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Jason Sagle: The Interview
PokerListings.com first met Jason Sagle at the last World Poker Tour event, the North American Poker Championship in Niagara Falls, where he was excruciatingly close to his first WPT title and the million plus prize pool. He finished as the runner-up after taking some terrible beats heads-up against fellow Canadian Soren Turkewitsch. Jason is back for more here at Foxwoods and during a break he filled us in on that painful heads-up defeat as well as his hopes for the World Poker Finals.
It hasn't been long since we saw you playing in Niagara where you came so close to taking that event down. Tell us a bit about how you're feeling and what's happened for you so far here at Foxwoods.
I'm feeling good, I just played in the $5k event and came 11th. I made some mistakes. I hate to say I make mistakes in tournaments; I'd rather be able to say it was the cards' fault or the other guy was lucky, but I actually made the mistakes and that's really the only time you lose sleep over it. (Laughs) So I told myself coming into this tournament that I would really take my time and not do that. I started out really well, I was playing a lot of hands. Now I'm down to about $6,000; I haven't won a pot in the last two levels. I've been seeing a lot of flops but just missing everything, but that's the way tournaments are. I'm just going to keep grinding it out; $6,000's still plenty of chips at $100/$200.
If we could talk a bit about the tournament in Niagara, you were playing really strong and it seemed like you had the table pretty scared. I remember you showed one huge bluff against John Lam. Give us your feelings on how that final table went.
I felt really good at the table. I was chip leader going into it. It was a small chip lead, but I felt in control of the table. I felt like I had a good read on the other players. I was in my zone, and it was probably one of the best tournaments I've played. I didn't make many mistakes - you can see one here or there but I felt really confident. I went in confident, my family was there, I was at home in Canada, this was the tournament for me. Everything was falling into place except for the turn and the river. (Laughs) I really felt like I was dominating the guys, especially the two who sattelited in, they were intimidated. I didn't have to show too many hands, so I felt like I was doing the right things. I was really happy with my performance, but it just didn't work out.
Well it seemed like he was going to have to get lucky to beat you, and that's what happened. Tell us a bit about your background and what brought you to poker.
Well, I'm from Sudbury, Canada. Ever since I was a kid I wanted to be a cop, that was my dream. I worked my way through school and became an auxiliary, so I volunteered there for about five years during college. My best friend at the time was an insurance agent and he was 25, making $120,000 a year working about four days a week. There was the same position about three hours north of Barrie, Ontario, so I moved up there for two and a half years, and it was really close to a casino, so I started playing a lot of poker.
After a couple years I started making more playing poker than working, so I decided to try it full time. I didn't really have a big bankroll or anything. I had two kids so I just decided to try it, and if it didn't work out, I could always get my job back or get another one. It took about six months to really get going, but then I won a few tournaments online for like $50,000.
What's your regular playing schedule like? Online or live, cash games or tournament?
I mostly play cash games. I play some of the big tournaments, but I have three kids at home so I'm mostly online. My wife doesn't want to live anywhere else, and I really want my kids to grow up in the same place that I did. It's a pretty safe neighborhood, so I don't have too much to worry about.
Great, thanks Jason and good luck here today.
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Jason Sagle has been playing for a relatively short time, but with his recent second place finish at the North American Poker Championship, he'll have plenty of bankroll to get him into more of these big buy-in tournaments. Having watched the final table of that event, I can say that Jason was certainly dominating the table and was in a great position to take it down. He had his opponent all-in during heads-up play with Ace-9 against Ace-3 and was out-drawn and crippled in the hand that by all accounts should have sealed his victory. Sagle took the beat and maintained his composure in a situation that would have reduced many to a temper tantrum. This maturity, along with his skill, will ensure that Jason will have another chance at a major title in the years to come.