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An Interview with Full Tilt Poker Professional Andy Bloch
Andy Bloch holds two degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Law degree from Harvard University. He is famous for being a member of the MIT Blackjack team, but upon taking up poker seriously he advanced rapidly in the game. He has had 3 major tournament victories and 30 major tournament in-the-money finishes, for a total of over $700,000 in tournament poker winnings. Today he represents online poker room Full Tilt Poker.
How long have you been a professional poker player for?
More or less for the last 10 years.
How many WSOP tournaments will you play in this year?
I will play in most of them. So far this year I have played in all but one event.
How is your tournament strategy different now as compared to before the great poker boom?
First of all, poker is poker and your goal is the same. You always have to adjust your strategy to your table. It is harder today to tell the good players from the bad players because many players have at least some experience from playing online or have watched poker on TV. More players today play a loose and aggressive style of play, for me this provides more opportunities to try to trap my opponents. It can be a tricky and dangerous thing to do because you can't always wait until you flop a set in order to trap. I execute trapping with hands as weak as second pair but that doesn't matter as long as you are convinced that your opponent is bluffing.
How important is it to make televised final tables as opposed to just a final table?
It is very important depending on how important publicity is for you. I estimate that finishing deep in a televised final table is worth something like $50,000-$100,000 or more for most players today.
What do you predict will happen with poker in the future?
I think after this year's World Series of Poker it will slow down a bit. Poker will be regarded more as a sport than gambling, which is the correct way to look at it. The mainstream media will always try to find some negative aspect of the game, such as gambling problems and the like. But the fact is that poker is much better than all government controlled gambling, like lotteries, etc. Poker demands hard work, it's a grind to become a successful poker player and is very much like work in general. Lottery is all about getting lucky, winning big, and not having to work ever again. Also, I think young kids could learn a lot from poker. Poker teaches discipline, continuous evaluation, match skills, logic, etc. which are all tools needed in society today.
Looking at the 2005 World Series of Poker, what would you consider a personal success when its all over?
Well, I want to make some money and make a televised final table. Those are my goals.