And so it turned out. Eighteen players joined battle in the final, which was staged in an unusual format: alternate rounds of pot limit seven-card Stud with no-limit Hold 'em. These are two very different types of game, both in pace and style. Hold 'em is a shoot-from-the hip, all-action game. Seizing the initiative is the key to it. Stud requires a more analytical, card-reading approach, because so much more information about the hands is revealed.
"Aidan plays in a lot of gears," a friend explained. "He can play in a very easy, jokey way. Or he can stare down an opponent and frighten him half to death."
When the final came down to nine players, the game reverted to no-limit Hold 'em only. Three players were left in at the dinner break (which, as you would expect in Paris, is a serious five-course repast): Bennett from Dublin, fellow Irishman Mike Magee who plays in London, and Hungarian Tibor Tolnai, a big winner on the European circuit. Tolnai made his exit when he tried a "steal" with Q-10 and ran into Magee's A-K.
The heads-up encounter was settled when Bennett went over the top with an 8-8 against Magee's A-9 off-suit - near enough a 50-50 chance. There is always an element of luck in these shoot-outs. On the night, it went 37-year-old Bennett's way.
In a few jousts I have had in club games with the champion-to-be, what struck me most strongly was his aggressive betting and devil-take-it attitude when his play went wrong, as it quite often did. I recall in particular a hand of Omaha when it went right for him.
I raised with the fabulous hand of A-A-K-J and Bennett re-raised on something like 5-7-8-10, which figures to hit at least something on the flop.
Sure enough, he picked up two small pairs and went all-in. My flush draw (which kept me in) failed to hit and my aces stayed bare. Good players make their own luck.Reuse content