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Niall "onehandturks" Charlton Goes Live at WSOPE
Online high-stakes PLO specialist Niall "onehandturks" Charlton is at the 2011 World Series of Poker Europe putting his online skills to work in the live arena.
Charlton has been playing poker for seven years with most of the last four focusing on Pot-Limit Omaha. He can now be found in games as high as $100/$200 on PokerStars where, according to HighstakesDB.com, he’s raked in roughly $320,000 so far in 2011.
Having studied business and computer science Charlton had no shortage of career options, but the fact that he taught a computer to play poker for his university dissertation may have been an indication that he was destined for life as a poker pro.
Originally from Cardiff, Wales, Charlton was already playing extensively online by the time he graduated from the University of Nottingham.
But despite rampant success playing online cash games, up until the last two years his live tournament record was comparatively bare with just a pair of $4k scores on the GUKPT.
That’s been changing in the last couple of years.
Charlton took one step in the right direction with a 14th-place finish in the $5k PLO event at the 2010 WSOP, worth $24,711.
He made an even bigger leap with a six-figure score this summer for finishing 72nd at the 2011 Main Event.
Charlton is in now in Cannes for the 2011 WSOPE and is looking to build on that success.
“About four years ago I started focusing on Omaha and I think because I got into it before it started getting really popular my game progressed a lot faster than the average Omaha player,” Charlton told PokerListings.com on a break from Day 2 of the €5k PLO event.
Staying ahead of the learning curve is something that came more easily to Charlton than most. After all, he was thinking about poker strategy in University about the same time Chris Moneymaker was winning the Main Event in 2003.
“My final year’s dissertation was on game theory and poker, sort of trying to solve poker and see if a computer could do it,” said Charlton.
A computer program designed to assist poker players in making decisions, specifically how to play preflop based on hand value, position and other variables was the end result.
“It was a rudimentary program but the theory was okay,” he said.
While Charlton is confident in his ability to beat the high-stakes PLO games online now, he is observing the landscape of online poker changing and the caliber of player improving.
“The games at the moment are great,” he says, but he's also quick to qualify that statement.
“The No-Limit players that are coming across and beginning to take Omaha seriously are improving so fast.
"I think within a year or two a lot of these guys will be the best, better than all the PLO players who have been playing for a long time.
“I don’t think I’ll be able to beat the game forever so I want to make as much money as I can now, and use that to try some business ideas and investments.
“It’s really hard to sit down right now and invest time in stuff like that when I can make a lot of money playing poker,” he said.
PokerListings.com is providing live coverage of the €5k PLO event, as well as news, blogs and photos for the duration of the 2011 World Series of Poker Europe.