Brits in Vegas

Brits in Vegas

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Blighty's top bracelet hopes.

WSOP fever has officially taken hold! In a fit of patriotic joy, we’ve decided to catch up with the players that represent Britain’s best hope for a bracelet. Go on, Blighty – make us proud!

BiV Trickett

Sam Trickett

Live Tournament Career Winnings: $20m

Credentials: Winner of Best Live Tournament Player at the 2013 British Poker Awards, Trickett is a force to be reckoned with on the felt. His major cashes are too many to list, and he is confirmed to be playing the Big One for One Drop tournament once again after his $10.1m cash in 2012.

How many events have you got on your schedule?

I don’t have a set schedule, but I am looking to be playing every other day – if not every day – but it really depends on how I am feeling and what happens at the time. If I was to guess I would say around 20-25 events, but I am going to take a week off in the middle of summer because I have some friends visiting. Other than that I intend to play as many events as I can.

How are you going to prepare for Vegas?

I haven’t drunk any alcohol for three weeks. I have been in the gym a lot, and doing a lot of running to keep physically fresh, focused and motivated.

You took a bit of a break from live tournaments at the beginning of this year – have you got back into the swing of things now?
The main difference I have noticed since I have been back is the high frequency of three-betting that’s in the game. Player’s ranges have widened that much that I don’t even give older guys credit anymore. So the game has changed, but it didn’t take me long to get back into the groove.

You'll be definitely be playing the Big One for One Drop event. Is it weird playing in a tournament with such a massive amount of media attention?

Not really. The only thing that I found weird last time was the final table live stream. The ESPN coverage meant we had to keep showing our cards, which ruined the dynamic a little bit, but it was a nice problem to have.

How much time will you be devoting to the cash games in Ivey’s/Bobby’s Room?

I don’t really play many cash games when I go to the Series because I am more focused on tournaments, and when I am not playing those I like to go out and have fun. I am going to cut down on my socializing this year, so perhaps I will try and see if I can get invited to some of the bigger cash games, but it’s not always that easy.

You’re giving away 10% of your WSOP winnings to Everest Poker players. Is that extra pressure to get the scores in?
No, not at all. I am just going to try my best and make the best decisions I can. I have won a lot of money for backers in the past and it gives me great pleasure, so long may it continue.

Is it going to be bottle service every night, or early bedtimes and strict regimes?

I purposely organized my flight so I would land after the memorial weekend is done and dusted as that could have been a bad way to start the Series. Last year was insane. I was out 3-4 nights a week for the entire time I was out there, but I intend to be focusing far more on my poker this year. Don’t get me wrong, I like to enjoy myself, and will be going out at least once a week, but nothing like last year.

Is it true you’ve promised your Mum a bracelet this year?
Not quite - I didn’t promise her I would win one. I promised her that if I won one I would give it to her.

What are your Vegas Golden Rules?

I don’t really have any rules in life. I just go along with things. If I make Day 2 of a tournament I will never go out drinking… but that’s about it really!

BiV Moorman

Chris Moorman

Live Tournament Career Winnings: $3.9m

Credentials: As well as being the most successful online tournament player of all time, with winnings surpassing $11m, Moorman also has some pretty nifty live skills. His appearance in Vegas will be fresh off of a stupendous win at the WPT L.A. Poker Classic, and we wouldn’t like to stand in his way.

Hi Chris. So – how many events have you got on your schedule?

I plan on playing pretty much all of the No Limit Hold’em events and most of the PLO events. I probably won’t play many mixed games except for maybe a PLO8 event or two.

You’ve always smashed it online, but recently you’ve been particularly dominating the live arena too. Has your live play improved or is the timing just a coincidence?

There is a lot of variance year to year in live poker because you play so few events compared to online. In 2011 I had a huge live year, whereas 2012 and 2013 weren’t as big. Now, 2014 has started off great – but over this four year period I feel like I’ve been playing well and the timing of it all is more just variance than coincidence.

Any Vegas pre-tournament rituals?

I don’t have pre-tournament rituals per se, but I will be playing all of the SCOOP on PokerStars. I feel like this is a great warm up because the structures are great and you play a wide variety of player types. Over this period I am really going to try to perfect my best tournament game. Day-to-day during the series I just try to limit the late nights out, get in a workout before play and eat a good breakfast.

Will you be packing the laptop to have some nocturnal grind sessions after the day’s play is finished?

Before Black Friday a laptop would have been the first thing in my bag but now obviously all that has changed. Now I just try to focus on my live game during the series. Last year during the WSOP I flew up to Vancouver for two days to grind a Sunday and I’m not sure it was worth the time, cost and effort only to have a losing session.

You’ve had a couple of second places now – what would it mean to you to get your hands on a bracelet?

It would mean everything to me. This will be my 8th WSOP and obviously the aim for every year has been to win a bracelet. To finally achieve that with all my friends railing would be truly epic. The LAPC win has given me the confidence and the fire to go after that bracelet this year and finally take one down.

Who are you rooting for at this year’s Series? Are you buying action from anyone?

Obviously I am rooting for all of my friends in poker, and particularly the Brits. At times the series can be draining, so to get a rail going supporting a friend is so good to boost morale; it can really lift spirits if things haven’t been going well thus far. I am not looking to buy action. In the past I have had a lot riding on the Series outside of my own play and I feel that has hindered my own performance and distracted me from my ultimate goal.

BiV Ashton

Matt Ashton

Live Tournament Career Winnings: $2.3m

Credentials: Mixed game beast Ashton achieved an astonishing FOUR final table finishes last year, as well as a win in the Player’s Championship. Topping that super summer may be a tall order, but we wouldn’t put it past him.

How many events have you got on your schedule?

I'm looking at playing somewhere between 10-20 tournaments, dependent on how much I'm enjoying them and how appealing the cash games are. I was originally intending being at the World Cup in Brazil for longer and playing less tournaments, but I can't miss the $50K. So, with them bringing that forward in the schedule I'll only be missing about 10 days of action in the middle of the series now.

You’re a mixed games guy – will you be playing some of the more unusual events?

I'll be playing most of the tournaments where you don't get two cards, if they count as unusual! Certainly the bigger buy-in ones, and the more different games in the event, the better. I won't be around for the Dealers Choice event unfortunately. I expect that will be a very fun tournament.

Will you be getting inside Bobby’s Room/Ivey’s Room to play some cash?

I will be having more of a look to see what bigger mixed cash games are going in the Bellagio and Aria this summer. If I like the look of the game I'll try my best to get a seat.

Will you be enjoying the Vegas lifestyle, or is it discipline all the way?

Each summer since I've started going to the WSOP I've spent a little bit less time and money in clubs, at blackjack tables and at Spearmint Rhino, and I think (and hope!) this will continue. There's certainly a lot of places and people I'd rather donate my money to, and the appeal of it all has worn off a bit. I think i'll save the partying and shenanigans for Brazil. This change in perspective and spending more time sober certainly helps my focus and performance throughout the long summer.

What’s more important to you – winning a second bracelet, or winning loads of money?

I think I'd get more personal satisfaction from winning a second bracelet than a six-figure sum. However, the money certainly has more value in what I can do with it for others, so that still is more important.

You were so close to being Player of the Year last year, only to be pipped to the post by Daniel Negreanu. Was that disappointing? Do you think 2014 could be your time?

While I was in Vegas last summer, Player of the Year was just a nice idea I liked the sound of, but wouldn't have been too disappointed not to win. But by the time I was in Paris at WSOPE, I was desperate to win and gutted to lose it in the final event. While you can't fluke a POTY win you still need plenty of luck to have any chance, so for me to be in the race again I'd have to start really well like last year. If that happens, I'll focus all my energy on tournaments and see if I can go one better.

What are your Vegas Golden Rules?

- Spend as little time at pit games as possible, especially roulette.
- Don't tip anyone at a club until you know what you're getting for it.
- Don't gamble what you can't afford to lose
Some more poker-specific ones:
- Register early for WSOP events so you don't waste time in long registration queues. On top of that late registering for events is going to get you tougher tables, especially in non-Holdem events.
- Take good note what time your breaks end, missing hands is giving up a lot of value.

For pros it's a long summer, so don't get too carried away with wins, or too down on your losses.

BiV Boeree

Liv Boeree

Live Tournament Career Winnings: $2.4m

Credentials: Although she’s had a series of scores in European events, Liv has yet to make a deep run in Vegas. As a result, we reckon she’s long overdue one, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see the former EPT Sanremo champ go far this year.

How many events have you got on your WSOP schedule?

No idea yet to be honest, but probably about 12-15.

What’s it like to be a Brit at the Series?

I love it. I always have such a great time in Vegas – I love the weather and mountains nearby.

Most of your biggest scores have been in European locations – is this the year you crack America?

Yes, yes, yes! I’ve bricked enough at the Rio.

Any must-have items going in your suitcase?
Swimsuit, sunscreen, hiking boots, and rave gear for EDC (Electric Daisy Carnival).

Any Vegas pre-tournament rituals?

Go climbing at Red Rock each morning. I can’t get enough of it!

Do you have any Vegas Golden Rules?

Carry a refillable bottle so I don’t have to be an asshole using the countless plastic bottles the casinos give out like they grow on trees.

BiV Cody

Jake Cody

Live Tournament Career Winnings: $3.6m

Credentials: Despite his youth, Cody already has 2 WSOP final tables under his belt, including a win in the 2011 WSOP Heads Up Championship – we definitely believe he has the skills to do it again.

How many events have you got on your WSOP schedule?

I plan on playing pretty much every single No Limit Hold’em event. I think it's something like 20-25 events, but hopefully a few will overlap ;)

How are you going to prepare for Vegas?

By playing, of course! I’ll also watching some training videos to make sure my game is sharp, and go in feeling fresh.

Are American players different to play against compared to Europeans?

I think a few years ago Americans were known for being much more aggressive, but I think that trend has switched now and it’s the Europeans that are much more aggro on the whole.

Will the boys be representing Blighty by hitting the Vegas nightlife?

The boys might be but I’m taking my daughter and girlfriend, so it will be more family-oriented downtime when I’m not playing.

What do you do with your bracelet? Do you wear it around the house? (We would).

Hahaha, you know what? I have never ever worn it since the ceremony. My mum has it safe. I do have moments alone with it now and again. I just read that back and it sounds very wrong, haha.

When you won the Heads-Up event in 2011 it was only your second ever Series – what have you learned since then?

I have definitely learned to slow down a lot – it’s easy to lose your head in Vegas and I think the first year you go it’s guaranteed to happen at some point.

Do you have any Vegas Golden Rules?

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!

BIV Grafton

Sam Grafton

Live Tournament Career Winnings: $360k

Credentials: Loveable loudmouth Grafton is one of the UK’s best known tournament pros. He may be playing fewer events than the others, making him something of a wildcard – but if anyone can make his mark on Vegas, it’s Sam.

How many events have you got on your schedule?
At the moment, I plan to just go out at the end of the Series for the Main. If I can't bear to be away from the action for that long, maybe I'll go for the last 10 days and play a few smaller events.

How are you going to prepare for Vegas?
I'm going to rent a house by a lake in Poland or Croatia. Read, relax and grind some soft tourneys while the regs are away in Vegas.

How do you feel your play style matches up against Americans – do you confuse and bamboozle them by being a British geezer?

I think they're confused by the fact that I'm often wearing a baseball cap of an American sports team, but have no idea if it's a hockey team or American football.

Will you be doing regular Twitter updates to keep the fans entertained?

Twitter really kicks off during the WSOP, and I'll be joining in from wherever I am.

What would you do to celebrate if you won your first bracelet?

A night at Stoneighs with all the boys.

Will you be repping Britain in the Vegas nightlife, or is it early nights and discipline all the way?

It's the only time that we're all together in the same place all year so there'll definitely be a decent number of nights out. Especially if we bink a couple of early bracelets.

What are your Vegas Golden Rules?
1) Never say no to a night out with Jake Cody.
2) Never wake Chris Brammer if he's had less than 15 hours sleep.
3) Never turn down a swap with Chris Moorman.

Tags: Sam Grafton, Jake Cody, Liv Boeree, Chris Moorman, Sam Trickett, Matt Ashton