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Daniel Ryan: The New Face of Poker
Take a very good look at the face you see below you on the screen. It's Daniel Ryan, a 24-year-old poker player from North Dakota who has built a sizable bankroll online as 'THE_D_RY'.
He went live last year and burst onto the scene with a 10th-place finish at EPT Dortmund, following that up with a fifth at EPT Copenhagen this year. Given his poster-boy good looks and a solid grasp of the game, the poker gods seem poised to smile on him.
Daniel is on to Day 3 at the PokerStars EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo and we sat down late in Day 2 to chat a little bit about his past, present and incredibly bright future.
How's it going in there Daniel?
It was going pretty well and then I got into a $135k pot. I had aces all-in versus a straight draw, but he only had six outs because I had blockers. It was a K-10 board and he had Q-J. We were both double the average and we put it all-in. Then he made a straight and I was down to like $10k, but I'm back up to $30,000 now.
So how are you feeling, are you comfortable with $30k right now?
Yeah, I'm feeling really comfortable right now. I'm been playing really well live lately and getting more comfortable every day.
You made the final table at EPT Copenhagen and just missed at EPT Dortmund. What do you think has been the real difference in your game lately?
I think I've just been more comfortable. I'm getting used to the players over here and getting to know them more and what works against these players. I don't think I'm playing so much differently than last year; sometimes you just run a little better. Last year on the EPT I was getting it in pretty good but if your hands don't double or hold, you're going home.
You don't seem to get too emotionally involved though.
No. I try not to. It's not really worth it. It's never really healthy. Usually it's only going to make you backfire and blow up your stack. You lose your mind and then you are not thinking at 100% of your capacity. So I like to be able to stay calm and start thinking about where I'm at now.
So you don't get too high when you make big hands or too low when you don't?
Yeah; I try to stay in the moment.
I understand you really started playing seriously as an online player, but how did you originally get started in the game?
I started playing poker as like a 12-year-old kid with cousins and stuff, but nothing serious until freshman year of college. A buddy of mine was playing in college and I started watching him online and then I played a little bit at low stakes. I played at college and when I started studying abroad I kept playing. Then in like senior year I had like a less than $1k bankroll, but I started saying that if could make $15k I would go back to Spain and do that for a year or so. That year I started winning tournaments and getting slightly better every day.
So then you made the move to Spain and you're still there now. It's a bit different than Grand Forks, North Dakota isn't it?
Yeah it is. I love both places but Spain is a bit better for this point in my life now. Grand Forks was a good place to grow up in, but I needed to see some new places.
With the deep finishes you've had in the EPT lately you have become the talk of European poker. There are a lot of people saying you've got Calvin Klein model looks and a solid game. Are you comfortable with the idea that you could become the future face of poker?
Oh I don't know (blushes).
Have you been approached for sponsorship deals from any poker Web sites lately?
Yeah I was approached by a site about a month ago and they made an offer but I'm looking to wait until I get an offer where they would pay all of my live tournaments. I have a bankroll where I can pay for all my live tournaments, a couple a month of these EPTs and the WSOP, on my own, so if someone offers me something where they are going to pay for all my live tournaments I would definitely be interested. We'll wait and see.
So what did you study in college?
Finance, political science and Spanish.
So are you sold on the idea that you can make poker a career now or is something else in the cards for you?
I love it. First of all it's really fun and the guys and girls [are] really fun to play with. But for money? This is definitely the way I will support myself financially I think, but I might do other things for fun or that I'm interested in.
Thanks Daniel and good luck the rest of the way.
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Personality, looks and a solid approach to the game is an unbeatable combination in poker. Daniel has it all and more, and PL.com has no doubt he'll be wearing somebody's patch before long. Plus, with one final table and a near miss at the EPT this year and plans to kill it at the WSOP this summer; there's also a high probability PL.com will be interviewing Daniel again soon - this time after a win.