Jordan Cristos is viewed by many as “the tanking guy” for taking quite a bit of time to make his decisions playing in non-shot-clock tournament events. Whenever Cristos’ name pops up, the association with his playing style is immediately made, but during the U.S. Poker Open, restricted by shot clocks in all events, Cristos doesn’t stand out.
Last night, Cristos took down Event #2 of the U.S. Poker Open inside the PokerGO Studio on Friday night for $179,200. This $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha tournament drew a total of 64 entries and immediately after the last card hit and Manig Loeser busted in second place, Cristos praised his opponents.
“The structure was turbo-ish and I feel like I didn’t out-skilled anyone here. There were 50 people in the field and I was probably the 44th best player, honestly.”
“It feels good to come out on top though. I don’t think I made many mistakes but I can’t really gauge whether or not I did because I’m no PLO expert, but I won so that’s good.”
About the shot clock during the U.S. Poker Open, which goes against his usual slow playing style, Cristos spoke positively even though he prefers to take a bit more time.
“It wasn’t that much different with the shot clock. I didn’t use any of my time extensions on Day 1 and I only used two today on the final table. So it wasn’t that big of a deal. I do think that in No Limit it is a bigger deal for me.”
“I’m thinking about things that I don’t think many other people are thinking about. I take a little extra time but in this structure, it’s not so bad. It’s kind of fit or fold, easy game, you know. No Limit, in my opinion, for me, is more challenging for me to come up with the best decisions. I’m a rookie here too so I should be taking a long time to figure stuff out, but I don’t know, maybe playing fast is the way to win, maybe I gotta do that!”
Cristos continued on why he tends to use more time than the average player, and without a shot clock in play, he’s very likely to fall back into his old habits.
“I feel like I need time more often. There are situations where I would like to take a little more time but I don’t want to just burn all my time extension to deliberate a check-raise turn bluff or something, so in this case, I’m more likely to fold right now. If there isn’t a clock I’d be more contemplative and precisely hit one of those spots but it cost everyone a few minutes a few times. But as long as I win that one crucial pot, who cares.”
Cristos was very happy with his win and late on Day 1 it already became evident how intensely the former World Poker Tour champion experiences tournament poker. Pacing around the room, taking notes on a piece of paper and looking intently at the tournament clock, Cristos was doing much more than just playing his hands in order to eke out every edge he could find. The shot clock might’ve been restricting his usual play but Cristos looked for other ways to get an edge.
“I was actively trying to monitor the short stacks to see if it was good to apply more pressure or whether I should slow things down.”
At the final table, Cristos dominated. On his way to the title, Cristos eliminated every single player even though Manig Loeser gave him some pushback.
“Manig came back after I had him two to one. I expected it to be a battle unless I just coolered him. He’s really good, he’s German, all of his friends are fantastic too. He doesn’t make any mistakes, and he didn’t, and at the end, we just got it in three times and I won two of them and that was pretty much it.”
Prior to his showing at the U.S Poker Open, we wouldn’t immediately associate Cristos with the high roller scene. Recent cashes by Cristos include a $1,100 Venetian event, a $3,000 WSOP circuit tournament and a $350 WPT event, but he wouldn’t want to miss a high roller series such as the U.S. Poker Open in his backyard.
“This event is right down the street from my house, and I love battling in these small elite fields. You’re going to play some hands in high pressure situations, there’s going to be a lot of thinking going, and it’s not like I’m showing up at the Venetian just raising 100% against Grandma and Grandpa. We’re playing chess over here, it’s a lot of fun compared to other tournaments although other tournaments are still fun.”
“It’s cool seeing all the faces you know and everyone battling each other, it’s a lot of fun.”
With the overall points lead in hand – for now until Stephen Chidwick and Sean Winter collect their points from the Event #3 final table – Cristos is extra motivated to keep playing all that lies ahead with the exception of the Short Deck and the Mixed Game event.
“I want to win the overall championship. If you do good the first two tournaments leading now might as well finish it out. There’s no reason to stop. It would be awesome to win this whole thing. I would love to have the trophies at home just stare at them every day for a year until it comes back again and be the U.S. Poker Open champion.”
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