Chip leader during Day 5 of the World Series of Poker Main Event is a label Eric Froehlich can add to his list of accomplishments. Two bracelets and $2.3 million in live earnings dot Froehlich’s poker resume, but a cash in the biggest tournament in the world was missing until this year. Since he started coming to the World Series in 2005, Froehlich says he’s never managed to win the correct all-in to build a stack.
The tides are turning in 2018. Entering Day 6, with only 109 players remaining from the original field of 7,874, Froehlich sits north of five million in chips — well above the average stack of 3.6 million going into Tuesday.
Froehlich takes nothing for granted when it comes to the Main Event. An understanding of the mistimed luck and the length of the tournament keep Froehlich from starting talk of the final table.
Variance finally swinging his way
“Obviously the Main Event is the biggest and best tournament,” Froehlich told USPoker on Monday. “That said, it’s still just a tournament and there’s a lot of variance. I’ve played this event a lot of times and the fact of the matter is that I’ve never put all the money in, gotten called, and won. That involves me getting it in very far ahead in a lot of those instances.”
Per Froehlich, he lost “several flips” over the years and lost his final all-in 12 of 14 times when he put his chips in ahead of an opponent. Only one all-in popped up for Froehlich so far in this year’s tournament and it wound up being a chop for both players holding pocket kings.
The reference to not being all-in has been on the mind of Froehlich. “In that way, I feel very fortunate that I’ve been able to pick up a lot of chips without having to put my life at risk,” he said. “Obviously, I’ve run very well. I think that as you play this event more and more times, you get better at playing these types of events.”
A new mindset
On the contrary to putting in a lot of time in tournaments, Froehlich’s life is back in the direction of where he started his gaming career. The Magic: The Gathering Hall of Famer works full time in the game and spends his year traveling for major events and creating content for channelfireball.com.
Time away from poker leads Froehlich to be in control of his mentals more than in prior years. This summer, Froehlich’s only other WSOP event was the $10,000 Limit Hold’em.
“There’s something to the fact that I haven’t done the entire grind this summer and that I’m very fresh coming into this Main Event,” Froehlich told USPoker.com. “That is definitely a helpful thing. I do watch different poker things on TV and I do study the game but I don’t get to play very much.”
Thirty-eight cashes in the WSOP and summers spent in the Rio are replaced by a stable home life for the 34-year-old. A year of marriage brings a calm to Froehlich’s head that did not exist in years prior. The shift in positivity Froehlich credits for the balance required to run through the Main Event marathon.
On Day 5, Froehlich was stable at his TV table that included fellow big stack Barry Hutter. He didn’t let any emotion slip whether he won or lost a pot. One hand won’t make the difference in the seven-day tournament and Froehlich is aware of the bigger picture outside of poker than ever before.
“Having that stability and positive things to come home to is a plus. I’m not someone that believes that if you believe good things will happen to you, they will. I think that’s kind of nonsense. But, if you’re not distracted by the negatives in the world, it makes easier to focus on what’s happening and make the best decisions.”
Two full days remain for Froehlich to lock up a seat at the final table and at least $1 million. Froehlich estimates he’s played at least 50 hours of poker to make this stage of the tournament and the composure utilized to stay level will be required even more as the stakes rise.
“At no point have I had less than 30 big blinds and there was no point to ever panic. That hasn’t always been my mindset in the past. It’s easy to make something happen instead of letting it come to you. Just having that emotional stability to sit there and wait and do the right things and not get into your head is something that I’ve failed at in the past.”