We’ve had a lot of discussions about the WSOP lately and how some believe the format should be changed to a league or ranking system for qualification. We aren’t disputing that whoever lifts this title this year will be a good poker player however do you agree that with more and more participants every year, luck is going to play a bigger part in deciding who wins it. What are your views on this?
A lot of the appeal of the World Series of Poker is that anybody can win. If there was a ranking system, the event would not be the same. Luck is a factor in tournaments and it always will be. I cannot think of one champion who did not get lucky a few times in their road to victory.
How do you manage to concentrate 8 hours a day on odds, your opponents, the cards, with the least distraction possible? Focus is one of the most important characteristics a successful player should have. It is a struggle for me to pay attention, but I do what I can to keep myself in the game at all times. If my mind starts to wander, I remind myself how important it is to pay attention. Once in a while, I have to get up and take a walk. A ten-minute break from the table can do wonders.
When you were rising up through the ranks of poker, who was your inspiration? There are a few tournament poker players that are great. Phil Ivey, Ted Forrest, Daniel Negraneu are just a few of them. I might like a move they made in a certain situation, but I wouldn’t say that any of them inspire me. I am inspired by my best friend and mentor. Many people might not even know his name, but he is the most well rounded poker player I know. He knows how to play all the games well, but more importantly, he knows what it takes to be a great poker player. He knows that it is what you do when you are away from the table that sets you apart from the other players. He taught me how to manage my bankroll, what I should do to prepare for a tournament, and how it is not about the “big score.” He taught me the valuable lessons that you don’t see on television.
Some like to have players that don’t know much about smart play at the tables because they are easy money. Some think that people who play too reckless ruin the game because they can hit with rags that you could never put them on. And when reckless people travel in packs you have no shot. If you were at a table with 9 seats, of the 8 remaining seats how many would you have that play smart and how many would you have that play reckless?
I would sit at a table with eight people who are reckless. If there are only two people who play badly on your table, then the six remaining players usually split up the two people’s money. If there are eight idiots at the table, then the money is yours for the taking. I know the dynamics of the games will change and it will be frustrating, but if you could sit in a game with eight clowns every time you play poker, you should make a bundle.
Do you often run into situations where men either think they can roll over you and not take you seriously, or don’t even want you at their tables? Absolutely, but it works to my advantage most of the time. When I first started playing poker, I used to use the “woman” thing all the time. I would be able to pick up extra bets in a variety of ways. Sometimes, a player might want to run over the “girl” and they would play recklessly. Another player might be the gentleman type and check a hand that they should bet. All the bets added up to extra money earned. Things have calmed down a bit because a lot of players know who I am, but once in a while I still get an extra bet.
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