Where do you think your ceiling would've been if Black Friday never happened?
It's hard to say in a game like poker where anything can happen. When Black Friday happened I was playing Gus (Hansen) a lot on $500/$1,000 PLO Cap, and there was some $200/$400 and $300/$600 PLO running because Guy (Laliberte) was playing a little bit too. So basically if had ran hot I could've won a lot of money. The games were pretty good but I don't think they were as good as they are now. If it stayed how it was, the games would've still been good and I think I still would've been playing nosebleeds. It's so hard to really answer that question just because I've gone on huge heaters. Even after I played nosebleeds I had three months where I broke even and I considered myself a pretty big favorite in the games I was playing. So in poker it's impossible to guess what could happen.
Do you think this break you're taking now is a good way to recharge yourself for another long stretch of online poker?
I definitely don't think so to be honest. When I went to Canada about six months ago I had three brutal weeks to start with. It was crazy how bad I actually was and I ran bad as well, so that didn't really help. I could definitely tell that I was making mistakes, I noticed them but I wasn't really fixing them quickly. I just had problems adjusting and thinking quicker in between hands. I felt like I played a lot slower.
So you think you will have an edge quickly again on the biggest games if you would get back into it?
I don't know. The game definitely has switched on how a lot of people play it. I think I would still have an edge on the softer games but the hard games that do run have gotten harder. The fish on the high stakes are fishier than they used to be. I mean, fish are fish but there are slightly more now on the high stakes.
Let's say you could play from your location right now. Would you want to jump into a game with players like Durrrr and Isildur1 or can you put your ego aside and start out on lower stakes or would the urge to play be too big?
I definitely have the urge but I probably wouldn't. It really depends though on what game is running for the most part. It's obviously nice to play but if I don't feel confident enough I probably won't.
In an earlier interview you said that you might have the most money stuck on Full Tilt Poker of any poker player. Now that the DOJ has made a deal would you be willing to give us a little more insight on how much you are actually waiting on?
I rather not say the exact amount because I'm not 100% positive on that. From what I've heard only one person could have more money on there. That kinda sucks and if I don't get that money you will not see me at the Nosebleeds again. Unless I run really hot of course, and if I get the money back I will almost certainly be back on the Nosebleeds again. It's a huge amount, but I don't want to say the exact amount.
Does that mentally hold you back, that you have all this money stuck that could help you play the games you were used to playing?
A little bit. I had a pretty bad mindset after Black Friday. For instance, I wasn't sure how long it was going to take to get the money back, if ever. I should have just immediately tried to move and play, which was the smart thing to do. I was also thinking, if I move and play I need to get staked in order to play the stakes I was used to playing. My hourly win rate would be way lower and I figured there wasn't going to be that much action, but not moving was a mistake anyways. I should've just gotten into the games immediately because no matter what, it's always good to know, and very valuable, to know how people are playing. I don't want to say, that because I didn't have my Full Tilt money that I didn't play, it's more my own laziness. I also thought that the lower win rate would make it almost not worth it to move, but that of course is not the case. I was just being extremely lazy.
Do you think that in the long run it's costing you even more than just the time but also practice and money?
Yeah definitely. It was just the fact that I was looking at my hourly before and what I could be making after. That was a lot lower but of course I was also missing out on a lot of practice. It's huge to basically stay in shape for poker. Before Black Friday I played poker every day for five years straight. I feel that even if you would take a one, two or three-day break that it hurts your game. The more you do it, the better you get, and the more consistent you get at it.
Would the money being released be an immediate motivation to move to Canada quickly to play?
If I get the money I would pretty much want to move right away. Even if I did get the money I would probably not play the highest stakes for a month or so anyway. But it would definitely want to get me more involved in poker.