– How much did you lose in the crypto and stocks last year?
– In total, I lost about $6 million.
– Who is the best cash player in the world at the moment?
– I don't follow high stakes online, so I don't have enough knowledge. But I am sure that it is, as usual, one of the European magicians.
– Would Negreanu from 2021 beat you from 2017? How would your match end if you were playing PLO or 8 game mix?
– The strategy is very much ahead of what I knew in 2017. But I think I would have found some exploits that I won't notice today. In PLO and 8-game in heads-up, I feel confident enough, so I wouldn't be confused either.
– I think it's necessary to call there. We discussed the deal with him even before it went on the air, and I immediately said that it was a call, without even knowing the result. But he still likes the fold. His hand is too high in his range to bet fold there
– Solvers are too complicated for me, and I can't afford expensive courses, how can I work on my game?
– Find players who find themselves in a similar situation and constantly discuss hands with them. Such conferences have helped a lot of players to soar over the limits. But if your goal is to play at a high level, at some point you will still have to learn how to work in software at least at the most primitive level. Without this, you will not be able to analyze your game.
– How quickly did you realize that you play poker very well?
– In 2008, I won the 2+2 award (https://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/69/online-no-limit-holdem-cash/2008-award-worst-2-2er-nl200-reg-ps-371994/) in the nomination "Worst Microlimit Player". I love this topic.
I then rushed into battle to defend my honor (https://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/showpost.php?p=7803543&postcount=7), lol
Seriously speaking, the first time I noticed that my strategy worked well was when I started playing long sessions. And the fact that I play really well, I realized already when I started climbing the limits in HUNL. When you find your game, you immediately notice it. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, the main thing is to quickly figure out their own.
– Have you thought about opening your poker room online?
– I don't consider online poker as a business option at all. Everything is very complicated there, the entry threshold is incredibly high and excellent software is needed.
– Will you ever resume the podcast?
– Perhaps in the future, but I will not name any specific dates.
– Do you think the moment has already come in Hold'em when the best players have reached the skill limit? Obviously, in the nineties and even the 2000s, any player had a lot of options for growth. And how is it now?
– I don't agree with that. Although it is clear that in the entire history of poker, we have not been closer to a perfect game than we are now. Let's assume that the ideal poker is X. 10 and 20 years ago we were infinitely far from this X. Now we have at least a general idea of what X is, but it is still incredibly difficult to reach this mark. Because of this, there will always be players who work better and more than others and have come a little closer to X competitors. The value of theoretical training has never been so high. It's impossible to become a world-class elite player if you don't work off the table for hours.
– Can poker still be considered a promising career option? Does it seem that the time needed here for success is better spent on development in other areas, for example, in business perhaps?
– I think it's possible, but it's getting harder every year. And this will always happen, as the strategy becomes more complicated, there are more and more strong players, and there are almost no outright fish left.
I have already said that poker is a great option to spin from 0 to $1 million. But further growth will require incredible luck, or you have to get into some incredible game. As soon as you earn a solid bankroll with poker, I would advise you to switch to more promising areas.
However, if you not only earn money by poker, but also enjoy it (as I have for many years), I see no reason to give it up. Life is too short, do what you like. Poker is a great game.
What is your current relationship with poker? From the outside, it always seemed that you did not want to limit your life to just a game.
– Relationships are difficult. I either completely surrender to the game, or I don’t want to hear anything about it at all. But now I have learned to play when I need it. I do it for the sake of advertising my room, for a training site, or to get useful contacts. I earn money in other ways, so I can play a little for fun. I no longer force myself to grind all day. If you have a feeling that you should do something else, then you should do it. I am completely satisfied with my current life balance.
Do you follow any special diet that allows you to be as productive as possible?
– I know people love to argue about this, but I don't have a clear opinion. I can only say that you should not exhaust yourself with diets during a tight grind, as you will quickly get tired. Try to follow the principles of a healthy diet, refuse junk food. If you do decide to go on a diet, do it only for your own health, and not in the hope that it will somehow improve your game.
What was the most important pot in your life?
– When I went all-in in the One Drop tournament in 2017. At the final table, my came up against . I doubled up, although I could have been eliminated 7th, and then I won the tournament.
What poker books do you recommend?
– I have incredible nostalgia for the books that were published by 2 + 2. I read all their books that I could get my hands on. I drove my father's wrecked minivan to the nearest bookstore and read them right there, since we didn’t have the money to buy them. Those were difficult times, but they helped me a lot to develop a general understanding of poker.
– What do you think about the state of modern heads-up in NL online?
– Almost everyone plays in a similar manner and in general the game is dying. There are still places where you can find some kind of action, some regulars even arrange battles among themselves, but this cannot be compared with the past times. But I would still advise seriously studying HUNL. This will give you a great base and will be useful in many other formats.
– Did you analyze your hand against Hellmuth, against ? Did you know that the solver approves of his push?
– I don't think he should be betting all-in there. This should not be in your strategy at all. He bets into two opponents, one of us could also have QT. I saw that Finding Equilibrium released a video, but it seemed like trolling to me.
– How to play small pairs in cheap cash games? I always limp to hit a set. One of the reasons is that the game is too loose, and the opponents still do not fold to raises.
– In weak compositions, this is quite acceptable. But keep in mind that always playing for a set, you will never win with your pairs preflop. If there was no action before you, I would advise you to play them like you would the strongest cards. In late position multiway pots, it's okay to limp, but sometimes you need to raise too.
– Has your opinion about the hand with J4 changed?
While streaming an expensive game at Hustler Casino, one of the strongest regulars was called with Jack-high, and now the entire poker world is trying to figure out what it was.
– At the height of this whole story, I had no doubt that she was cheating. I still lead toward that, but some events have seriously shaken my confidence. Most importantly, no one ever took the bounty (Haralabos Vulgaris, Tom Dwan and other players promised $250,000 to any person who would provide any evidence that there was foul play in Hustler). There are two smaller factors – the Hustler investigation turned up no evidence and Robbie passed the polygraph test – but they are not that important. I think this story will remain one of the mysteries of poker.
– What are your greatest strengths? Not necessarily in poker.
– I can put everything out of my head and focus on one thing if I'm really interested in it. This is what allowed me to work very hard and progress in poker. I didn't have an innate talent, it took many years before I became one of the strongest.
But this has its drawbacks. Sometimes it's hard for me to accept that I'm doing something just fine. I don't do well when I take on a lot of things at once, sometimes I don't have enough balance.
– Do you have hobbies besides poker?
– The main ones are health/sports and computer games. I'm looking forward to the new Zelda and Stormgate. I've always loved Warcraft 3, that's where I started. I also really like CounterStrike: GO with multi-level strategy.
My health has improved significantly over the past year, I have lost about 13 kg. I'm in the best shape of my life right now.
– Which of the modern players do you think a film could be made about?
– It seems to me that almost all of them live a boring and ordinary life. I'd rather watch a Doyle Brunson movie than a Jason Koon movie.
– Do you think we will see another bitcoin/crypto boom?
– We will see for sure, but it is difficult to say exactly when.
– Once upon a time, you were considered perhaps the best heads-up player. Why didn't we get to see you on the High Stakes Duel show?
– This is a Heads Up Sit N Go with a huge buy-in. My margin is 2%, I can invest no more than $100k on my own, and it’s too much complexity for a $2k wait.
– How do you make good acquaintances and get access to closed games, backing, and so on?
– It's enough just to behave normally at the table. Do not refuse to put straddles, do not play with headphones, communicate and joke around. It's harder for outspoken introverts, but it's enough to stay friendly with other players, sometimes show your hands after the hand and give a little more action. All this is not so difficult.
– If you could go back in time and tell yourself some exploit from 2010. What would you choose?
– It wouldn't be an exploit. I would advise you to use small bets on the flop more often and be ready to make huge overbets in pots with asymmetric value ranges.
– How do you deal with stress at the table?
– Just finish. Poker is not going anywhere. Don't play if you know you won't be able to play your A-game.