Chris Moorman: MTT Maestro
Tuesday, 18 August 2009
Chris Moorman, aka Moorman1 or MoormanI, is one of the UK’s most exciting and promising online tournament players. With almost $4 million in online tournament winnings over the past few years, Chris has established himself as a leading contender amongst the top online MTT players in the world.
He is the former number 1 ranked MTT player on PocketFives.com, and although now he currently sits in second place, he is closing in on that number 1 spot after his recent 2nd place finish in FTOPS Event #17, $322 NL Hold'em 6-max Rebuy.
We caught up with him to see what was in store for the Moorman.
First of all, Chris, congratulations in your recent FTOPS finish. Tell us a bit about it?
Going into the tourney I had high expectations because I think 6 max tourney's are my best form of poker, however, early into the tournament I had busted out of all the other good tourneys of the night and was really tilted. I then made a speculative/bad play with a 2nd nut flush draw and got there versus top pair top kicker for a huge pot.
After this I zoned in and really played some of my best poker, always being aggressive and putting people to the test. Fortunately most of my reads were spot on and I picked up hands at the right time and ran a few sick bluffs. From 200 left I was pretty much the chip leader the whole way down to heads-up play.
Heads-up play started after a long deal discussion. I wanted to make a deal because it was midday in the UK and I was really tired. I didn't want to play an 80k heads-up in such a state. I also wanted to guarantee myself my first 200k payday. Heads-up went really badly, I didn't play my best and my opponent Acespades11 just soul crushed me. I made one big river bluff and it almost got through which would of definitely changed the momentum of the match, but in the end it just wasn't to be. Many congratulations to him though, he played great and deserved the win. Who needs an FTOPS jersey anyway?
Ha, Well your online poker antics have taken you far, how did it start?
One of my uni mates discovered a student freeroll tourney on Victor Chandler poker and my friends and I decided to give it a shot every Monday night (you can't sniff at free money as a student that’s for sure). We were obviously all terrible but I managed to luck box 2nd place one week for $70. From there I grinded it up in small stakes cash games just playing pretty ABC. In mid 2005 I started talking to a few guys regularly, David Gent (geeforce1/sexygee) and Paul Foltyn (Paolo69) and they really helped me take my game to the next step and start crushing better players. I switched to grinding tournaments in 2007 and have really found my place there.
When did you book in your first major online win? And how long was it before you did so?
Well I’m a bit different to most MTT players as I originally came from cash. So I had build a significant bankroll before I switched to MTT's. My first big win in an MTT came when I won a PokerStars $100 freezeout in November 2006 for just over 10k. However just before that I had placed 5th in a Full Tilt major for about 13k. Funnily enough I haven't won a Stars $109 freezeout since, despite playing over 700!
2008 was an incredible year for you – what were the highlights?
The end of 2007 was really my breakout time but 2008 was just immense. My Full Tilt account was so golden I just couldn't lose! I really developed my game though and built this crazy image and played off it really well. Everything I was doing was working and I was closing really well. The real highlights of the year for me were winning the 1k on Full Tilt and the 5k winner takes all on Stars. Both of these had really tough fields and I really had to play my A-game to even stand a chance.
The 5k winner takes all was particularly special. At the time I was on such a bad run on PokerStars that I was down to my last 5k in my account. I had also been playing badly and decided that I needed a kick up the back side so I challenged myself to beat the best. The 20 man field included household online names such as Imperium, Menlo, Dario Mineri, Brynkenney, Mr smokey etc, it really was a world class field. I was the underdog but I shocked everyone and managed to take it down, that was a particularly sweet moment.
You seem to be sitting near the top of many online poker rankings sites, is this something you had to specifically work towards?
Yes definitely, I put in a lot of hours watching training videos, playing cash games to develop my post flop skills and talking to lots of top players about hands etc. I also try and play a lot of volume, even the lower buy-ins, as I find this reduces the variance of MTT poker.
You still haven’t won a Sunday Major, how close have you come?
This is something that has so far eluded me and it really is quite a freak of nature. I've final tabled every major other than the stars Sunday Million and Warm-up and just haven’t quite had the luck at the end. I have won huge tourneys on Sundays such as the $100r for $91k - which is more than most majors payout - but a major win is something I really want to get off my back soon.
Describe your daily routine?
Well in the UK it’s really hard to play MTT poker due to the tournaments finishing so late. I normally get up at 2-3pm and chill for a few hours before starting at 7pm. I tend to register for tournaments till 2.30am, these often don’t finish till half 7 in the morning! It’s hard to keep focus for that long and at those times but you get used to it and adapt. I'm pretty nocturnal right now! Normally I play Mon-Wed and then Saturday and Sundays. I'm going travelling soon and basing myself in New Zealand so these times will change drastically and I will be on a schedule much closer to a normal person.
Do you now play mostly tournaments or do you still play some cash on the side?
Mainly tournaments these days whereas before 2007 it was mainly cash. I hit a level at cash (5/10 - 10/20 NL) where even if you play well you can lose vast amounts of money and I'm a real tilt monkey sometimes so I didn't want to take huge risks to my bankroll to be honest. Also I have a desire to be the best and if I was to play cash this would mean having to play the nosebleeds which I definitely couldn't handle mentally. I have a ton of respect for the people that do, they must have real bottle.
Which online poker rooms do you prefer?
PokerStars! It seems so funny to me saying this but in the last 12 months on Stars I've been golden and haven’t had a losing month. If you compare this with the 12 months before, I only had one winning month on there! I used to hate PokerStars more than anything in the world and repeatedly delete it and reinstall it. (Laughs)
In your blog you state that, despite winning over $500K online, you still haven’t made a profit from live performances. Why do you think this is?
To be honest, I just haven’t quite had the breaks in live tourneys. In last years WSOPE I was in 3rd position of 38 remaining with 36 paid and cruising. First place payout was 1 million pounds and instant set for life status. We then went on a dinner break and I got all my mates dinner as I was pretty much set for at least a 30k cash. 10 minutes after dinner I got KK and ran it into the AA of Johnny Lodden for a massive pot. Then, shortly after, I lost a race to bust out on the bubble. Poker can be a cruel game sometimes, particularly live poker where it’s much harder to get over your bust outs.
What is your best live result so far?
This year I won a satellite to the $40k at the WSOP (which I made day 2 of) so that was my biggest 'win' however in a normal tourney my biggest win is around $17k for coming 16th in the PCA 5k side event.
How did the WSOP go for you this year?
Awful! I think I was 1/16 and that was a min cash in a $1500 Event. I lost a lot of huge pots that would have set me up for runs. Obviously, with the way things turned out, I am not entirely happy about my play and think I could have played better. But at the same time you have to be realistic and understand that when your playing such an aggressive game your bound to make some mistakes.
I also read on your blog that one of your aims for this year is to pass your driving test? Have you failed the test in the past or have you just not got round to doing it?
Ha, I've been trying to learn to drive for over 5 years except I have never actually done a single driving lesson in my life! I’m always just too lazy to get started on it and often my time at home is disrupted by all the travelling to live events etc, I'll probably be 40 by the time I learn to drive!
What will be your first car?
I dunno. Nothing too flash. I'd have to drive something for at least 6 months without crashing it before I could consider getting anything of real quality.
What exercise do you do to counteract the hours slouched in front of a computer?
Not enough! Although I'm moving to New Zealand soon which will mean better hours and give me more chance to do exercise. The place we are renting is right on the beach so I'm going to try and get some beach jogging into my routine, although at the moment I’m out of shape so it's probably going to be a real struggle to start with - but it will definitely be worth it.
How do you balance online poker and meal times? What do you eat when you are playing poker? Do you organise it before hand or do you just dig around in the fridge, laptop in hand?
I try and get a sandwich before I play and then grab something later on in the night too. With the synchronised breaks now, though, getting food should be a lot easier. That said, I'm still eating way too many takeaways - which is obviously really bad for me.
Your dad recently won a GUKPT event. That must have been nice to see. Did he teach you to play or was it the other way around?
Yeah it was pretty much the best thing ever. I was a lot more nervous railing him than I would have been had I been playing myself, because I had no control over it. I haven’t really given him any lessons as such but I gave him a few pointers on the journey and I guess he worked the rest out for himself (laughs). It’s still surreal to think that my dad (who just plays $5-$10 MTT’s online) won a GUKPT!
What are your aims for the year?
To continue improving, enjoy life and take advantage of the opportunities in new places - also maybe to win something live and in the WCOOP/Sundays/FTOPS. Hopefully I will just continue to enjoy the game, that’s the most important thing at the end of the day.