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Andoni Larrabe: “I Can Feel Weight, Pressure of 2014 Main Event”
With poker booming in Spain, November Niner Andoni Larrabe has a chance to put himself on the map by becoming the first Spaniard to win the Main Event since Carlos Mortensen in 2001.
Larrabe has flown under the radar compared to some of his fellow November Niners but with 22 million chips (which puts him in fourth) he shouldn’t be underestimated.
Larrabe made the trip to Barcelona for EPT100 with the goal of brushing up his poker game prior to Main Event final table.
PokerListings grabbed Larrabe for a quick interview to talk about his preparation for the Main Event, his experience in live tournaments and that signature Bilbao jersey he wore at the 2014 WSOP.
By Dirk Oetzmann
PL: Four weeks after reaching the WSOP Main Event how much has your life changed?
AL: Actually, my life hasn’t changed at all. The only difference is that I have the final table on my mind all the time.
Before the WSOP, there was nothing that bothered me, but now there is that final table in the back of my head, and I just want to get to that day when it starts, as quickly as possible.
PL: You won a big PCA side event for $200k+, so you're at least used to sitting at a big live table?
AL: Yes, I’ve actually been sitting at a couple of live final tables so it’s nothing I’m scared off at all.
But this one is just a different thing. There is so much money involved and so much pressure too. I can feel the weight and I’m looking forward to the relief.
PL: What’s more important to you, the money or the title?
AL: Probably… the money (laughs). It’s just so much money. But the title means a lot too. It’s quite simply the most important title, and every player dreams of winning it.
PL: Are you playing the EPTs in Barcelona and London to practice?
AL: It is a kind of training for sure. I have already played two tournaments in Barcelona (32nd in the Estrellas High Roller). If I bust from the Main Event, I’ll probably go for another one.
In October I’m going to go to London and play some events there, too.
PL: You were originally an online player. Are you now trying to switch to live poker?
AL: Yes, I used to play online mainly. Recently I’ve been transitioning to live poker more. I have focused on tournaments in live poker so I decided to play as many of the big live tournaments as possible.
PL: What do your preparations for the WSOP in November look like? Any private coaches? Mental training? Fake tournaments?
AL: Actually I haven’t played anything since the WSOP Main Event. Coming here to Barcelona and playing is the first part of my preparations.
But honestly, I think if you know the game, and if you know what you’re doing, you don’t have to prepare much.
PL: There is a rumour that you started playing at 16. Is that why you have so much poker knowledge?
AL: It’s true, I started playing at 16. At the beginning I was playing under my father’s account. I did that for a couple of months without really paying attention to the bankroll.
When my parents saw that, they cut down everything and I was offline. After that it took a while until I got back into playing.
PL: You were wearing a jersey of Atletico Bilbao in Las Vegas. Are you a big football fan?
AL: Well, I like football and Bilbao is my favourite team. Also, I like the shirt.
I’m not a huge fan, I don’t spend every weekend in the stadium but I like it, it’s funny.
PL: Bilbao is from Basque, and you are Basque, too. Was the jersey meant to be a political statement?
AL: No. I’m not a very political or controversial person. I don’t think it’s very important if you are Spanish or Basque.
I just thought Bilbao is a good team, and they’ve actually been doing very well lately.