this point.
2023 Poker Masters Leaderboard Top 10 (across 8 events)
*Images courtesy of PokerGO / Antonio Abrego