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Allen Cunningham: Ready for Action
Allen Cunningham is no stranger to final tables at the World Series of Poker, but he's never been as close to a win in the Main Event as he is right now. He sits second in chips going into the final table with $17.7 million to chip leader Jamie Gold's $25.6 million. I spoke with Cunningham today and he commented on his feelings about the event so far and his expectations going into the final table.
You've made it to the final table in good shape, give us an idea of how this event went for you up to the final day.
Naturally, it's been going great. I've been winning lots of chips. This tournament has a really slow structure so I've just been sitting patiently and playing my best poker and taking my time, and everything's falling into place.
Is the slow structure in this event conducive to your style of playing?
Yeah, the slower structure should give an edge to the better player overall. A faster structure makes you gamble more, and although a better player is still likely to have an edge because he'll know how to play those situations right, it's not going to be as big as if the blinds stay small.
Do you think a lot of the players have taken that slower structure into account?
A lot of people really didn't realize how many chips they actually had and played too aggressively at times during the tournament. We saw tons of eliminations when it seemed like it should have gone slower if people were playing a bit better. Out of the last forty-five though I think the nine who made it to the final table were some of the best that were left.
How did you find the level of play in this event in general?
Well, I think the level of play in this event is probably lower than any other big tournament, which is definitely good for anyone who knows how to play well.
You're a well-known face in poker. You've won bracelets before. How does that affect the way people play against you in these events?
I think in general it's good for me. It makes people play worse against me although not always in the same way. Some people may expect me to bluff more than I do and call me more. Others may try to make fancy plays against me just to see if they can. They're usually not particularly good plays. So it may not affect everybody, but I do think it's helpful to be a known face.
Have you had a chance to play with the chip leader Jamie Gold? Tell us a bit about what you've seen of him so far.
Yeah, I've played with him, but just since we got down to the last few tables. He's ok, he's not great but he's a decent player. He seems like he's a bit green in some areas though. One big fault he had was that he kept leaving and missing tons of hands to go smoke a cigarette or something. It just seems like he's not taking it super seriously. He's got a lot of chips, and it might be a bit difficult, but overall he's not a bad guy to have the chip lead.
Do you feel confident going into this final table that you'll be able to take it down?
Yeah, I think my chances are really good. I mean, I would give myself about a 40% chance.
Whether you win or not what do you plan to do after the WSOP is over?
I definitely plan to take it easy after the World Series is over. I'm really kind of beat from the whole thing. I might play a few of the big tournaments but I think I'm ready for a break.
Thanks Allen and good luck tomorrow.
Allen Cunningham has had numerous wins in big tournaments and a long history of cash game success, but tomorrow will be the biggest day in his poker career, hands down. A chance at the $12 million and more importantly the World Championship title would seem like a lot to have looming in the near future, but you wouldn't be able to tell by Cunningham's demeanor. In our interview he talked about the final table as if it was just another day at the office. Stay tuned to PokerListings.com for full coverage of the final table tomorrow.