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No Daut About It: Ryan Daut at the 2008 PCA
Ryan Daut first came to the attention of PL.com one year ago right here at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure when he pulled off a huge upset win against Isaac Haxton, netting himself his first major title and the over $1.5 million that went with it.
It's now one year later and Daut has grown as both a player and a person, returning to Paradise Island to defend his title and see if he can once again wade through the colossal field we see annually here at the PCA. Coming off a WPT final table just a few weeks ago where he took sixth and almost $200,000, Daut is looking to continue running well here in the Bahamas.
At one time Daut was enrolled in grad school, studying mathematics, but all that changed when he shook off the encumbrance of university to play poker full time. Daut44 online, Ryan will be taking to the felt on Day 1b to begin the long and arduous journey that may take him to his second PCA final table in as many years.
Ryan, you've had a bit of luck before here at the PCA. Let's start by talking a bit about how it all went down one year ago and what that win meant for you both as a player and a person.
At that final table I started out somewhere between second and fourth in chips; we were all fairly even but Isaac had a huge chip lead. When we finally made it to heads-up that trend had basically continued. He had increased his chip stack a lot.
I think he had about a 3-1 lead. At that point I should have been emotionally overwhelmed - I was already guaranteed $750,000 and I was playing for $800,000 more, which was a lot more than I had ever made playing poker, so it was really huge for me.
What opportunities has that win afforded you in the last year?
It allowed me to play all the big tournaments I wanted to. It allowed me to start backing players, online tournament players who didn't have the money to travel the circuit. It also allowed me to move up in stakes. I was able to play $10/$20 and $25/$50 a lot more.
It gave me freedom. I was doing well enough before the win that I could have left grad school but I wasn't doing well enough that I would have felt completely comfortable doing it. It gave me the freedom to do what I really wanted.
What kind of development do you feel you've gone through as a player in the last year?
I really think I've improved a lot live. Online I feel like I've made small steps here and there but I feel like live I've made some huge jumps. My live reads have improved and I feel like I understand the way live players play a lot better so I have a much bigger edge over the average player in the field.
I also feel like my tournament game has improved a lot. Last year I was basically a tournament novice but I was lucky to be playing a style that worked relatively well.
How do you feel going into this event tomorrow?
I feel pretty good about it, especially since I'll be playing Day 1b rather than today. I think most of the online players are out there today since tomorrow's Sunday and everyone will be playing the big online tournaments. Tomorrow we'll see more of the live players and the donks who qualified so I think it will be a softer field.
You've spoken a bit about the difference between online players and those with predominantly live experience. What are the biggest differences between the two in your opinion and how do you adjust your game to deal with it?
You can get away with more things against live players than against online players. For example, if you raise into a 10-big-blind stack a live player isn't going to be shoving light there. Also, if you're the one with a 10-big-blind stack he's going to be raise-folding into you much more often, not understanding pot-odds stuff.
Online players won't make those mistakes as much and they're also much more aggressive generally. Against live players you can limp more speculative hands from early position whereas you can't really do that against most online players.
Because this tournament is held here in the Bahamas you only have to be 18 to play. How much do you think that changes the dynamic of the field and how much talent do you see in this young group of players?
I think the PCA is one of the tougher live fields because they do have the 18- to 20-year-olds playing and it's mainly the very good online tournament players that make it down here. But that's actually counteracted by the fact that there are just so many people in the tournament. Because there's like 1,200 people the level of play just can't be that high; there's kind of a balancing act there. I think the deeper in the tournament you get though the tougher the play will become.
You've been running well lately so how do you feel mentally going into tomorrow?
Well, I played an online session this morning and at first I felt like I was playing pretty badly. But after a few hours I pulled it together and I feel like I got most of the kinks out going into tomorrow.
Thanks Ryan and good luck.
Having outlasted a field of more than 900 last year Ryan Daut has a bit of experience taking on the masses and emerging victorious. With an even bigger group assembled here this year though, only time will tell if he'll get another chance in the coming week.