Former Hairdresser Mel Judah Talks Shop about the 2006 World Series of Poker

Mel Judah

He has owned his own salon and he's got two bracelets in Seven-Card Stud. Now Mel Judah has his sights set on the Main Event of the 2006 World Series of Poker. The cool-as-a-cucumber card player from Down Under chatted with about what he's hoping to accomplish in the next seven weeks.

What do you expect from this year's World Series of Poker?

Well first of all, I took a break for two months and I didn't play many tournaments. I feel I'm ready now and I feel I'm going to do really, really good this year and probably win at least one bracelet. The opportunities are there, it doesn't matter how big the field is.

How does taking a break from poker help you win?

It gives you a chance to clear your mind. You feel fresh. You're not in the same zone jumping from tournament to tournament. [The World Series of Poker] is the only event that really matters more than anything else.

Is it easy to get run down?

It's a long time. Each tournament can take three days. You've got to prepare yourself for the long haul.

What do you do to prepare for the World Series?

You've got to eat well and relax. You have to exercise a lot, mentally and physically. If you have a clear head you're going to make better decisions.

Do you play any poker at all before the Series?

I used to go on a holiday right before the World Series. It helped me look much fresher than the guys that play every day. The last few years I haven't done that. I've gone from tournament to tournament right up to the WSOP. This year I decided I wouldn't take that route, and I'd give myself time to relax. It's going to be a long six weeks, or two months.

Do you get tired thinking about the long days ahead?

Not really. Last year when we first started, most of the tournaments were won by pros. Allen Cunningham won the first event, Mark Seif won twice, and Johnny Chan also won. So the pros did get theirs. It's just that the big one has eluded us the last three years. It's about time a pro wins it this year.

Do you have any goals for yourself this year?

Obviously the Main Event is at the top of that list. It's the one that really matters. To win a World Series event is highly important for every top pro. You're only as good as your last event.

Are there any particular events that you look forward to?

I think they are putting too much emphasis on No-Limit Hold'em. I think that's a shame. The total poker player is the one that can play all the games. They haven't given much interest to protecting games like Omaha, Stud, and Hi-Lo.

Will you be taking part in the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. event?

If I win a satellite or I get a person to invest in me. That's one event I'd love to play. I really think that's the Main Event of the future. I think that it will surpass No-Limit in the future.

Who's the most underrated player in your mind?

I couldn't really say. There are so many good players and they all get their turn. There are some players who don't do anything for two or three years but their names come up again. Whoever is doing well at the moment has to keep it up because he may not win a tournament for two or three years. It happens to all of us.

How would you describe yourself as a player?

Very cautious, but I do change. People mark me as a tight player, which is good for your image when you want to make moves and pick up some chips. It's not so good when you have a big hand and no one wants to call you. It has its pluses and minuses. Overall, I wait and see what's happening before I decide what course of action to take.

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