The 2015 World Series of Poker Europe continued in Berlin, Germany, Thursday with Day 2 of Event #6: €3,250 No-Limit Hold'em.
PokerNews was on hand for all the action and will be in Berlin for the duration of the 17-day series. As a part of our coverage, that is brought to you by 888poker, we will be bringing readers a special "888 Hand of the Day" every single day throughout the entire WSOP Europe schedule.
Play began Thursday with 69 of the 256-player field remaining in Event #6 and plans to play down to a final table. Long Island, NY's Alex Rocha started with around 90,000 in chips, but after the first two levels of play, he had rocketed up close to 300,000 and into the chip lead.
While his meteoric rise including a ton of small pots picked up along the way, he did manage to make kings hold in a tough spot to bust one dangerous foe, making that particular pot the 888 Hand of the Day.
With blinds at 1,000/2,000 and a 300 ante in Level 14, it folded to Rocha in middle position. He looked down at the and decided to come in for a raise. The player in the cutoff seat, with a stack of around 20 big blinds, made the call, and the flop fell .
Rocha checked and his opponent bet 5,000.
"We had been kind of tangoing," he told PokerNews. "He was kind of sticky and obviously I have a strong hand here. I had kind of put my tail between my legs against him a couple of times before, so I wanted to give him a little wiggle room.
"I don't want to fold him out too often, so I checked. I thought check-raising was better than betting here because I don't want to fold out what I thought a decent part of his range was. I was even close to check-calling, but he was just so sticky that he may want to get it in there with a lot of pairs worse than kings."
Rocha check-raised to 13,000 and his opponent made the call, leaving himself little more than a pot-sized bet behind. The turn brought the and a set for Rocha.
"I could have considered checking," Rocha said. "But I don't want him to realize his equity in position, especially with two flush draws out there now."
Rocha pushed in for what was effectively all of his opponent's remaining 20,000. His opponent called it off with the the , having flopped two pair and turned a diamond flush draw, only to find out the was not a good card for him.
The river bricked out and Rocha's set of kings held, sending his opponent to the rail, giving him close to 300,000 chips and 888 Hand of the Day honors.
Coming back from the first break of the day in the top spot on the chip counts, Rocha said he plans to keep his foot on the gas going forward.
"A lot of it was just small pots, opening a lot, c-betting, barreling, and just chipping away," he said of how he built the chip lead. "Now I'm not going to start opening 8-3 off or anything, but I'm going to continue to play my game and applying pressure where need be.
"It's getting interesting. I would like a bracelet. But I know that it's a long way off and there's still a lot of work that needs to be done. I just need to stay focused and keep building, because you need every chip to win and that's my plan."
As the 2015 WSOP Europe rolls on, be sure to stay tuned to PokerNews for continued coverage, including regular 888 Hand of the Day articles.