Thursday, 18th April 2024 01:47
Home / Poker / Siena rides the (accidental) rush towards biggest career cash

A lot of things have gone right for Alessandro Siena to find himself among the survivors on Day 4 of the PCA Main Event. But that’s only after a lot of things went wrong.

“It’s a crazy story,” Siena says while unbagging his chips at the start play today. “I was pretty sure I was qualifying for the $25K.”

He goes on to describe how he sat down at his computer in his home in Malta, opened up the PokerStars lobby and joined what he thought was a €250 buy-in satellite to the PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC).

He played it as he normally would, and when he got down to heads up, found himself suddenly thinking closely about the gravity of the situation.

“I thought it was a $25K bubble,” he says. “I was a bit…not scared, but emotional.”

The 26-year-old managed to banish the nerves long enough to complete the job, but ended up belatedly realising that he needed to be in the Bahamas a week earlier than he had planned. He had a package to the $10K PCA Main Event instead.

“It’s OK,” he says now, chuckling. “I’m happy to be here.”

SPINNING UP €250

And why wouldn’t he be? There were 889 entries to this tournament, nominally costing $10,000 apiece. But of the 56 coming back today, there were still a handful of players who had qualified for a fraction of that price, including Siena.

His €250 investment is already worth at least $29,400, and his Day 4 stack of 310,000 has even greater tournament equity in an event where the winner will win $1.5 million.

He finds himself on the secondary feature table today, and is relaxed about that too — perhaps because he’s already had a much more tense skirmish with the TV cameras this week.

Siena was one of five players who were at risk on the stone bubble yesterday. He was all in with pocket jacks, called by Andrew Moreno’s ace-jack, and had to wait the seeming eternity for the cameras to arrive, the press pack to follow, and then tournament directory Toby Stone to instruct the dealer to decide his fate.

All in and under threat on the bubble

“I wasn’t happy when Andrew called my all-in,” Siena says. “On the pure bubble, I’m not happy to play 70/30. I was pretty sure I was 70/30 because he was thinking a lot. (Sometimes I’m flipping with ace-queen.) But I’d prefer if he folds on the pure bubble. I don’t have to double up there.”

At the time, Siena was doing his best to seem relaxed about the situation and, a day later, says he was happy with his play. “I was OK with myself, I had to jam,” he says. “If I bubbled after this, it’s fine. I did the right thing.”

TOO MANY OUTS…

He had to watch as Moreno flopped a straight draw and then improved to a flush draw on the turn. “When he improved to a flush draw, I was happier,” he says. “Because every time you have more outs, you never hit. It’s a strange rule, but it sometimes works.”

The too-many-outs syndrome did indeed keep Siena alive in this tournament, and Moreno was among those knocked out yesterday, in 90th place. Siena, meanwhile, battles on with his best-ever tournament cash in his sights.

Predominantly a cash-game player, Siena’s biggest tournament score is the €35,000 prize he took for winning a €500 buy-in event in Malta in 2017. By that point, he was already living in Malta after leaving his native Italy, predominantly to play poker.

It’s his first time in the Bahamas, and the small issue over qualifying for the wrong tournament is long forgotten.

“It’s been a good experience,” he says. “I’m really enjoying it.”

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