Ashley Mason aka DYBYDX
Friday, 31 August 2012
Adam 'Snoopy' Goulding catches up with Ash Mason who is being tipped as UK poker’s next big star.
How did you get started, Ash?
I got started by playing SNGs for pocket money with my mates. We were all terrible, but I always seemed to cash. I won more often than anyone else, which disillusioned me into thinking I was good, and so poker stuck in my mind as something I could make money at.
I eventually found my way into online poker and very slowly improved over a few years at the cost of my Saturday job wages. I met a guy at university who showed me some Phil Galfond videos that changed the way I looked at poker, and it went from there.
We read that your goal for 2012 was to play more, and always your A-game. Has that happened?
I’ve probably been playing a little more but still have a way to go before I’m grinding the volume I was a couple of years ago. I struggle massively with consistency; playing my best at all times is something I’m finding difficult to master, but I’ve definitely improved.
2011 was a year of big results for you. How did you deal with winning 180k?
[Ash came second in the Sunday Million for $180,000]
I got really drunk, often, and it was great fun! Having a relatively small bankroll and then suddenly winning 180k makes you feel invincible, and you don’t believe you can go broke because it’s more money than you know what to do with.
I played a few live tournaments and spent the summer at the Series in Vegas, none of which went very well, and before I knew it I didn’t have much of my 180k left. I certainly did not spend it wisely.
Tell us about the day you won $430K…
[In September 2011, Ash won $430,000 in a WCOOP event.]
Everything seemed to fall into place that day. Most of my bluffs worked and whenever I got a big hand people thought I was bluffing and paid me off. As in any tournament there were ups and downs, but I was fortunate enough to have a healthy stack approaching the bubble and managed to make a super-aggressive style work for me until we reached the money.
I won a couple of crucial flips on the final table and got lucky against a tough opponent, which put me in a great spot to go on and win. When the final card fell and the congratulations message popped onto the screen, it felt so surreal.
What are your thoughts on the recent FTP/PokerStars news?
PokerStars are my heroes. I missed Full Tilt Poker so much after Black Friday; it was my favourite site. I can’t wait to get back onto the sick software and make my donkey avatar look confused again.
With MTTs, the variance is so great that I’m not sure how Full Tilt’s absence can really account for a dip in my results, but I certainly feel like I’ll be winning more when it returns. I managed to withdraw all my money before Black Friday, but I wish I hadn’t in a way as it would be nice to have a lump of cash waiting for me when I log in.
How was your WSOP?
My WSOP was better than last year, but still not great. It’s progress at least, and all it takes is one score. This time I stayed with a group of guys including John ‘bankov’ Eames, David ‘lildave’ Nicholson, James ‘cueball’ Dempsey, Dan ‘strapon’ Carter, John ‘middy’ Spinks, and Matt ‘Y-I’ Frankland – it was a lot of fun and we had a massive legend called Tommy driving us around and cooking meals for us.
In the event in which he came second, Neil Channing regaled us with a hand in which you made him fold aces. Can you elaborate?
Neil raised the button and I defended the big blind with Ac8c. The flop came something like Qs6c4h and he continuation-bet. I thought my ace-high was good against his range – especially as he’d check a lot of medium pairs for pot control – so I flat-called. The turn came another queen and we both checked, leading to a jack river. Now Neil bet about half the pot.
Given that he checked the turn, he either has a good hand on the flop that didn’t like the second queen, or he had nothing on the flop and was giving up on the turn. My hand looks weak so he could be bluffing with air, or betting a bluff that has now paired the jack.
Either way, it’s unlikely he has a queen as he didn’t fire the turn, so I check-raised thinking that he’s a good player who’s capable of reading hands well enough to give me credit for a queen. He thought for a while before folding, and I breathed a silent sigh of relief.
How important is live poker to you?
Live poker is crucial. You can grind out a steady living online, but the big money, the glory and the prestige come from winning big live tournaments. I once heard someone refer to them as “a satellite to a better life” and I think that’s a great way of putting it.
It does require some adjustment, playing live compared to online, and it took me quite a while to get used to the different style you have to play, but I really feel like I’m getting there now.