Let's start with.. Yes, you guessed. General Info. Name/Age/Location?
I'm Travis Black, 21, Live in a crappy town called Klamath Falls in Oregon, USA
How did you find about Poker?
I used to play a very competitive/community based online multiplayer game
you may have heard of it Starcraft: Broodwar; a guy who was/is on the same clan, or "team", or whatever as me introduced me to poker: Liquid.Nazgul. Now he plays poker as nazgul18 online.
He gave me my first money to start with and more when I went bankrupt hehe
Should we say your begining at Poker was hard?
Well, I took a much less cautious and disciplined approach than most new players. I didn't manage my bankroll at all so when I was first starting out, I went bankrupt often
but I think I picked the game up pretty fast. I was destroying tournaments on pokerstars left and right about 4 months after I first started playing.
Was that affecting your play? What motivated you to keep playing?
at first poker was very fun because it was new, and I already saw how skill played into the game a little bit, but the main thing that kept me motivated is the players I saw that were always up money, every single day.
I'm very competitive so I kind of just decided I was going to quit playing broodwar and instead devote all my time to poker and become the best I could. Still am(though I don't devote ALL of my time to poker now, I guess).
About 6 months after I played my first hand I dropped out of college and started playing poker for a living.
Interesting, That must have been a hard decision?
I paid my parents $350 rent a week and bought my own stuff. So I guess that was a motivator, too. It wasn't a hard decision actually, I hated school. I enjoyed the soci<A name="cutnews"></A>al aspect of college but I was going to get kicked out anyways, I just constantly failed everything. I generally didn't even show up to class.
Looking back, I'm surprised I survived doing this for a living. Guess it's a damn good thing I ran good my first few months as a professional poker player.
I didn't even have enough money to play for a living. My first day back at home my bankroll was less than $100, and my parents wanted to see me cash out $50 every day in order to believe I could do this for a living.
Pretty tough demands for a new player.
How did you get to earn so much? What was your initial BR and how did you follow moving up stakes?
Well, after just learning the basics after multiple loans from Nazgul, I started to try to play for a living with less than $100, like I said.
I just started at .01/.02nl and 5 dollar sngs. From there I just.. worked up. Playing about 18 hours a day.
Within a month I was playing 1/2nl and doing ok. Maybe $100-$150 a day profit. I was still using horrible bankroll management though. Which plagued me for the next... 2 years I guess. I still have terrible bankroll management to this day.
My first big break was when I started playing multi table tournaments instead of cash games.
I caught on to MTT play pretty fast I think. I won maybe $20,000 that next month from MTTs but after that I had a drought and struggled to survive for the next 6 months.
Do you consider yourself more of a Tournament player than Cash game player?
I play absolutely everything. Every game, every format.
These days you are more likely to see me in cash games, though. They are simply better for profit.
The players in tournaments are easier, though.
I guess my tournament game is a little bit stronger than my cash game play, if I'm actually focusing, but I think they are pretty close.
How was your family/friends and social support about poker within the time?
My parents were amazing.
I was taking a total risk trying to play for a living.
And it definitely had to sound far fetched.
But they gave me a good chance to prove myself, and when I did they were very proud of my accomplishments and still are to this day.
My friends thought it was weird, but they would support me through just about anything. Some of them thought it was stupid because they don't understand the amount of skill involved in poker, but that's their loss. They have to understand their is some skill involved with how successful I've been now, though.
Do you believe in luck?
Do you consider yourself as a lucky person?
I'm not superstitious, no.
No more lucky than anyone else , well depends on what you mean by luck
I guess I was lucky to be born in a country like the USA and to be healthy and intelligent or whatever.
But it's all relative. The suicide rate is probably higher in LA than it is in the deep jungles of brazil or something. So obviously what you're given is not as important as how you use it.
Talking about intelligence, Is ''Poker skill'' something someone can develop? or rather something you were born with? I believe Intelligence has a lot to do with Poker, what do you think about this topic?
I think intelligence is extremely important, especially once you go past the basics of the game.
There are many players that I am sure cannot get past a certain level of ability in poker simply because they are not intelligent enough.
So I guess you could say that poker skill is found through a mixture of practice and intelligence.
But there are many ways to practice, many shortcuts you can take to learn faster(having a friend who is good at poker to talk to is probably the best one. The more friends and the more they know about poker, the better).
There are other traits that I think are important to develop poker skill, or just to play good poker, though.
Discipline is incredibly important. Every good poker player has incredible levels of discipline.
Maybe not all the time, but when they are focused, playing their "A" game, good poker players constantly do the opposite of what our brain naturally feels urges to do. <------------- gamble
Do you like playing Online or Live better?
If I am playing with good opponents or a fun bunch of people I definitely enjoy playing live more.
Also, as far as tournaments are concerned, I enjoy playing live 1000x more.
However, I think Online is a better place to make profit.
Do you play different online and live?
No matter how much more fishy the live players are, playing in a casino simply cannot compete with being able to multi table, or being able to play twice as many hands per hour, or not having to tip dealers.
I play just a tiny bit different live, but it's just adjustments that I make because the live players tend to play different than online players.
Can you tell us a little more about this? Maybe some tips when playing Live?
Well, in a live game players tend to be way less patient. Many players play too fast with mediocre hands, especially preflop.
You almost never see players fold kings to aces preflop in a live game. Online, it happens much more often.
In live games players are way less likely to fold a very big hand that they actually should fold if they stopped and thought about it. This is due to the fact that there is many less hands played per hour in a live game than online, I think.
It's really hard to fold your aces to possible turned trips when you most likely won't see aces for the rest of the day.
Because of this I end up raising my big hands much harder and faster live than I would online, since I'm more likely to get paid off.
I'm also more likely to have a preflop allin where I have kings or queens.
Can you describe your playing style?
Full ring. 5/10 NL and How about 6-Max.
at least loose by my standards
that's prolly 18-20%
im ridiculously tight in certain situations in full NL ring which lowers the % alot. I fold blinds alot more than most people.
6 max NL?
I think I'm pretty tight in 6 max NL compared to alot of other players, so I guess I would consider my game there to be "tight-aggressive"
I'd say im about 19-22% in 6max NL ring
What number of persons do you prefer to play against?
You must have more ability for something or like something more than the other?
The amount of people I prefer to play against is really based on my mood.. but I guess I would have to say that If It's a fixed limit game I prefer 2-4 people. But In NL games I prefer to multitable as many tables as I can, all of the tables completely full(9 handed, I don't particularily like any more people than 9)
Nice, let's get a little more personal now .
What is your favorite hand?
Im definitely happiest when I see AA, so I guess I'd have to say that.
However I'm much more fond of j9 suited than I statistically should be
I like 23 suited too though.
Do you have any story to share with these hands?
I've simply played too many hands to remember any of them.
actually, there is 1 hand I remember..
This is the only hand that sticks out in my head out of much more than a million that I've played
it was during the summer, almost 2 years ago,
I was running pretty bad then, wasn't having a good time.. but I had to make a living.
I was deep in the saturday night 10+1 rebuys on pokerstars. Like top 18 deep
I got AA, raised it up to 3x the blinds from early position, got min reraised from the button. I called when it got back to me. I had like 10x BB left in my stack after the 6xBB I put into the pot preflop.
So I was sitting pretty well at that point.
Anyways, flop came down A25
I checked, button went allin, I called, he flips over QQ.
Turn Q river Q.
not a happy story, but it's the only hand that sticks out to me.
Do you think you have Something that makes you feel different from other players?
If so, what is it?
Well, I feel kind of arrogant to say yes
I have never known anyone as reckless and unconcerned about money as I am
I feel that's been both a gift and a curse.
It allows me to play fearlessly and has led to me playing with better players more often, which has probably helped me increase my level of skill faster.
However, I do not manage my money well at all. I could be much, much wealthier than I am now if I actually did manage my money well.
And by managing my money, I don't just mean playing within my bankroll.
Sometimes I just plain waste money.. I'll play high stakes and randomly just go allin over and over for fun.. or join a $100 rebuys, rebuy every hand for a half hour, and then just decide im bored and stop playing.
I'm just more concerned with having fun than anything else, I guess.
What are reads for your game? And talking about reads, do you wear any sunglasses when playing live, something alike ?
We both know someone who use Oakleys
I don't wear sunglasses, no. I think I have a pretty damn good poker face.
Do you consider yourself more of a mechanical player or a player who will believe in his reads.
The latter, 100% the style I play you absolutely have to be.
Then again, all the high limit sharks are players who trust their reads.
Even the mechanical ones have a high level of confidence in their ability and can make good reads.
But in general, the loose/aggressive ones have to make good reads more often, and tend to be better at doing it.
Do you have any Pro or non-pro Poker player you admire out there?
A few, I know very few world class players personally, so I really can't say that I admire the people I don't know....
Except Phil Ivey.
I don't know him, but I admire him anyways. He's just so damn good. He's the best, period.
Also, if u watch video footage of him he never complains about a bad beat. Ever. Never says a single word. Never even makes a sound.
Now that's baddass.
I admire many online players. Skill wise I would have to say that I definitely admire Ozzy(bigslick789 and now ozzy 87 on pokerstars. he also was theseize for a while)
He's only like 19 years old but he is absolutely incredible. IMO he's definitely top 5 online players in the world right now, and I guarrantee by the end of this year he will be the best(if I'm not )
What are your future goals for poker?
My future goals...
Well, im not much of a long-term thinker, But I'd like to do very well in WSOP this year. Other than that I don't really have any goals other than to make a huge amount of money.
Is there something you need to improve in your game?
Well anyone can always improve at any game
But as far as leaks.. I'd say my biggest weakness is lack of discipline/occasional tilt.
I'd also like to improve at heads up NL holdem when deep stacked.
How do you handle with tilt?
I don't tilt too often these days.. though I know some players who basically never tilt... so even just a little tilt is more than I want.
I generally end up tilting after mass repeated bad beats. Especially when alot of the bad beats are by hands that shouldn't be at the showdown in the first place.
I guess the same as everyone else
As Travis and the poker player you are, what would like to tell Liquidpoker.net readers, any advice to be succesfull at Poker?
If you want to be good at this game, you better be incredibly competitive and incredibly determined more players are trying to become great at this game than ever now. the vast majority of them do not understand how much luck plays a part in the game
as far as new players are concerned, when they win it's cuz they play well and when they lose it's cuz they were having bad luck It can be hard to tell whether that's the case or it's actually the opposite. Good or bad luck can be heavily disguised in poker. Essentially what im saying is:
Don't get cocky if you're winning: the fact is, you may just be having good luck. And if you aren't just having good luck, you definitely aren't having bad luck.
And everyone eventually will have bad luck.
And if the bad luck comes really hard and really heavy, you're gonna need to be very determined to stick it out.. cuz it can get real tough.
So in conclusion, if you think you have a stuff to be a good poker player, then practice, determination, and discipline will get you to where you need to be, that's it i guess