Alex Lindop Interview
Friday, 31 July 2015
Meet one of UK poker's rising stars.
At 25, Stoke’s Alex Lindop has been getting it quietly in the PLO cash games for years, but now he’s been thrust into the limelight by his victory in the $1.5k NLH event, and he’s loving every minute of it.
Congratulations, Alex. We'll get your bracelet in a bit, but first, tell us about the rest of the series. How's it been going for you?
I had a night out a couple of nights after I got here, and played four poker tournaments. The one I got the result in was my fifth. I've been playing cash mostly, that's what I came over here for. I normally just play cash and maybe a couple of tournaments, but no more than four or five whenever I come over. PLO cash is what I come over here for mostly.
So cash games are your bread and butter?
Yes, I have made money from tournaments online, though. If I had to choose one game, maybe not now but before the bracelet (laughs), I'd have definitely said cash games, heads up and 6-max PLO, mainly heads up. I've played everything really, though. NL HU, NL 6-max, PLO heads up, PLO 6 max, tournaments. But I'd say PLO is my main game.
How is the atmosphere out there? Do you hang around with the UK contingent? Are you cheering each other on?
Yes, I know a few of them but not that many, really. I know Steve Warburton and them boys but I don't travel around and play that much live poker so I don't really get to speak to them that much. They meet online, playing tournaments, and on the forums. Like I say, I don't play that many tournaments and I don't go on forums. Most of my friends don't play poker.
Is that a good thing? Keeps your head straight sometimes?
Definitely. If you're surrounded by crazy bore poker players all the time you lose perspective on things. I'm surrounded by my mates who've got normal jobs. Don't get me wrong, I know many poker players and speak to plenty. Most poker players, their friends are poker players. Most of my friends aren't poker players.
Tell us about the bracelet tournament. What were the key moments for you?
There was a big bluff I did on Day 2, a bit before the money. If that had gone wrong I'd have been out. I can't really remember any massive crucial pots. There were a couple of key pots at the final table. Everything is a key pot then, of course.
I felt really in the zone. Obviously, I've run well. You can't get there without winning a flip along the way. But I felt mega in the zone. I felt like I didn't make a mistake for the whole of the final table. On Day 2 I can't remember any hands where I made a really bad play or bad call or anything like that.
Obviously, you're going to get a few bits and bobs but there weren't any pots where I got super lucky. It was mostly just chipping up. I can't remember any really huge pots that really put me there apart from one at the final table.
Jamie Gold was at your final table. What did you make of him? Did you tangle with him at all?
He was (laughs). To be honest, I think he's quite bad at poker. He's quite a crazy player. Obviously the money doesn't mean anything to him, really. If there's any player at the table who's willing to put you to the test or make a crazy play against you, he's the guy.
He had position on me all day. The plan was to stay out of the way of him and hopefully get a hand against him and he'd probably pay me off. I was on his table on Day 2 and he didn't seem like he wanted to fold anything to me in any hand. The game plan was to play solid against him. Try and pick up pots against other people and hope he'd spew off, which he did do, but not to me.
What does the bracelet mean to you?
It means everything. I remember, when I was ninth out of 37, thinking, if I don't make the final table then I'm going to be gutted. Then when I got to the final table I was, like, I’ll hopefully make top four, then see what happens from there. Then when it got to top four, I just wanted to win the bracelet. The money is obviously amazing but I'd much prefer the bracelet. The jump between second and first isn't going to change that much really compared to having the bracelet which is what I wanted and what everyone dreams about really.
We saw your dad was singing your praises in the Stoke Sentinel newspaper this week…
My dad was loving it. On top of the world!
Have your parents always been supportive?
Yes. I can remember days when I was just turned 18 and they thought it's a bit sketchy and all that. By the time I was 19 I was making more money than I was going to make in most jobs. They realised I was going to give it a go. By the time I was 20 I knew this was what I was going to do. I wasn't going to get a job making the money I was making. I just carried on from that.
Tell us about your poker education.
A couple of my friends played on a site called Pitbull Poker. A group of about 10 of us played against each other using play chips. They used to do these freerolls, basically the best freerolls on the internet. It was $5, $6, $7 for first place. Other sites' freerolls had 5,000 runners whereas Pitbull had maybe 500.
Most of my mates broke away from playing. A couple of us carried on playing these freerolls. I won a couple of freerolls in a month for $15. So I started playing $1 SNGs and just built it from there. I got to $200, put it on a different site and it went on from there.
I've never really had anyone I've talked strategy with that much, not back then, anyway. I never went on forums or anything like that. I learnt by analysing hands myself. If there were hands that confused me, I would sit and think about them until I had the right answer. That's always been the way I've gone about it.
I've obviously watched poker on TV. You don't realise that you learn from stuff like that. I remember watching High Stakes Poker when I was 17. That was probably the kickstart to give me an idea of how to play certain hands.
You're not one of those annoying people who never had to redeposit after winning a freeroll?
I am one of those annoying people (laughs)!
Good for you! Weren't you also a big victim of Black Friday and the Full Tilt fiasco?
Yes, I was. It was just before I went to Vegas and I was 21. I was playing $25/$50 online. For about a month before coming away I messaged Full Tilt every day saying can I get my money. They said there's a problem with the wire transfer. I was none the wiser. I remember going to Vegas and planning in my head that I was going to play some pretty games but ended up playing small stakes the whole trip and being a bit gutted.
I remember coming back from Vegas, playing the same games I was usually playing online then two days after I got back it went down. I had about 99% of the money in my life online. I was a bit up shit creek really.
It must have been devastating….
Definitely. I don't want to have to feel that again. Not good.
Did you get it back?
I got it all back. I ended up getting my mate to lend me some money. Then I started grinding. I went from playing $25/$50 to 25c/50c. I had a break for about a week as I was that tilted then started grinding 50c/$1 again. In my head I thought it wasn't coming back. I thought I'm better off being realistic.
Do you feel like you're representing the UK when you're out there?
It feels good to be able to win a bracelet for the UK definitely, without a doubt.
Our readers are in desperate need of advice. Can you give them some tips? What mistakes do you see people making frequently in tournaments, for example?
That's a tough one. I come from a cash game background, playing a lot of NLHE and 6-max, deep-stacked. My post-flop game is better than most people's. Most people underestimate the importance of post-flop play and become obsessed with stack sizes and that type of thing. I think the most important thing is post-flop play. If you're in short stack games then that's what dictates it, but people don't put enough work into post-flop. They focus too much on short-to-medium-stack play and worrying about what hands to shove and ranges.