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Brian Rast on First Trip to Australia, Fasting to Win
Brian Rast will take any edge he can get. Even if that means not eating.
During the $5,000 8-Game Mixed tournament at the WSOP APAC, Rast told us that he had not eaten for a day and that fasting was making him more focused at the table.
Then a few days later Rast found himself deep in the money in the WSOP APAC and apparently had fasted again.
We asked Rast about this preparation method and how he is finding his first trip to Australia.
PokerListings.com: You mentioned during the mixed event that you had tried fasting as preparation for the tournament. Can you explain the thinking behind that?
Brian Rast: I am actually doing it again today. At least, in the sense that I haven’t eaten anything since I woke up, so I haven’t eaten anything since last night.
My thinking is that I have found that sometimes my concentration is a bit better if I’m doing short fasts. I’m not talking about multiple days. I’m talking 12-16 hours.
It’s especially effective as opposed to eating a big meal. Sometimes having small things like juice or a really light meal might not make a difference, but eating a big meal can really make you tired.
PL: Would you say that a method like fasting has really helped your game in some ways?
There are so many variables for something like that, but I would say that almost all the days in which I played fasted I felt better than normal.
It’s especially important, in terms of concentration and paying attention at the table, during events like the $1,650 I played, and the $5,000 mixed, when you effectively aren’t playing for much money.
In all those tournaments I pretty much made a deep Day 2 run, so I would say so far the fasting has worked out for me.
PL: Have you tried any other interesting preparation methods?
Nothing really that everyone hasn’t already talked about. I just try to eat healthy and exercise.
PL: Do you think players still take a healthy lifestyle for granted in terms of the best preparation for poker?
I think usually it’s something that young players learn with experience. I know when I was young I didn’t know nearly as much about nutrition. In America, they just don’t teach anything about it in school.
I didn’t know anything about nutrition when I was younger and I used to party more. I’m older now so I don’t really do that, but a combination of those things I think definitely had negative effects when I was a younger poker player.
I think what happens is there are a lot of young guys who live that lifestyle when they are playing poker and then at some point one of two things happen.
Either, because they think about it and try and dedicate themselves to being healthy, rather than just analysing poker, or something in their life happens that changes them. Like getting married.
PL: You also wrote a poem about poker and published it on facebook before Day 2 of the $5,000 mixed event. Was that just for fun or was there more meaning behind it?
Basically I was at the gym and I had just written a poem for my wife early that morning, so I just thought it would be fun to write something that pumps you up.
The poem said something about ‘All the games and I've already solved them', so it was just kind of a little something to pump myself up and was fun too.
PL: You tweeted that this was your first trip for poker outside of North America. How have you found being in Australia for a poker event?
I almost never do this stuff.
I really like the Crown as a place to stay. The hotel is really nice. I haven’t seen a bunch of Australia, but I’ve eaten at a few places in Melbourne and we went down near the beach one day.
It’s really nice here, the weather is good, the food is great. I’ve enjoyed it.
Poker wise, it’s been easy to play here. I’ve had full days. Every tournament I’ve played I’ve run up chips and gone deep.
I’m starting to get a little worn out though. I played my worst day of poker yesterday. There were at least two or three hands where I wasn’t happy with how I played.
PL: Would you consider travelling more for event like these or maybe even come back for Aussie Millions in January?
I would definitely consider coming back for Aussie Millions, but I think this January might be too soon. My wife and I are getting a house in Vegas.
And last week we just got a puppy German Shepherd. It’s a busy time. We will see, it might just be far enough away that I will have the time by then.
There are a couple of really big events at Aussie Millions and Macau has Chinese New Year which I usually go to. So I might swing by Australia to catch a couple of those big events.