Interview with Stuart 'The Nutter' Rutter
Tuesday, 1 June 2010
Bluff Europe catches up with Birmingham's finest and gets the lowdown on the World Series, sponsorship and how the standard of play has got better and better.
What are you playing these days?
Up until March, all of my games were mid- to high-stakes cash on iPoker, but recently I've started playing a lot more mixed games. I had a big piece of James Mitchell in the Irish Open, which gave me a cushion to deviate from my normal game and learn how to play mixed games. I really wanted a new challenge, so this was a great opportunity, and I haven't played a single hand of NL since.
I’m lucky to be a professional poker player, so I’m doing my utmost to be a student of the game. I've been spending a lot of my time watching videos on DeucesCracked, which I think is the best tutorial site for mixed games, reading forums, and even getting a bit of coaching. I'm not sure coaching is worth it for NL as all the information is already out there, but there’s a lot to learn in mixed games.
Has the standard in poker changed as much as people say?
Yes, definitely. Players in both live and online poker have got a lot better over the last couple of years. I remember the first GUKPT in Bolton, the standard was just awful. There are still some really bad players, but the problem is that the average players are now really good. There’s still a lot value, though, otherwise it’d be much better for me to never leave the computer screen, but live poker’s also fun, and I think it’s good for a pro player to play a combination of the two. It’s a paradox, really: online is more financially lucrative, but live poker is exciting, which is what it’s all about.
In what ways have online players modified their game?
The first step was that people stopped limping, then there were more three-bets, and subsequently four-bets. Now the killer move seems to be to cold four-bet. Two years ago, if someone did this, they had Q-Q plus, but not now, their range is wider, which consequently means variance increases. Also, if you're getting it in light, and in coin flip situations, your edge is significantly reduced.
In a way, I regret not playing as much as possible when the standard was weaker. A few months ago I was actually pretty worried about the future, but I realised that the fish will always be there, and there has to be a limit to how good the stronger players can get. I think we’re currently witnessing a peak in the standard of play.
How did you adapt to this change?
About 18 months ago I was on such a bad run that I stepped away from the computer and decided to sort it out. At the time, I wasn't using any data-mining software because I'd almost insisted on not using it, thinking that playing ability was enough, but I forced myself to get a poker tracker and start analysing data more. I do think you can be over reliant on statistics, though, and go into autopilot mode, which is very dangerous as it means you miss things like game-flow. It's about creating the right balance between playing more tables for profit or playing fewer to follow the game more easily. Personally, though, I’d like to see data-mining banished from sites. Otherwise it’s not impossible that in the future we could have software that basically tells you what decision to make based on the data that has been collected.
How important was your recent sponsorship with Gcasino.com?
Sponsorship didn't alter things financially for me, but still meant a lot in terms of recognition. I was also on a dry run, and this helped boost my confidence. Talks actually started during the London GUKPT, and that confidence boost made a difference to how I played and I ended up making the final. I do think people play differently against me when I wear a badge: they're more stubborn and although sounds great at first, it can make things tricky and increase my variance in the short-term.
What are your plans for the World Series?
Thanks to the money I earned from James, I’m a bit more comfortable heading into Vegas, so will likely invest around $100,000 and play all the $10,000 mixed game events. It’s a shame that the $50,000 is at the start; if it were at the end I’d have been able to take a shot depending on my other results, but it’s too much money to risk so early in the Series.