Interview with last week's #tpt Winner
Share with us a little about who you are?
Well, my name is Brian Hughes. I live and work in Hanover, NH, at Dartmouth College. Dartmouth happens to also be where I graduated from, back in 1989/90. I had spent a little over a year working as a student computer consultant and pretty much fell into my first job right after I finished up. I've been working there, since then.
When did you start playing poker?
I've pretty much been around poker just about all of my life. Back when I was a kid, growing up on Long Island, my mother moved back in with her parents (my grandparents) when I was 3. My grandparents used to host a weekly home poker game, which they did pretty much all the way through my college graduation. I think my grandmother taught me the basics of poker when I was about 9 or so and I played a bunch while I was attending Dartmouth in the late '80s, but I didn't start playing NL Hold'em until around late 2001, back when Pokerroom.com started getting popular.
What is your favorite poker game? Why?
Hmm... I'm not sure I have a favorite. I try to play all the usual forms, but No Limit Texas Hold'em is definitely my best game. It's the one that I've studied the most and put the most time into improving, but I'm also a pretty big fan of Pot-Limit Omaha.
Do you play in many poker tournaments? Is so, where?
Yes, I play in live tournaments, quite regularly. In addition to taking one to two trips out to Las Vegas, each year for the past few years, along with a few trips to Foxwoods and Turning Stone Casino (in upstate NY), as luck would have it, poker is legal in New Hampshire! I'm a fairly well known regular in 3 or 4 of the poker rooms that operate in the state and try to play every weekend, bankroll permitting, of course. :)
What is the most valuable poker lesson you've ever learned?
Wow. I don't know if I could single out any one lesson, but I would have to rank understanding proper bankroll management, even when I don't always practice it, pretty high up on the lessons learned list. Fortunately, I've only gone "poker broke" a couple of times, not actually broke.
Did you have a strategy when you play the #tpt?
Not right at the start. My initial plan was to test the waters with a few hands to see if I could pick up some chips. Turns out that didn't go as well as I wanted and was actually one of the short stacks early on. But I got a couple of good hands in the mid stages which really let me open my game up and I pretty much used good pre-flop aggression, and catching some hands in key spots, to outlast everyone at the final table.
Were there any hands that you recall in the #tpt which were key to you winning?
I have to say that there were 2 hands that really stood out for me. The first was in the mid-late stages, when I was around the chip average, with $3145, it's 100/200 blinds. I had been pretty active at the table, raising before the flop. I'm in the SB with 66 and it's folded all the way around. In the BB is cprpoker, who is a good player, but hadn't had much to play, so he'd been folding behind my raises most of the tourney.
I raise to $600 and cprpoker, who has $2820 behind his $200 BB, pushes all in. I think for a bit and put him on making a move, since I'd been so active, but this looks like a great spot for me to possibly double up, to a really healthy stack, and get a good player off my immediate left. So I type into the chat "lets race" and call. Fortunately, cprpoker has 33 and my hand holds up for a really nice pot.
The second hand happened, right towards the end, when we were 3 handed. I finally picked up pocket aces, in the BB. I just called Street3's pre-flop raise, the flop came out K high, he shoved, I called and had way the best of it, since he didn't even have a pair, yet. I had Street covered, my hand held up and put me in a great spot to go heads up with jordie21. I didn't realize it was only going to be 2 hands of heads up, but I had the chip lead when jordie21 re-raised all in, pre-flop. I called with A Q, he had 8 8 and I flopped a Q.
Do you have any poker goals?
I don't know if I have any specific goals, really. Obviously, I'd love cash big, or win (naturally :) a big money tournament. But I know that's somewhere down the road, when I'm in a better bankroll position to take that kind of shot. However, I know I still have a lot to learn and plenty of leaks to plug.
Brian, thanks so much for taking the time to share your story with us. Thanks!