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Question: What was your greatest poker moment?
Answer: The best feeling was probably in 1992, when I won the Best All-Around at the Commerce. I just went on a total tournament rush and made like 10 or 11 final tables. They had this trophy for best all-around player, and I walked by it every day in the case, just looking at it. When I won that, I just felt super-good.
Question: Which do you prefer, cash games or tournaments?
Answer: I like them both. I used to prefer the cash games, but now with the influx of these young players playing No-Limit Hold'em, the tournaments have gotten pretty exciting.
Question: What is the longest stretch you have ever played?
Answer: I played Hamid Dastmalchi one time for about 100 hours straight at the Mirage. At the end of it, they had to take him out of the Mirage in an ambulance. I joked that it was all my bad beats I put on him that put him into the hospital, but I think it was the 50 packs of cigarettes he smoked.
Question: Do you have any close poker friends?
Answer: My closest poker friends are probably John Hennigan, Huck Seed, Phil Ivey, and Barry Greenstein.
Question: How much of a rush does poker give you?
Answer: Well, I'll tell you what� when I first started playing, when I'd play just 15/30 limit, my heart would just pound. Now it's like, it takes a super-high limit, or getting super-deep into a tournament. If I get to the final table in a big tournament that will certainly make my heart pound.
Question: Do you think listening to music at the table is a distraction?
Answer: I think it can relax you somewhat, but overall I wouldn't recommend it. I think you do lose a little bit of concentration.
Question: How do you maintain focus in long tournaments?
Answer: I think the best way to deal with a month and a half-long tournament like the World Series is to be well rested, exercise, not super-heavy, but just a little bit every day, and get your sleep right, and if you don't feel like playing a tournament, don't play. Take a day off; take a couple of days off, until you feel like being there. If you want to be there, you should probably do much better than if you don't want to be there.
Question: Do you like bigger tournaments or smaller ones?
Answer: As far as I'm concerned, it's the more, the merrier. Last year at the World Series with fields of 2000, and the last one 5000, this is great. It is harder to make a final table and win a tournament, but the payoffs are bigger, and I really like to see this influx of players into the game.
Question: What is your favorite tournament to play in?
Answer: My favorite tournament to play in has to be the World Series of Poker. It's just where all the poker players and all the gamblers get together. There's just something special about it, but I can't really put my finger on it.
Question: Why is the World Series turnout so much larger than the WPT events?
Answer: For one thing, the World Series was qualifying players online for the whole year. I don't even know how many players qualified online, but I would say that had to put a couple thousand players into the tournament. Just the fact that some newer players are going to be in there is going to kind of help everyone else want to play it more and get involved, so I think that brings players who wouldn't necessarily go to a tournament with only 300 or 400 players.
Question: Do you think the popularity of poker will be a curve?
Answer: I think it's going to get bigger before it pulls back a little bit, and even after it pulls back, I think it's going to be bigger than it is today. What I think will keep that going strong are all these young kids, 21 to 28 years old, who are so into poker. They are so focused on becoming better students of the game that I think they are going to keep it strong for 20 or 30 years.