Interview: David Gentry
Thursday, 1 December 2011
Black Belt Poker’s latest pro is a true grinder, a 26-year-old former dealer now making a consistent living from the other side of the felt.
Now that you’re playing full-time, do you have a daily routine?
Working in a casino for two years and playing a lot of online poker is quite an antisocial combination, and I’ve got into a pretty nocturnal routine as a result. I generally get up early afternoon, take care of any bits and pieces during the day and perhaps go out for a bit in the evening. I’ll usually start playing around about midnight, and play most of the night. Occasionally, if the games are super-soft, I’ll literally stay up all night and go to sleep at about 10am.
How did you find the journey to Blue Belt?
I was already playing on iPoker through a different skin, but decided to switch to Black Belt Poker. I figured Blue Belt would be about the apex of what I might be able to achieve, but now that I’ve got there, I'll obviously try and continue progressing.
I started out playing $50 NLH, but I really play a huge range of stakes now. During the same session, I could potentially be sat at a $0.25/0.50 table and a £2/4 or £3/6 table. I think it’s a good idea to be aggressive with your bankroll and take stabs at bigger games when there’s clearly value there.
You seem to play more full-ring than six-max, which is unusual. Why is this?
I initially played a fair bit of six-max, though over time I felt that my results were noticeably better playing full-ring and so made the switch. Full-ring regs are generally less aggressive than short-handed players and force you to gamble less, which suits my inner-nit. I guess, statistically speaking, if you’re sat around a table with nine other guys instead of five, it’s more likely there’ll be a huge fish at the table, which is obviously always a big plus.
What advice would you give to those wishing to become winning mid-to-low stakes players?
The biggest key to beating cash in general is probably game selection. I’m stating the obvious really, but in the long run, the way you make money from poker is by playing against people who are worse than you. It’s a pretty straightforward idea, but I don't think a lot of people fully appreciate how important this is.
Most low-to-mid stakes full-ring regs are either TAGs or nits, so even if you do have an edge, the table dynamics are really not conducive to you making much money. This is why I think it's good to be flexible with your bankroll management, as some nights you’ll find much worse players playing $200 or $400 NLH than you will playing $50 and $100.
To what extent do you believe your game has developed lately?
My results have improved a fair bit recently but I think that has more to do with the increased volume I’m playing rather than any great change of approach. I could probably do with being more aggressive, particularly pre-flop. I’m trying to improve my red line (Non-Showdown Winnings) by one by C-betting less, barrelling more, avoiding playing passively out of position, etc. I’m fairly comfortable with my cash game at the moment, though; it’s my tournament game that's a bigger concern.
Do you intend to use your $1,500 sponsorship to play any tournaments in particular?
My playing experience live is pretty limited and it’s still something I need to work on and get comfortable with. As an ex-G Casino employee, I'm going to be slightly handicapped in terms of the events I’ll be able to play. The Fox Main Event might be a decent option, and I imagine a few more trips to DTD will be in order.
What’s the next step?
Going forward, I’d obviously like to keep getting better and making a decent living off the game. What I’d probably like more than anything else would be a tournament win, either online or live. Just making a final table would be a Kodak moment, quite honestly, as it feels like I’ve barely min-cashed a tournament since January.
[Since this interview, David came fourth in the London Calling Main Event at the Fox Poker Club in London.]