Stephen Chidwick Interview

Stephen Chidwick Interview

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Catching up with stevie444.

Just one look at Stephen ‘stevie444’ Chidwick’s Hendon Mob page is enough to turn any man green with envy. Not only is it stuffed full of six-figure cashes from tournaments all around the globe, but he truly seems to be appearing on just about every final table around recently (EPT Monte Carlo, Sanremo, AND Prague, anyone?!). We grab Stephen for a quick chat after his deep run in SCOOP Event #1-H.

Hi Stephen – congrats on the finish in SCOOP Event #1-H! You came 12th for a very respectable $23k – was it frustrating being a whisker away from the final table?

It is always frustrating to play for that long and bust before the FT, but you can't get that far without running really well in the first place so I am happy with the result.

Can you tell us a little about your tournament journey?

I had flown back home (England) from Monte Carlo for just a day to play the SCOOP kickoff on Sunday before my flight to South Africa the following day. It wasn't until midway through the session that I realised the tournament was a two-day one, and if I were to make it through the first day, I would miss my flight on the Monday. After noticing this I held off registering the other SCOOPs, because I wanted to be able to take the flight. However, I built quite a big stack in the early/mid stages of the tournament, so before long I registered everything and resigned myself to likely having to push the flight back a day… one of those good problems to have.

I hovered around the top end of the leaderboard for most of the tournament but lost a few big hands with three tables left and was in need of a double. A good opportunity came when my good friend Elio Fox opened with his big stack and I was able to reshove all in with 6-6 – unfortunately I ran into a higher pair, and wasn't able to spike my set to stay alive. I was happy Elio put my chips to good use and came away with a 3rd place finish.

You’re a bit of a veteran when it comes to the COOP series’ on PokerStars – what do you put your success down to? Do you treat them differently to regular online tournaments?

I don't play a ton of online tournaments, but I like to grind the COOP series when they come around. The big prize pools, accolades, great structures and elite competition really motivate me and I really enjoy playing the non-NLH variants. I don't treat them differently to other tournaments, but I guess if I do better it might be because I have pretty good endurance. I can play the long hours that they require with a high level of focus and without tilting.

You’ve also had a TON of success in live tournaments this past year. Do you prefer playing online or live?

At the moment I am preferring playing live. I am sure running well plays a big role in that, but I also enjoy that live poker is a much deeper and more complex game. There is much more information to take into account and playing only one table at a time with no time pressures allows a much higher level of play in my opinion. You can really study your opponents and make very specific adjustments to each one that just isn't possible playing online.

How are you ending up on just about every EPT final table? Is it something you’re eating? (Because we want some).

I wish I had discovered the secret, and could tell you I am going to cash every EPT I play from now on, but being lucky plays the biggest role in any extended run of tournament success. I would like to think I am playing well and I do love everything about the EPTs. I think they are run extremely well with great structures, short days, the best dealers and tournament staff in the business, and amazing locations. I love to travel and play them and the Main Event always motivates me to put everything I have into playing my best. Hopefully I can continue to do so next season and run good enough to close one out.

Speaking of EPT final tables, you managed a 7th place finish in the Grand Final High Roller amidst a star-studded final table. Is it tough to find an edge with such a high concentration of pros in events like this?

I had really tough tables for the majority of this tournament, but I do think there is an edge to be had if you play well. Just because your opponents are pros, doesn't mean they will all be playing their A-game. I just focus on playing as well as I can and when I run into tough competition it is both a great opportunity to learn and improve and also to test my skills against people who will pick apart any weaknesses that show.

What’s been the proudest finish you’ve had over the last year? Why?

It would have to be my 4th place finish in the $25k 6max at the WSOP last year. It was an incredibly tough tournament and it felt great to make a deep run against the very best in the world. I also was given a couple of compliments during this tournament from players that I have a huge amount of respect for which probably were prouder moments for me than any individual tournament result.

You beasted the World Series in 2013. What are your plans for this year?

I'm planning to do what I have done for the last four years and play every single day, from the first event to the last – and try as hard as I know how to get that first bracelet under my belt.

Tags: Stephen Chidwick, stevie444, SCOOP