No need for introduction, The title speaks for itself. Enjoy~
Interview With Nazgul
Letís start with the General info, Name/Age/Location?
Victor Goossens, 23, Rotterdam the Netherlands
How did you come up with Nazgul?
Hmmm, goes a long time back to when I needed a name for a clan that I was about to join when I just started StarCraft. Iíve been somewhat of a Lord of the Rings fan for quite some time and figured Nazgul sounded pretty mean.
How would you describe yourself?
Ambitious, honest, calm, direct. Things that interest me: starcraft, poker, movies, football, squash, MMA.
What are your life goals at the moment?
I got some goals set for school, poker and liquidpoker.net. I plan on finishing my bachelor within two years, quite slow but I'm doing everything at my own pace.
For poker it only concerns money and liquidpoker.net is both money and hits on our website. I don't really care about the money so much, but goals keep you motivated and challenge yourself to try your best.
How did you get to know about Poker?
Like most of the people on this website through StarCraft and its community. A couple people I know personally were playing it already (for example NTT/Saft) and doing good. I tried out a little bit on playmoney to learn the rules and how to play a tight game.
Eventually I was at the WorldCyberGames and went to some PC room to browse around a bit. We accidentally ran into Saft there who was playing poker there. I remember being amazed as he was winning (and losing) $400 pots left and right without being affected by it. I gave him $50 in cash and he transferred some money to me on partypoker.
How were your Poker Beginings, any big swings, something you regret or remember?
After winning some at the PP limit tables I transferred my money to play on PS. I remember being such a tightass and playing well within my bankroll limits. Well over a thousand for .10/.25.
My first half year was really nothing special, brainless grinding on the lowest tables. Often I would just watch some movie while 5 tabling, playing nothing but the nuts. Ahhh good times. These days I'm more affected by poker because I see it as an actual game and challenge. If I make a play and it doesn't work I feel some anger not because of the money but because I made a mistake.
What do you consider the most common mistake new poker players tend to do, and what is your opinion about it?
Well there are the obvious ones like bankroll management and tilting. If you can't control those two to a certain extent you're really not supposed to be playing poker.
But besides these, a very common mistake is to overrate your own skill. A lot of guys out there try to be fancier than their skill should allow them to. Especially on the lower limits grinding is the way to build your bankroll and with that slowly extend your poker skill.
It wasn't until 2/4 and 3/6 when I really started to play poker. All the way up to 1/2 I was a winning player by applying ABC poker. It is not only that I wasn't ready for it, but also that it simply didn't have as much use. Once you are among players of similar skill you can start trying to get inside their head and figure out what they are thinking, instead of focusing on playing your hand. Don't try to pull moves if you and the table are not ready for it.
When did you start taking poker more seriously? And what motivated you to do so?
I have always taken it serious. Might as well put your whole bankroll on red if you are not serious about it.
Is there something you identify with, something that makes you feel different from other poker players?
Well among poker players I'm different in a way that I think poker is not a lifestyle. It is not something I can see myself doing for the coming 30 years.
Poker players in general can become very arrogant about the way they are and what they expect from life. Sometimes I guess it just is not very healthy to make 200k per year when you're still supposed to be in school. I think 'we' are making more money than we deserve based on our efforts. There are people out there working harder and serving better goals than their own wallets but they are making a lot less.
I will try to use poker as a step-up to do something more with my life and hopefully maintain other jobs in the long run. Liquidpoker is one of those things, running a website is just something different. In the end poker is still you sitting there with two cards and even though the game is very deep and entertaining I just can't see myself doing it day-in, day -out, year-in, year-out.
How often does it feel like work when you sit down?
Not so often. I play a lot of shorthanded in very interesting games with very interesting players. It is healthy for your mind and almost never boring. I have a problem quitting when I'm losing though, on these days I usually keep playing and if the session becomes too long you start playing like a robot.
I try to limit my hours by not playing too often. This way I don't start to feel too much like I'm working. In my mind I see poker as work already, it just usually doesn't feel that way yet, which is a good thing. But it's impossible to keep seeing it as a hobby when you are making a living off playing 2000NL.
How would you describe your 'poker personality' and your playing style?
I believe I play a certain style of poker that is strong and adaptable enough to overcome any knowledge people might have of you.
My style these days is quite loose aggressive which turns passive and makes me a calling station when I meet someone more aggressive than myself.
Do you think this is a time where you can make the most money? Right now you can't see a lot of people in high-stake tables, do you think in the future the internet cardrooms will be much harder?
Doubtful. A lot of the players we are making money from are simply coming to gamble. Blackjack and roulette casinos have been around for ages and even though it is not possible to beat these games in the long run people are always coming back for more. They know they will lose, why would it be any different for poker?[/b]
There's still Europe and Asia to be conquered by poker, which brings in a lot of new people without much of a clue. Even if people would get better eventually I don't really see it as much of a problem. At the moment I am playing in what is considered the hardest 10/20 game on the net, if things do become ugly after all, I still have the opportunity to switch to places where competition is weaker.
Do you consider yourself a Cashgame or a Tournament player?
100% cash. Although I think good cash game players can easily join tournaments and play a
solid game, unlike the other way around.
What are your biggest accomplishments in your poker carreer?
What is your favorite hand if you have one?
Not really. I guess 22 is fun.
What is your definition of a Professional poker player,
Does being a pro came with the time, or there was a point you decided you were going to be one?
I personally prefer the definition that says you have to be able to making a living. That's what I would apply to StarCraft professionals as well.
I can live a decent life off poker, understand it pretty well on top of that! It's not a conscious decision but I think whatever definition, I fall inside that group.
What has poker left you besides anything about poker?
Most things I could possible learn for life from poker I learned from StarCraft already. Partially by playing the actual game but also by meeting new people and friends from whom you can learn a lot.
Managerial vision, instant decision making, multitasking apply to the game itself. Being open minded and able to understand and think about the views and opinions of others is something I gained from the social contact.
How is your offline support about poker, family/friends?
As good as it gets. When I was playing StarCraft before I got known and won tournaments my parents were very opposed to me playing too much. After a while when they saw I was winning money, traveling and meeting people from all over the world, they started to realize that instead of harming my life StarCraft was enhancing it. I think there was a switch.in their attitude towards me. I was old and responsible enough to decide things for myself and whatever I would do they knew it would end up alright. When I started poker of course my mother was a little scared because of the negative image has, but other than that they were very supportive.
Lots of my friends are interested in poker. They regularly play .01/.02 cent live, sometimes I join but itís quite hard to play serious in such a game and I actually don't find it that much fun. I introduced Raszi and teddy wong to the game a long time ago. To their credit the only reason I did so is because I expected them to be very successful at it if they tried. Of course there are also some friends that don't like poker (usually I can see why). If I care enough about them I will try to talk to them about it see if it's possible to make them understand my side.
My girlfriend supports me as much as she can. She plays a little poker herself so she understands what it is about and how things work for us. Trying to comfort me after taking a bad beat :D
Being Poker such a Mind Game, What do you think is the % of people that make it being a winning player ? and Why do you think this is?
I got no clue but I'm sure these numbers can be found anywhere on the net. I think it's somewhere between 5-10%?
Why.. for the same reason not everyone can be a winner at the stock exchange. Some don't try, others aren't capable.
What skills, abilities do you think makes a player 'capable'?
Intelligence, patience, self-control, disregard for money, instinct
If you were to start poker all over again, how would you follow the limits/stakes/software?
I know how to manage my bankroll properly, but something I'm really not very informed about is which path to follow to properly build it. When I was playing .25/.50 and such I always hopped from PS to Party to get their deposit bonus. Whenever I would be done with the bonus on Party I'd switch to PS to play on a regular basis. Catyoul wrote some guide about how to hop from site to site that tells you where you can get good signup bonuses. I guess I'd try following one of those.
What advice can you give in BR management?
If I know someoneís specific talent for poker, his capability of staying in control and being able to move down limits if things go bad, he should get different advice than someone who is less skilled and a little tilt sensitive. In general I think it's probably good to move up with 25 buyins and move back after you lose down to 20.
But like I said some players need more and some need less. Figure out whether or not you are capable of (easily) moving down in a losing streak. It's very important to be honest with yourself. If you have trouble moving down; don't pretend otherwise to trick yourself into moving up the limits faster. Something that is often overlooked is whether or not your mindset is capable of the next limits and its swings. Your bankroll might be able to take the new swings, but if your mind is not ready to deal with them it's probably healthier to wait a little bit. Say you are playing on .50/1 with a good enough bankroll to play 1/2 you need to ask yourself if you are ready to constantly be involved in $400 pots.
Have you ever read any Poker Books? Where do you think it is from that you have learned the most? Articles/Books/Conversations?
Any advice on this?
Didn't read any yet. Although a while ago I read some paragraphs from a book about Doyleís life and the things they experienced. It actually seemed very interesting, more so than any of the other poker books out there. At first I figured I didn't need books to learn poker and after a while I felt they might've been helpful in the past but not anymore.
I can't give any advice on which books to read but I'm sure they say something worth reading in there. Itís not so likely that theyíre all useless =]
Where do you play your best, online? At live Casinos?
Definitely online, I don't play live at all.
Is there something in your game you would like to improve?
I don't think I have any big or obvious leak in my game. But any player no matter how good can always improve on reads that he picks up. There are always untouched opportunities where a little extra could have been made if played different.
Was tilt a problem for you back in the old days? Do you have any advice on how to spot and avoid it? Any experiences with it?
Avoiding tilt is easier for me than it seems for others. I just keep telling myself to stay calm. Play your game that is the only way you are going to win your money back. If you can convince yourself not to let it affect your game it is already a big improvement. The fact that we receive bad beats is the sole reason we are able to make money from at all. If luck wasn't a factor then fish would go play roulette instead.
In other words be happy when they bad beat you! :D
Smile and shrug it off. Don't be a pussy and pretend that you somehow deserve that money, because you do not. If you did then we would have no games to play. Everything goes by odds and that's that.
Where do you think the hardest players come from? Have you experience any tough experiences with players of certain countries or do you dominate them all?
Scandinavians have by far the highest percentage of top players compared to their poker community. This is probably caused by the fact that it is impossible to have a life of your own in between of all that snow. Making snowmen might get a little boring after a while so they decide to take the money of rich Americans instead.
Do you have an exciting hand to share or something you really can't get off your mind, perhaps some interesting hand or a tough one?
http://www.liquidpoker.net/h/24852 is my nicest call so far
http://www.liquidpoker.net/h/5637 also pretty good
On the JJ in the end it all comes down to assuming he can't play the flush like this on turn. If he doesn't have the flush it is also very unlikely for him to play only a queen so strong on the river. Playing the queen like that there is absolutely minimizing your value. Both those things combined with his image lead to believing he was pulling off a bluff.
The hand against Hallingol it is very important for me to have the ace of spades. Without it the call becomes almost impossible. The way our heads up was going it would be impossible for him to fold a flush here. If it is not possible for him to fold a lower flush then we both know he will usually come over the top on turn. The hand that he might slowplay on the turn is an ace high flush but since I have the ace of spades that is out of the question. Conclusion is that he must be making a play on me. If things don't make sense I usually go with my feeling.
How does it feel to be 'Nazgul'? Everyone knows you as one of the starters to introduce Poker to the Bw community.
At this moment very awkward.
How does it feel to have introduced such great players as RaSZi, Travis and others to Poker?
I'm not sure if I was that important in Travis' case for introducing poker. But if I was then I'm not that enthusiastic about it. He has some great poker skills but I wonder if it really is an addition to his life. As for Raszi as long as it helps him I feel good about it. Things seem to be going well now so that's nice.
Do you consider Poker as a Sport? Yes. No. Why?
Not really. I think sports should be something physical, although it is as much a sport as chess or darts are. Just depends on which dictionary you are using. You can't honestly say you are going to play some sports when you're on your way to sit down at a poker table with a smoke and a beer.
If you would have to guess 2 Liquidpoker.net posters that will do something good off poker who would them be?
Not two but here's some names of players to pay attention to in the future. Beast (Rhaegar on LP), Tomson, PoorUser, Pinball, Bigballs
If you had 24 hours left in your life. And you are warned, What would you do?
Can you share anything you have in mind for the future of LP.net?
We're working on a couple cool projects. Something that should be quite close to being done is an odds calculator. If everything goes as planned it will work for all known poker games such as Stud, Omaha and Hold'em. It will also have some sort of a shortcut version on our front page similar to how our hand poster is working.
Besides this we are also planning to introduce small user icons in the near future as well, similar to the ones on TL.net. Some examples of icons that will be included are a fish, donkey, shark and a couple others including our infamous nuke.
It is also our plan to organize some sort of a ranking for our tournaments in which we keep track of the weekly results. Small detail is that the Sunday winner will also be awarded a trophy icon once we get things set up.
Any last comment?
After banning Rekrul I'd go sky-diving. Possibly without parachute.
Thanks Victor for your time and I hope everything goes on right for you, Hopefully everyone gets a piece of this Text. GL!
Here is a picture of Nazgul playing with Elky .
*Note they are playing with Matches *