Interview With BigBalls
Here I present to you all a big surprise, an Interview with someone who has been part of this community and will ever be….
Hello, can you tell me your name / age / location?
Ryan Daut, 22, New Jersey or Pennsylvania depending whether I’m at home or at college.
What are your general interests?
I’m a huge sports fan, and baseball/football are pretty much my life. Other than that I’d have to say pretty much the same thing as anyone on this board....poker, movies, music, girls, pancakes, you know.
Can you repeat us how are you called in the online world, and why did you opt for this 'nickname'?
Well, I have many nicknames. My first online nickname was BigBalls, which was my first ever Starcraft name, which I just decided to make back in 7th grade. It was pretty stupid, we were all at my buddies one day and we decided to measure our balls for whatever reason and of the 5 of us mine were the largest (what can I say, I’m a real man) so I got the name BigBalls for Starcraft, most of the Starcraft players know me as BigBalls, but in an attempt to be a little more mature, I’ve been using Daut44 online, so the majority of people who play poker online that know me know me as Daut44. I’ve thought about changing my LP name to Daut44 to try and clean it up a little but come on, what cooler name is there for a poker player than BigBalls, especially for a guy known for folding, best irony ever.
Great , so How would a guy like you get into poker? and when was this?
About two summers ago back when I was still playing starcraft a good deal, Roman (empire2000) and rekrul were telling me how they were doing pretty well in poker and it was easy money and I should get started. So I decided to give it a shot and threw 40 bucks on party poker and played the smallest fixed limit games available there.
Back then, Can you remember your mentality about poker?
I look<A name="cutnews"></A>ed at it as a possible way to make some extra money, something every broke ass college kid needs.
So how did it go with those $40?
Luckily I never went broke. Over the course of a year, I managed to turn the 40 bucks into about 600 one tabling those low fixed limit games on party. I never played very often, just when I was bored and had nothing to do. I knew the basics of what to do, but I never thought about poker in depth or really tried to improve a lot for that first year.
When did this change? What was your first 'aha!' in your poker career?
The next summer, my roommate was messing around on my account playing all sorts of weird 10 dollar tournaments, and he managed to win me a seat into the WSOP. Since the account was in my name, I had to go, and up to that point I had never really played any no limit, so in May of 05 I decided to switch over to NL and really focus and try to learn everything I could before the WS. After that I just started doing a lot better in poker and could really see progress in my game, because I was motivated to become a better player. After I saw that I could make ok money playing even very low limits I realized there was more to poker than just a little excess cash.
I wish we all had roommates who would win seats to the WSOP…. So anyway, we all know you are a very determined player and focus a lot into the 'math' of the game. Does this have anything to do with your career?
I am currently studying to get a PHD in math, and even though most of what I do is theoretical mathematics, I do have extremely strong quantitative skills. I would say this definitely influences my approach to poker, more so in the beginning of my growth as a player, but the mathematical aspects are a very important part of the game which most people do not fully understand.
Would you agree with the statement 'The most important aspect of a winning player is his discipline'?
Yes, the key part of that being winning. I know tons of really smart creative kids who would do extremely well if they had more discipline in terms of bankroll management or tilt control but they always end up broke one way or another.
If you think of it this way, most people at middle to upper limits are becoming fairly proficient at poker, everyone knows pretty much how to play the game. But if you realize the possible swings you can take and can continue to play your best at all times then you are creating a huge advantage for yourself that might not be possible in other areas such as strategic approach .And bankroll management can never be stressed enough. Even after Catyoul's post on it people still might not realize how important it really is.
Would you like to give your personal little advice on BR management?
For NL games I would suggest 30 buyins up through 1/2, then starting at 2/4, you need 40-50, and at 5/10+ id recommend at least 75, and for higher limit games if you want to be a serious player at least 100. It’s so nice to be able to make any play and not worry about having to move down after losing 5 buyins.
This also ties in with tilt control if I’m playing with a huge bankroll and I lose a few buyins here and there I don’t really care, whereas if it was a huge part of my bankroll I would be more inclined to start playing worse than I am capable of playing
So, seeing poker from a mathematical vision. How much of an edge does a player needs over the other players?
Well, the edge you need to be a break even player is inversely related to the stakes you play because as you move up in stakes the rake makes up less of your losses. It’s also directly related to how loose you are, the looser the player, the more edge you need to overcome the rake because you are winning more smaller pots. Those are the two main points, as for specifics, its hard to quantify edge so I won’t even try.
Alright so I want to try going a bit into in-depth analysis of winning poker, I’m going to do that in 2 questions. First is. How many players do you think are winning players out of a hundred?
Based on the rake alone, less than 50% of players are winning players, id estimate 35%. Based on long term variance, tilt control, lack of bankroll management, id say much less than that are winning players, maybe 20% total.
So, assuming that all players want to move up stakes and try winning at higher tables. All the winning players will obviously go or 'are' in the higher stakes. Now, a question many new players often ask themselves is . 'Why would Phil Ivey want to play at the same table as Brunson, and 5 other pros?'' Is poker skill endless? Does it ever get into a level where all that’s happening, is just variance because you are playing with people of the same skill?
Suppose poker skill were not endless. This implies that there is a possibility for a player to play perfect, meaning he will always make the best possible decisions. so in a game like no limit, this means he would always bet the correct amount and get paid off fully, be perfectly aware of when his opponents would fold better hands, and would know exactly when to fold.
There is no player in the world that is even close to that, so even if there is a possibility in the abstract of a player being perfect, it doesn’t really matter, everyone has room for improvement. Now, I wouldn’t necessarily agree with your assumption that everyone wants to move up. I know many players who are perfectly content making a good amount of money at a limit like 2/4 or 3/6 and have no intention of trying to beat tougher games with more variance and bigger swings money wise.
But to address your question, I think a lot of the play at higher limits is just simply variance. The winner over any small period of time is probably going to be the person who runs the best. That is not to say that everyone has the same skill level, but at the top they’re all very good players and a lot of it just comes down to variance.
As for why would Ivey play Doyle If he thinks that he has a positive expectation, whether it is a small edge, or a large edge, and that edge times the stakes he is playing is greater than the edge he has times a lower stakes game, then surely if he is well rolled for that game he should be playing it. And I think a lot of it comes down to ego, people thinking they are winners in a game that they might not be.
So what is your own plan for your poker career?
Well right now I’m playing mainly 5/10 nl, and I'd like to continue playing that until I deem myself well rolled, mentally ready, and skilled enough for 10/20 and then I will attempt to move up. I'll continue doing that as far as I can take it. As for making it my career, I will continue going to grad school and see how that goes, but in the end I can’t see myself doing something other than poker. However, I don’t really know if that will be possible.
The games are already becoming much tougher than they were just a few months ago, and with the new legislation who knows what will happen with online poker. I’m fairly confident poker will always remain popular because people will always want to make money as easily as possible, but I just don’t know how profitable games in the future will be
What would make you any different from other winning NL5/10 player? Is there something you would think differences you as a player?
Two things. One is my adaptability to the game I'm in. I can play very tight if I have to, very aggressive, passive, I can mix up my style to whatever will work best in the game I'm in.
The second thing, which is sort of a branch of the first, is that in the standard games on 5/10, I am one of the more aggressive players but I still retain the ability to make folds. this is especially important in the full ring games, where most people are either too tight or incapable of folding.
I think I've found the right balance to attack that game and i see myself as a huge winner in them.
And I guess one last thing that sort of separates me is my total tilt control. I cant remember the last time a loss even affected me in the slightest, No matter how the session is going I will continue playing my best as long as I am playing. If i ever feel myself slipping a little bit I stop playing immediately.
And how do you think you managed to have these 'abilities'? What advice would you give to a new player to 'get' these?
The first thing is good bankroll management. If you have a lot of money relative to the stakes you are playing then you don’t need to worry about losing a few buyins. The second thing would be realizing that a bad beat in no way changes your long term expectation. Who cares if you lose a huge pot now, you are practicing bankroll management, it doesn’t make any difference in the long run. And finally, I would recommend that people be open minded. If you made a bad play or something don’t get angry with yourself.
Ask yourself if it was really a bad play or not, and if it was, figure out how you should have played it differently. Really try and be creative and always ask yourself the following questions when appropriate: could i have won more, could i have gotten him to fold, could i have lost less, is this the best possible way to play the hand give the circumstances, where am i unnecessarily losing money, etc Just try and question everything you do, don’t assume anything is a winning play.
Having that said, Assume you need to start playing poker from the beginning again. How would you do it?
If I knew little to nothing about the game, I would first read available literature to give me a good idea of strategy. Then I'd start playing .01/.02 NL with a 200 bankroll on the easiest site available and find people I could talk to about hands. Then I would just focus at all times and always try and play my best and always review how I played afterwards.
A good question is, if I were to start a totally new game and knew nothing about it, how would I start. And I guess the answer would be, read available literature, find people I can discuss it with, start playing the easiest levels possible, and work my way up, constantly reviewing my play and trying to improve every aspect I can.
You mean new game, like another poker game, bridge or something like that?
I mean something I have no experience in, I’m fairly proficient at all forms of poker, and actually play a bit of bridge. I mean like backgammon, a game I have never played
The approach I would take in the abstract is the same for almost any game.
In recent news, you ‘won’ the prize of being GreenPlastic's protegé, how is this working for you? Can you tell us about this?
It's pretty cool. Me and another player, Brian Rue (goes by the handle hyperaggrdonk on most sites) and Taylor (greenplastic) meet up about once a week and one of the three of us plays, the other 2 watch and we talk over situations and what we would do. Taylor has a program where we can view the other persons desktop, so we can see what that person sees.
It's hard for him to really conceptually teach me anything because I'm already a winner at 5/10, but there are certain situations that come up that he has more experience than I do and he is able to add some useful insight. It also is nice to have another friend who is a very good poker player who I can ask questions when I am unsure about something.
How about your poker influences in the past and present, is there someone you admire or you inspired your game on?
Not really. I do admire lots of better players, but I've pretty much shaped my game based on trial and error and lots of thinking and constantly questioning everything I do. I think if you try to base your game off of someone else you are limited by what they are capable of, whereas if you always try and improve everything you do your potential is limitless.
So, we know your opinion that everyone has something in their game to improve. What do you consider this is for you?
I see certain weaknesses in my game that I wouldn’t like to mention because I don’t want others to know what I find weak in my game, but I do think I need to improve my 2-4 handed play. As I move into the higher limits the presence of bigger handed (7-9 player) games will be more rare and I'll have to play a lot more HU, something I have little experience in. And of course I think one can always make better reads, stronger lay downs, thinner value bets to extract more money, more believable bluffs, etc So I suppose I should try to focus more and get the best reads possible.
Where do you play your best, online? At live casinos? What is your experience in the second?
I actually haven’t played in a casino in a long time (almost a year now), but I suspect I would play much much much better live than I do online because my strengths in poker (tilt control, strategical approach, mathematical ability, patience, discipline, pattern recognition, and memory) are bigger live. For example, people are more likely to tilt, there are worse players live. You have to figure out the pot size for yourself, it’s a lot slower, you need more patience. Recognizing what people do and making logical deductions based off that and remembering everything that goes on is super important when 1 tabling. I just think everything I am good at is perfect for live poker, I just am a lot more comfortable playing in my boxers and not having to tip dealers and such.
What are your biggest accomplishments in your poker career?
As a cash game player its hard to really have accomplishments besides winning money, so I guess the biggest accomplishment I have is the amount of money I’ve won. Besides that, I think I'm one of the best full ring players on stars below the 25/50 level, and I guess that is sort of an accomplishment.
What do you think of the game, socially? What does your friends/family have to say about this? How do you see poker in 10 years?
My parents both really like/enjoy poker and they are glad I am doing well in it, but they would like to see me get a PHD before totally committing myself to poker so I have options if anything ever happens with poker.
My friends are social players and we occasionally play together for fun, but they don’t take the game too seriously. As for how I see poker in 10 years, I think the games will be much tougher and most people will have a better idea of how to play. I also think it won’t remain as popular as it is right now. As I said earlier there will always be games to play in because everyone would like an easy way to make a living, but I don’t think there will be nearly as many as there are currently.
Do you think ANYONE can be good at poker with the right teacher/experience/determination? Is high poker skill something natural?
Certain people who lack a level of intelligence (mental retardation) probably are not capable of ever being good at poker. But for anyone with average intelligence or higher, I'm quite sure with the right teaching, determination and experience they could be winners at 2/4 and 3/6 nl in less than a year.
It is good that you address the time, because new players think they will get good BR before a realistic time. How true is this? What do you think it would be the average time for someone to reach your stakes?
Most people will never reach nl1k.Beacuse they lack determination, discipline, or something else will prevent them from ever reaching it. Anyone who is determined and disciplined and has people he can talk to about stuff should be able to get there in less than 2 years.
So tell me about some rough times in your poker career, ever had one of those? How did you go trough it? Any memorable things in your poker life? (Hands included)
I went through a rough time about a year ago. After the world series, I was doing quite well and worked my bankroll up to about 5k and was playing 1/2 nl at the time. Someone convinced me to give pot limit omaha a try, and not realizing the swings I quickly lost almost all of what I had online (afterwards I had about 500 left).Basically what I did was took a break from poker, started playing again in February this year and from then on I've been doing really well. As for memorable hands, hmmm the only one that pops out as anything non standard is my beat out of the World Series last year. I got it in on an AQ7 flop with AQ vs. AQ halfway through day 1 and he runner runnered a flush to knock me out. Pretty cool way to go.
Talk to me a little about Balance in life. It is of course important that people have a balance in their life activities, in order to be healthy. I believe it would even help them with their tilt problems. How is your life balance?
It's pretty good. I do spend a lot of time thinking about, talking about, and playing poker, but I make time for lots of other things in life. I probably go out to bars once or twice a week, watch plenty of sports, hang out with friends a good deal, go to the gym a fair amount (don’t play sports competitively anymore, but I'd like to start playing baseball in leagues again) and I'm still in school.
You are a 22 year old player; Do you think 'age' would give players an edge over others? Some may argue young players are creative but others may say older players are more mature and less likely to tilt, what’s your view on this?
The biggest advantage young players have is stamina and quick thinking. They are able to play longer sessions and multitable heavily, whereas older players cant do both quite as well as the young kids. I do think being more mentally mature helps with tilt control, but I think age is much less important than experience in this game.
What do you think of the future of online poker? What do you think of the US Law against online gambling?
The only thing I know is that the legislature makes it tougher to put money online. This will deter a lot of bad players from playing, which will in turn make the games tougher. I think eventually there will be some sort of agreement and online poker will be legalized and regulated, but the damage being done now will hurt the popularity of it.
Do you see poker as something the government should protect certain people from playing? Is there anything you see 'right' with the legislation?
No, besides not allowing young children to gamble I think any man or woman of a certain age should be allowed to play poker if he wants to. As for anything I see "right" with the legislation, I haven’t really read enough about it or the reasoning behind it to comment on that.
Do you think knowing different games can help you improve on some other game? For example does knowing Omaha, Stud or Razz help with hold’em? Credit to Muhweli
Sure, knowing other games can help you improve in hold’em. I don’t know if I would recommend learning other games for that reason, more for game selection purposes, however, yes that is a true statement
Are there any players who you like to play with? Are there any players who you avoid playing against? Yes/No, Why is this
There are certain players who I enjoy playing against, either because they challenge me as a player or I know their style well and I can make money from them. I usually avoid playing regulars HU, and there are certain players I don’t like to play vs 3 handed, but I don’t really avoid anyone in particular in bigger handed games, however, I do avoid certain tough games where there are a lot of strong players and no fish.
Do you think that the current breed of online players is capable of beating the live superstars? How about your own experiences playing with them? Credit to Muhweli
I think the top online players are probably stronger cash game players than the live superstars in terms of no limit. In the mixed games not many online players can compete with those guys. the only top live player I’ve ever played against was Phil Laak on UB and he didn’t seem like a very tough opponent, although he was pretty good
What do you think of the current online forums? Are they any helpful? Do you recommend to online players to visit forums and be part of them?
I do recommend players visit forums, its a great way to learn. It helps a lot to see what other people think about certain plays, either to reassure what you think about them or to give you another creative perspective.
Would you like to say anything to the Liquidpoker.net Community =]?
Go f*ck yourself, liquidpoker. Ok, poor attempt at anchorman impersonation. I’d just like to say thanks to everyone on LP who has helped make me a better player, pretty much everyone I've learned from or talked to about poker has been a member of this site and without the people on this site I wouldn’t be anywhere near the player I am today.
Thanks for doing this Interview , Daut. You are a young, great player with fantastic goals, Keep it up!
My pleasure man. Merry christmas LP