Benjamin "Spraggy" Spragg: "To Play a $25k Live Was Huge For Me!"
Benjamin "Spraggy" Spragg might be wearing the PokerStars Team Pro Online patch, but don't make the mistake of thinking he's feeling right at home in a tournament with a buy-in of $25,000. Part of Team Online because of his popular Twitch stream, Spragg plays an average buy-in of $30 online. So to all of a sudden take a seat in a $25,000 High Roller was quite the change of pace for the amicable Brit.
"I play anything up to $215, maybe the odd $530, but that's as big as it gets. So to play a $25k live was huge for me!"
Spragg got his seat in the PokerStars Players Championship after having given away multiple Platinum Passes on the stream. Giving away passes is fun, but getting to play yourself is even better. "PokerStars said 'Hey, all these community people are going to be involved, let's get you involved here as well.' So that was great!" Spragg said.
It was Spragg's first-time at the PCA, and since $25,000 events aren't exactly his bread and butter, you can bet he was excited. "I played some $1Ks way back in the day, but I'm on Team Pro Online because I'm a twitch streamer. People see the stakes I play; I play anything up to $215, maybe the odd $530, but that's as big as it gets. So to play a $25k live was huge for me."
While Spragg was new to playing in an event with a buy-in this big, he wasn't all too nervous.
"I was excited but not nervous. It did not feel like a $25K just because of the atmosphere."
"I felt ok. I was excited but not nervous. It did not feel like a $25K just because of the atmosphere. There are very old-school players who came out for this, and there are people who don't know the rules of no-limit hold'em who came out for it. And then there are the top pros from around the world. It's a fun atmosphere. I think it's the best thing to happen to poker for a very long time."
The excitement was in the air as it was clear quite early on that the event was going to be big. The excitement was in the air because the field was so good; full of players who don't usually play these. "Obviously, with the Platinum Passes [in the field] [...] you're gonna end up having an edge over some part of the field."
Day 1 didn't go as planned for him. "Day 1 started really rough; I just could not win a pot. I went down to 15,000 in chips and was all in for twenty big blinds with nines to sevens and managed to find a double."
Spragg survived Day 1 with 43,000 in chips, under the starting stack. "I would've been better out in the water slides late regging Day 2!"
The second day of the event was much better for the Team Pro Online: "Day 2 started really well, I went from 43,000 to 110,000. I had Tonka [fellow streamer Parker Talbot] on our table, so that was a nice break!"
Spragg ended Day 2 with 115,000 in chips. With 207 players returning for Day 3 and 181 in the money, 26 players would still go empty-handed. Spragg was just praying he wouldn't be one of them. All went well early on in Day 3, but on the bubble, things got a bit more tense. "When it got to hand-for-hand, I thought 'Ok I'm alright' as there were a load of short stacks. But then nobody busted; hand-for-hand kept going and going and going.
"It was really nerve-wracking as I had just paid my big blind and would be forced all in on the next big blind."
"I was barely in my seat during the bubble. I was up pacing, checking out other tables, trying to find out where the shortstacks were - who was gonna be all in. It was really nerve-wracking as I had just paid my big blind and would be forced all in on the next big blind."
Besides the fact that, for Spragg, it was $25,450 or nothing since he was in it for free, there was the fear of shame if he would end up bubbling. "The last thing I wanted was to be that direct bubble boy. Because of the Twitch chat; imagine me walking out of here as the bubble boy, I would never be hearing the end of it. But we got there. It was a massive relief!
Not only did "Spraggy" cash, but he also ended up leveling up a pay jump as people busted left and right when the tournament got in the money. Spragg took home $35,000 for his three days of play.
Parlaying his cash into shots at even bigger fortune is not Spragg's intention. "Not this week I don't think. I'm flying out Friday, as was always the plan. I might put a little in bigger stuff online; I might take some bigger shots on the stream. We'll see how it pans out."
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Though Spraggy is no longer participating, you can follow the rest of the PSPC event on the PokerNews live updates page.