Ben Wilinofsky Interview

Ben Wilinofsky Interview

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Talking regret tilt, Vegas and multi-accounting suspicions.

Would you be happy you came 6th in the SCOOP Main Event for $280k, or disappointed that you didn't finish higher for more? What if you suspected that someone else on the final table was a multi-accounter? Ben 'NeverScaredB' Wilinofsky spills the beans on his big score.

Congrats - how are you feeling?

Emotions are definitely mixed. I felt like I punted in a couple of spots. I also ran very poorly at the final table in a lot of ways, but obviously ran very well to get there. I'm most upset at myself because I felt like I let the nerves get the best of me. I didn't sleep well before day two, and I didn't take my time with a couple of complex spots at the final table. Overall, I'm happy with most of my play over the two days, and I'm going to try and learn what I can from my mistakes, but to have the chip lead with 6 or 7 left and not close is going to be bothering me for a while.

You said “I think my balls might be too big to make a deal” and then you busted – is that what you were talking about when you Tweeted you were “Unbelievably mad at myself right now”?

No, I think not making the deal was fine. I was mad at the stuff I said above, not taking my time with a couple of spots and making decisions wrong.

Hindsight is a bitch... What was your tournament journey like overall?

It was mostly pretty fun. Playing well structured, deep-stacked tournaments is exciting. I made a couple of really big hero-calls correctly, built my stack up well, and felt like I made a lot of good decisions. Like I said, a couple I'd like to have back, but that happens all the time. I've got to try to use it to get better.

You're someone who's written about your mentality towards poker - how do you personally bounce back from regret tilt, or is it something you struggle with?

It's something I struggle with. I had a really bad night yesterday. I was physically wretching. I think anxiety makes me carry regrets with me far after they have exhausted their useful life as teaching tools. I need to learn to cope with that if I'm going to keep doing this, because right now it's costing me both money and quality of life.

That leads me on to my next question. A few months back you wrote a piece for Bluff Europe about taking a hiatus from poker in order for the good of your happiness and sanity. Are you back playing regularly now?

I don't know. The past three weeks have been... interesting. I was excited to play and I had some success. But yesterday had a lot of positive and negative mixed in and I don't really know if I can do that on a regular basis.

Regardless of disappointment, you're now $280k richer - what is that money going to go on?

I haven't really thought about it. A couple of years back I started picking up pieces of art whenever I had a six figure score. I guess if I see one around that I like I will pick it up.

So your art collection basically represents your poker trophy cabinet?

There's overlap, and there's not. I have a couple of pieces that I just liked and bought. I also move around a lot, so I don't really have a place to put it all where I can enjoy it. I was thinking I might get a nice engagement ring or gown for my fiancee, because that's something that can come with us wherever we go.

Are you a traveller at heart, or is that a part of being a professional poker player that you're less fond of?

I'm not a traveller at heart. I'm tired of it, to be honest. I would like a place of my own. But I have a little more travelling to do yet. My fiancee goes back to school for one more semester, and I'll be with her. And then we have to go some place warm after she graduates, because two Boston winters is enough to drive anyone insane, and I have a shorter drive than most. But I look forward to having a place on my own, with my art on the walls, and my dog nearby, and some regularity in my life.

Are you going to Vegas this year?

Maybe. I had plans to play the main event but I don't really care much for Vegas.

Are there too many distractions from poker for you there, or is it the location itself?

I don't get distracted, it's the opposite. I don't find anything enjoyable about Vegas. It's a soulless city built on grifting money from people, populated by hustlers and visited by materialists. It's tolerable because I get to see friends I haven't seen in a while, and play a pretty fun poker tournament. Other than that there's nothing there for me.

Arguably there always has to be someone losing in poker for people like you to be successful. Given how you feel about Vegas, does that ever bother you?

No, that's not the kind of hustler I mean. I think poker is a very equitable game. Everyone knows the rules when they sit down, and everyone knows everyone else's intentions. I think it gets murky if someone has a legitimate gambling addiction, but other than that I think poker is one of the purest forms of social contract we can engage in for money. I think things like trading and politics are far more vulnerable to unfair manipulation than a game like poker.

In that vein, how big of a problem would you say are things like multi-accounting and ghosting at the moment online?

That is a very pertinent question given how the final table played out.

Could you elaborate?

The player who went into the FT as chip leader had played 12 tournaments lifetime at an ABI of $479. I don't know who he is, but I'd love to find out.

How hard is it to detect 'foul play' in that respect, and is it difficult to be certain?

It's extremely difficult to be certain, which is the biggest problem in preventing it. Unless someone is physically in the room watching it happen, there's very few ways to prove it 100%. There are a few things that are better indicators than others, but I'm not going to get into those and give aspiring multi-accounters a better idea of what mistakes they need to avoid.

Fair enough. To round off, what's coming up for you at the moment?

The summer in Vancouver. I've had a good couple of weeks but I need to decompress after yesterday. It's beautiful outside and I want to see friends and enjoy the weather while it lasts. I have a few wedding this summer, and Vegas, so I get to see a lot of people I don't see that often. Looking forward to it thoroughly.

Tags: Ben Wilinofsky, NeverScaredB, SCOOP Main Event