John is here!
how many more stupid moves do you see playing online than you do in person?
I would actually think that I would see more live. I am paying more attention and playing only one table, while playing more tables online. It's more noticeable.
Have you ever tried to play without wearing sunglasses?
Of course, I play a lot without sunglasses. I usually only wear them in the No Limit environments. You get more reads there. There aren't as many in other games.
how many family or friends will you have watching you in house?
I'm given 10 stage seats for close family and friends and I'm given 150 stadium seats. I need way more than that. They're already gone and I have more people asking me. I will have hundreds of people there in total. As for traveling with me, I will be traveling by myself and prepping alone.
How have you been preparing for the final table?
I'm a pro. I play year round. This is not like this is something new for me. I've been to final tables in the past. I've been playing. I've been reading up on the players on the final table. I'll be watching on film all the big hands they've played on ESPN to see what they're doing or not doing.
how much of your time at a table is spent trying to just figure people out?
I would say almost most of my time is doing that when I'm not in a hand. I'm watching what goes on so that when I do get in a hand, I know what they're doing. That's really important if you want to be successful is to watch what's going on when you're not in a hand. You need to get a good read on them when you're in a hand with them.
What do you do differently that separates you from all the other poker players?
I think the main thing about me is that I have great instincts. I'm always ready for any move that's thrown at me. I know the best situation to make moves. It all comes down to my instincts and my nerves. I never get nervous. I've played with big poker players, celebrities. I'm never nervous, just prepared.
You seem to have a pretty solid poker face - no tells there as far as I can see. Have others made that observation? How did you perfect it?
That's funny you say that because I was just recently in London and I had a friend come up to me and he said he told me he had a tell on me. We were in a big hand together and he said I did what my tell was. We discussed it. But I don't really have others tell me they have picked up on anything.
Are your friends doing anything for the November Nine? T-shirts? Hats? Cheers? Signs?
They'll have all of the above. We have a big banner made. They'll all have T-shirts on. But you have to wait and see. It'll be a big surprise.
Do you think the November Nine format works?
I personally love the layoff, because of the sponsorships and other deals I'm getting. Full Tilt poker or watch companies, shirt companies. I'm getting all sorts of deals so that I can make money outside of poker, which is kind of what you want to do - make money off the table as well.
What about non betting card games? Do you like to be skipbo, miles borne, uno?
The only non betting card games I play would probably be drinking card games. Drinking games with cards. That's probably it. I like to play gin, but we play for money, of course.
What sort of games did you start off with when you first played online? What would you recommend to a beginner nowadays?
I mainly started playing low stakes single table tournaments. I felt that was a good way to get your bearings at the table. That's what I would suggest anyone doing just starting off. You'll learn how to play 9-handed, 6-handed, etc. You get to learn all about the game.
what would it mean if you were world champion? How would you react?
I would definitely be the happiest poker player in the world, this year, that's for sure. It would be a happy day for me. To win that much money at that young of age, I could be set for life. I would be well taken care of by a lot of sponsors. I already have a lot of things in life, but I would just like to be a 5-6 room mansion on the water with a boat. I could do that if I win.
what is your philosophy on managing your bankroll?
The main thing is that you don't want to play out of your range. If you have $200 online, you probably shouldn't be playing more than a $5 tournament. You only want to use no more than 5% of your bankroll in anyone tournament. You want to have about 20 buy ins in a cash tournament. You don't want to have to start all over.
How much do you hate Lady Gaga for making the poker face song?
It's good and bad. The bad thing is that I have a lot of people sending me texts or calling me after they hear the song. But the good things is that I have hot girls coming up to me and saying that song made me think of you. So that's good stuff.
Ever come to LA to play in the casinos out here?
Yeah, every year I go to the LA Poker Classic. It's one of my favorite tournaments of the year. Besides there, I like playing in Atlantic City. They have some good tournaments there.
Do you ever believe another player when he openly admits after the hand that he was bluffing?
I believe them before, but it's usually if I'm good friends with them or know them really well. If you don't know them, they'll probably tell you the exact opposite of what they did. But 9 out of 10 times, I would say don't believe them.
which player at the final table would you least like to face heads up for the bracelet?
It's a rough question to answer. Obviously I would least like to face The Grinder. But he's a friend of mine, so I would like him to do the next best to me. I would like to win it and have him get second.
When you first start playing online and your bank roll was only 50 dollars what kind of games did you play and at what stake?
I was lucky, I got off to a really good start. I started off playing small buy ins. A sit and go tournament or a buy in that was only 5 bucks. I would try to win 5-10 bucks a day. After winning consistently for a few months, I had a $1,000 bankroll and I could play higher buy ins and play more tables. I was fortunate to win the $30,000 in the first 6 months of my career.
what is the first thing you plan on buying with your winnings?
I have almost everything I want as far as clothes and cars and those kinds of things. The main thing is that I want to get a 5 bedroom house on the water with some jet skis. I will feel like I wouldn't need anything else. Then I wouldn't have to go anywhere. Just stay home.
Do you really live the poker lifestyle? do you go out or just stay in online and play?
I'm definitely one of the most social players out there, in terms of having a life. I don't just sit there playing. I go to the beach, I like to play sports with my friends. I try to get a schedule where I will do fun stuff one day and play the next.
Which poker pro has influenced you or helped you most in your career?
Yeah, actually, The Grinder has and it's ironic because he's at the final table with me. Now we're hanging out together, talking strategies. It's really ironic that we're at the final table together. We were at the tournaments when I was 21, and we just bonded. I told my friends that he's the best player. His mind is crazy. He's a sick kid.
Did you ever think about moving out to Vegas?
No, I would probably never move to Vegas. I like to party and go out a lot at night and I don't think I would be able to maintain being as successful of a player. I couldn't stay focused as I need to be. And it's hard in Vegas. It's more for tourists. I don't like the heat out there either. Even though I'm from Florida, I don't like the heat. It bothers me.
Why the decision to "un-logo" on Day 6? Did you get a lot of grief because of the loose, tilted hat once tv coverage aired?
The reason I didn't go without a logo, I knew I was going to go deep. Every day I waited, I knew I was going to get a better deal. I did end up getting the best deal of the final players. I didn't have the hat on and when the cameras came over, I just threw the hat on and it was sideways. As soon as it happened, I got a lot of texts and the commentators talked about it. Everyone thought it was funny.
Being from Florida, what do you think of the recent change with the poker law down there? Have you played there since you've been home and how much of an effect will that have on poker players coming out of Florida?
Obviously, it's a huge change. It's helped me a lot becuase now I can go play the cash games at the casinos and the dog tracks. Having traveled to the big events, I can actually make money when I'm at home. As for the players in Florida, the state has some of the best players in the country. Three of us in the final table are from Florida.
Thanks for all of the support. I really appreciate it. I like that there are some of you picked me to win it all. I will not let you down.