A week ago, the news broke that a Lithuanian had made it to the final table of the $3,300 buy-in Main Event at Merit Poker Cyprus!
Ernestas Degtiariovas poker holidays and interview with a student E. Degtiariov
And he’s a man we know very well – Ernestas Degtiariovas! A student of SpinuMokykla with great success in 100s Spin&Go tournaments. After a 6-hour battle at the final table, Ernestas managed to make it to 3rd place on a Merit poker tournament and win $168,000!
So, as soon as we found a moment, we called directly to Cyprus, Merit, and had a quick chat with Ernestas.
Let’s start at the beginning, can you tell us how poker came about into your life?
I would say that the most significant beginning was when I was 18 and I started going to a sport poker club “Two Kings” with a group of friends. Nothing special, just a lot of enthusiasm, wide eyes and dreams of becoming a professional poker player one day. A few years later, I started to learn how to play poker online in the Spin & Go format. As I was also studying at the time, I was earning a few hundred dollars from self-studying for about 3 years. But that all changed after I finished university and I went from 7s to the 100s in half a year. And here I am indebted to the founder of SM, whom I remember spamming daily. I was very passionate about improving my game, and Erikas taught and shared his knowledge. I have been on this journey with SpinuMokykla ever since.
Even though you are a Spin & Go player, how did you end up in MTTs?
To be honest, I just went on holiday for 14 days and spent some of that time at the poker tables. And as it turned out, I had to trade my vacation for a job… but I’m not really complaining. 😀 All in all, Merit in Cyprus is like Las Vegas in America, so there’s no shortage of poker here. I’ve been playing in smaller poker tournaments almost every day, and I’ve noticed that I’m doing pretty well. So from the start of the Main Event I knew I could do well.
Can you tell us about the journey to the final table?
Disciplined and with little sleep. Each day’s session lasted about 10 hours, after which I went home to study my own and my opponents’ game. Little sleep, increasing tension and stress. And I remind you that my usual playing format is also different. Although the Spin & Go format gave me an advantage in the post-flop game, I had to work on the pre-flop game separately. And I’m very glad that I was not alone in my journey of studying the game. To tell you the truth, I had a lot of support from friends and colleagues. And as soon as the tournament day was over, I would rush to discuss the cards with P. Jucys, S. Babincev and D. Rozhko (former SM student). In fact, much of the journey to the final table was due to the extra work on the return after the sessions, even though the situations were quite favourable. In fact, on the journey to the final table, between cards and strategy, my girlfriend Laura played a huge role. Her constant attention and care for me allowed me to focus on the quality of the game.
How does it feel to sit at the final table?
To be honest, I was most worried about the fact that the table was being filmed. It was my first experience of having your game watched by others. Therefore, money was only a second priority for me when I was playing, the most important thing was to play my cards well so that I wouldn’t be judged too harshly afterwards. 😀 Again, the added pressure of having well-known faces in the poker world at the table. In a word, I was sitting half “wet”. But I’m happy with my game, I really did my best, even the first place winner (to my surprise) rated me as the strongest opponent during the interview. I was the clear favourite in the tournament, but my opponent was lucky.
What was your first hour after the victory like?
Finally the tension eased and I was able to eat a normal meal. 😀 On a more serious note, when the emotions subsided, I felt disappointed that I didn’t come first after all. But there was a big group of Lithuanians nearby who were very supportive from the beginning, so there was not much time for bad thoughts, we were on our way to celebrate the victory!What was your first hour after the victory like?
Is this your biggest poker achievement?
No, it’s not my biggest win, I had bigger wins in Spin & Go last year.
Do you have any advice you would like to share with other poker players?
I know it sounds corny, but I’ll give advice that has helped me individually. First of all, you have to have a lot of desire to become a successful poker player, and secondly, discipline. Be prepared to take on a lot of work, only with that will come success.
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