As promised, we have another interview for you. It should be no surprise that this is yet another player with a solid Starcraft background. LP’s own “Doomer” has taken some time out of his day to answer a few questions on how he has managed to build $50 into a solid roll for $1000 NL.
Liquid Poker: Let’s begin with some of the basics – Name, age, location, hobbies other than poker?
AJ: Anthony Gonzalez, 20, Florida, Brood War is the only consistent hobby I have
LP: How did you get the name “Doomer”
AJ: My mom got me these 3 plastic boomerangs to play with when I was a kid I would go to our backyard and just hurl ‘em for a while (it was a pretty big yard in our old house). So one day she’s coming home from grocery shopping or something and I hurled one right at her and she basically matrix dodged it started laughing hysterically saying how she’s gonna have to start calling me doomerang, and when I started playing Brood War it got shortened to DooMeR
LP: When did you first start playing poker, and what brought you to play it?
AJ: The first time I played was at my 17th birthday party. We played a little home game SnG for a dollar or something and I won. Basically my friends and I at the time were just curious about it all at the same time, and it kinda pushed us to get into it. We had home games going constantly after that for about a year
LP: Are any of your friends still playing to this day? If so does has having close friends helped keep you motivated to play?
AJ: Yes, my cousin (meal on LP) and Jorge (also LPer) are still playing but lower stakes as they have not dedicated themselves so much as of yet, but both are good in their own right. I don’t actually get much advice from them but they have helped me a ton in letting discuss their hands with them, as it just helps me just basically practice most of my ABCs, and I feel I have a very good foundation thanks to them always bringing me hands to look at
LP: When did you start playing poker seriously, and what motivated you to take this step?
AJ: Well basically what motivated me was everyone talking about poker in the sports and games section of Teamliquid way before Liquid Poker was around. That basically motivated me to put 50$ on Poker Stars on January first of 2006. From there I always took it seriously, because I knew from the start I wanted to be just like the Rekruls and Nazguls of the time who were just destroying the 10/20 games on stars (at that time it was the highest stakes on stars and probably one of the toughest 10/20 games online)
LP: Quickly, what is your drink of choice?
AJ: I guess Coke or Pepsi but in Aruba I had Red Bull forced on me by Sixpeppers and now I literally have my fridge stocked full of it.
LP: What were some of the initial problems you faced, and how did you manage to combat these problems?
AJ: Right from the start I was a consistent winner, so aside from variance and that I was inexperienced and obviously had a lot of leaks. I don’t think I ever had any problems that were out of the ordinary. Not until 200NL anyway, where I had to change my style from being so nitty and open up my game some. Stuff like tilt control and such were really never a problem as I had a lot of discipline from Starcraft. Sometimes I almost think Starcraft was more frustrating then poker
LP: How else would you say Starcraft has helped with your poker game?
AJ: It’s probably given me all the tools that I needed to actually emotionally handle and manage my poker job. Discipline to play long hours helped me develop the ability to be able to concentrate for long periods of time. Desire to compete and get better, also from going from the bottom of the ladder to near the top once, it had already taught me the mentality of keeping your eye on the prize, as I see many people struggle with short-term results and let it affect them emotionally.
LP: What is the most common problem you see in a struggling player’s game?
AJ: I would say the thing that sticks out the most is just that they are not using all the resources at hand to get better, like CardRunners, forums and hand discussion with people that are good. They often just settle for one of them and leave out the others, like just troll the forums but never discuss THEIR hands with other people. Besides just that, also a kind of hopeless attitude is always sort of standard in these people. You really have to be optimistic, and you have to understand that no matter how screwed up variance seems, it really could still get a lot worse. They just seem to think the world hates them and so they think it just happens to them, and that other people that are winning just run good.
LP: Alright so what stakes do you currently play?
AJ: Mostly 5/10 but when that’s not running I’ll load up 3/6. Recently I’ve been jumping into weak 10/20 games but my roll isn't really fit for that yet. However I wouldn't mind losing a few buyins if it was a good enough game.
LP: What sort of bankroll management are you using to take these shots?
AJ: I really don’t have a set rule; however I do certainly like to have 40 buyins for the stake that I basically call "home." Usually I wait for 30 buyins for the next one before I start taking shots. However sometimes I’ll take shots with less or even more, depending how comfortable I am with the tables I’m looking to sit at.
LP: Have you set any long term goals for yourself?
AJ: Well in pure poker terms, I basically am right around where I was shooting for. However I would like to continue bankroll building and moving up as much as my edge permits. In like real-life terms, thanks to poker I've found I’m really interested in investing in real-estate. So poker has definitely paid off more than just financially, and has pretty much improved all aspects of my life. It gave me a lot of direction and built a lot of character in me I think.
LP: What has poker changed in your life for the better? Also have you seen it change anything for the worse?
AJ: Well for the better there are definitely a lot of characteristics that you need to be a successful at poker that are also very critical for life. For example, decisiveness, being willing to take calculated risks, and just in general they have made me more stable in life, and a stronger as a person I guess.
As for the worse, it definitely has to be that the value of money has been lost, and I’m finding myself to be a little more materialistic. Then again it’s probably because I’m always talking to degenerate poker players! In general poker has had so many positives and so few negatives that I wouldn't trade my time with poker for anything
LP: What does your family think of you playing poker?
AJ: Well my mom loves her new car . In general except for my immediate family and like my cousins who are really close with me, no one really either knows the extent I’m involved with poker or else they don’t look too fondly on it. I keep getting told to get a job…
LP: Where do you think the strength in your game lies?
AJ: Probably a good solid ABC foundation and I think that’s basically one of the most important things. Since that is the bulk of everyone’s game anyway.
LP: What do you think is the weakest aspect of your game?
AJ: I would say I’m lacking creativity to be blunt. I could be a little more creative with bluffs sometimes as well as for value betting.
LP: Do you have any aspirations outside of poker?
AJ: Ballet! .... j/k... As for a career of some sort, technically no, however investing has definitely caught my interest, so I want to see where that leads me in the future (probably going back to college to take some courses in the area). My only aspiration in life is to have one full of freedom to do whatever I want with it.
LP: Are there any players you look up to?
AJ: Daut actually, since he was the resident nit before PCA, and then I took over and I’m now carrying the torch. Also MezmerizePlz because he is really cool guy and he just knows so much about the game. He has a knack for thinking outside the box and it’s really amazing.
LP: Are there any other poker variants you plan to learn in the future?
AJ: PLO. Basically I just want to stay hip with whatever the fish are flocking to which I assume is going to be PLO in the future.
LP: Where there any times where you were struggling with poker? For instance, have you ever thought poker wouldn’t be a successful career choice? If so how did you get through it?
AJ: Everyday is a struggle in poker . I've had many breakeven stretches and downswings and the only real way to get through ‘em is just deal with it. Emotions are the biggest problems a poker player can have and it’s important to not let them get out of control or bother you in anyway. I have a real strong will and am probably a sadomasochist and don’t know it
LP: What is your most exciting poker moment thus far?
AJ: I think just the times I was hanging out with the guys in Aruba talking about poker, playing it and living the baller style life was the most excited I was towards poker. Although I’ve had many small moments where I was ecstatic that was definitely the biggest moment I felt "wow this is life at its greatest"
LP: You mention living the baller lifestyle in Aruba. Has your lifestyle in general changed much?
AJ: Yeah I guess it has, I'm able to travel around quite a bit, and it has allowed me to basically pick up any new toys I really want. Basically it’s given me a lot more freedom which is what I wanted from the start. I don’t actually spend a ton, but if I want something I'll go and get it.
LP: What’s your next big purchase you plan on making?
AJ: I'm looking to pick up a BMW M3! PIMP
LP: Is there anything you'd like to say to the readers of the LP community?
AJ: Yea, stop telling me your bad beat stories and flooding my MSN, I get them too damnit I don’t need yours . Also shout out to my mom and dad for having me, all the Ventrilo guys that have really helped me move my game along a lot faster than I could have hoped. LP and all my friends and family y0. Also anyone can do this, it’s just a matter of dealing with the shit that comes with it, don't quit and don’t think negative because of short-term results, apply yourselves and you will see results.
LP: Thanks for taking the time to do the interview!
AJ: No Prob!