Ivar “Ivar3000” Bruvoll Vamråk is a well-known player within the Norwegian poker community. He is always a fun player to have at your table and at the same time he knows his poker very well.
The latter he proved on Sunday when he managed to win a Coolbet Open package worth €1200 in the Weekly Final satellite on Coolbet.com. And he even did it without spending a single euro!
Ivar started out by playing the daily Coolbet Open freerolls and won a ticket to Step 1. From there he won a ticket to Step 2 and all of a sudden he was ready to play for a package.
With a bit of luck at the end he also cleared that hurdle – all within a week!
Ivar also played the last Coolbet Open in October and really liked the event. He is really looking forward to coming to Tallinn again in May – if his new job allows him – and he advices everybody to try to qualify for the event like him.
In fact, he has even been so kind to give his advice on how to maneuver through the different steps. So here is Ivar’s advice for you to win a Coolbet Open package:

1: Freeroll
The freerolls run every day at 17 and 19 CET and you can qualify for the daily Step 1. You start with very little chips and have to try to double early to get a chance. Many players are doing this and go all-in in the first hand, so if I get a good starting hand, I would just throw myself into the pot and hope for a good start. If I miss, then no worries, just wait for the next chance.
If I get a stack I can move around a bit and put pressure on the short stacks when I have a good hand to raise with. The level is not very high in these freerolls so if you manage to get a stack early on you will have good chances to build up and get far.
The structure is turbo so you cannot sit around and wait for the top hands to get a stack. You need to win some flips on the way to a ticket, maybe also some suck-outs, that is the only way.
There are 3 tickets guaranteed to Step 1 so it makes no difference if you have just one or all the chips at the end. Just focus on ending up being among the final 3.

2: Step 1 (4,40€)
This tournament runs daily at 19 and has a rather smaller field compared to the freerolls. The level is higher however.
Here you will meet three type of players: Those who qualified through freerolls, those who are playing for small stakes, and then you have the more experienced players who can see the value in qualifying to larger events for a small buy-in for just €4.40.
Here it is good to try and identify the weak players first. The freeroll qualifiers are often trying to double up quickly meaning they are loose cannons and playing all sorts of hands. The small stakers are often playing tight and you don’t need to put them under a lot of pressure for them to fold. Generally, they are playing very honest, so if they do not hit anything on the board will they fold to a small c-bet.
And then there are the more experienced players. I know many of them from the poker clubs in Norway, they are playing a lot of these tournaments and some have an internal competition on who can qualify most times. It will help you to identify these players and write notes about them, so you know what you are up against. Many of these are very good players so play solid against them. They are not folding middle pair on a dry board, so if you have the goods will you get well paid, but if you bluff will you quickly run out of chips…
3 tickets are guaranteed in Step 1 so on the final table you need to play solid. If I have a lot of chips, I would apply a lot of pressure on the other players when you get to the bubble. Play often tightens up close to the bubble in a tournament, no matter of the size of the buy-in, so I put a lot of pressure on if I can.

3: Step 2 (24€)
This tournament is played at 20:30 from Monday to Saturday, on Sundays at 18. It starts basically after the end of the Step 1 satellite, so I jumped straight from Step 1 to Step 2 and was running good.
Now you are getting closer to the big prize so here you are up against good qualifiers and club players. You need to play solid so forget about going all-in with 100 big blinds and get called by A8 or something. Instead you need to build up a stack slowly.
There is only 1 ticket guaranteed here but there will be some re-buys so it can quickly end up with a second ticket as the Weekly Final is only €130. After a couple of hours with good cards and a bit of luck will you make it to the bubble and here it is important to be active. You should raise on the button and generally play the good hands, that is at least what I do. I always try to avoid ending up as the short stack because of passive play, I rather want to be active.

4: Weekly Final (130€)
Sundays at 20 CET. Here you will be up against very few bad players so you really need to play good poker in order to avoid getting eaten alive. I had to work hard for the chips and nothing came for free.
There were only 7 players at the start and there were two Coolbet Open packages guaranteed so I thought it would be fantastic value. However more players turned up during late reg and we ended up on 18 players.
I had a tough table, where one of the players was Jon Kyte who busted early but took a re-buy and got a big stack. I was far from being the table captain and got bad cards so I after a while I was down to a pushable stack.
I remember one hand where I pushed A9 in early position where the big blind was a weaker player who had less chips than me. This was very dangerous as I had to get 4 players to fold and if I get called would I be in bad shape.

Jon Kyte tried to isolate in the small blind, but the player in the big blind also called so I thought it would be over. Kyte had JJ and the big blind had A9 so not exactly a great call there, but…
Luckily an ace comes on the board and me and the big blind gets a nice part of Kyte’s stack. He was quickly to complain about sick draws on Messenger and not long after was he out.
There were two big stacks on the final table who were just stacking up so I tried to play tight and wait for them to take out the short stack and try to steal a few pots when the big stacks were not in the pot. Besides the two
packages were there also €240 for 3rd place.
All of a sudden we were only 3 players left and since I was sure to get €240 could I be more active. The chip leader had 50k, the second player had around 40k and I was the shortie with 17k.
And then to the final hands. I get QQ and raises against the player with 40k. He calls, the flop goes A-10-x, and I do a light c-bet as I am pretty sure that he does not have an ace since he just called my raise.
I put him on a 10 and believe that I will get paid off here. On the turn I just check to let him believe that he is best by calling. I cannot remember what cards were on the turn and river but I ended up winning quite a big pot and get past him.
Only a few hands later we clashed again. I get 77 in the small blind and raise, he goes all-in for his last 15k. Here I have to think a bit… Is he tilting? Does he have a premium hand or is it a flip? I end up calling and he has AA! “Well, that was not good”, I thought for half a second – until another beautiful 7 lands on the board, DING…
The package is mine, but a real bad beat ends up deciding it and a bit of bad conscience appears in the back of my head. Messenger says pling, got a message from the player I took out. It was a guy I knew, did not recognize his nick but he recognized me. He took it quite nicely, good man! He still won €240 so has a few chances to win a package next time, so I hope he will qualify next time, he is definitely good enough to make it.
But that’s it, I had managed to qualify for free, no rebuys, no nothing. I had to play freerolls for a few days before getting through, but I managed to go all the way within a week, so i
t is doable!

This was perhaps a long and strange story about my journey towards Coolbet Open with a bit of my own game theory added, so I expect that Coolbet will edit out a bit here, he-he.
No matter if you will try to qualify or just buy-in directly to Coolbet Open, I would just like to say that I have never experienced a better structure as in the Main Event. There was plenty of room to play and I just have to get back to improve my slightly disappointing 30th place from last time.
Vi floppes.
Ivar