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Wrath of Khan Befalls 2007 Five Diamond Classic
PL.com first encountered Hevad Khan at the 2007 WSOP where he final-tabled the Main Event, taking down just under $1 million. Since then we've seen him at poker tournaments worldwide as well as on plenty of PokerStars promotional material, of whose team he is now a proud member .
Khan was not playing in this event today - he already won his seat and will be taking to the felt tomorrow on Day 1b - but he did stop by to say hello to a few friends and sit down with PokerListings.com for a short chat.
Hevad, it's been a little while since we last talked but we've seen you at poker tournaments all over the world. Tell us what you've been up to.
After I last saw you at the EPT event in Baden I took a short break, about a month, and then I went to Foxwoods for about three weeks. After that, I want to say about a week or so after, I went to the APPT Macau, in China. Then I flew directly here to Bellagio and I've been here for the last three weeks playing all the events.
Tell us about your experience at the tournament in Macau. It was the first real poker tournament that China has had. How did it go?
It got a lot of people, and alternates, and was over 400 entrants. The structure was good and there was a lot of action, a lot of aggressive play. It was a lot of fun.
How many players from over here made the trip to play in that event?
I didn't see a whole lot of players that I knew. There were a lot of players from China as well as a lot of good players who travel there frequently. It was really competitive.
Do you think there's a real market for tournament poker in China?
I really think it will do well there. People were so reckless and aggressive and they were having a lot of fun. They had good class when they played. They shook hands when they lost. It made it a lot of fun to play.
You've been settling into your new position on Team PokerStars for a little while now. What changes have you seen in your life since taking that on?
I feel like I have a lot more responsibility but it makes me a lot happier because I feel like I'm playing for someone. It was my dream to be on the team and I'm not going to waste it; I'm going to make the most of it. I think some people would think that now they could take it easy but I look at it as a great opportunity to become bigger and better.
What ways have you been able to make use of the opportunity?
I think it will allow me to play a lot of events that I might not have had the time to qualify into otherwise. Also I'll get to meet more people and talk more strategy and add new things to my arsenal. I've really been improving my live-table confidence by talking about outside factors like how to deal with intimidation and things like that.
It's a given that talking with people about the game is very valuable but how much has it helped you in your development?
I can say for sure that talking with my friends is how I've been able to reach a new level in my game. I'm not afraid any more. I'm able to play the same game I can play online and I've really learned to be more creative. I feel like I'm starting to see more of the big picture of poker and that my instinct is really developing.
You have a lot of experience in the game so do you still find that new perspectives from other players have a lot to offer you?
Oh yeah. After my World Series win I feel like I kind of got that out of the way and now I have a bit of freedom not to worry so much about it. I can really open all the gates and draw in all the ideas and perspectives I can. It's bad to be stubborn. If you look at society and civilizations and the way they develop it's always the ones that draw in other nations and share ideas that are able to grow. The ones that bottled everything in and were exclusive were all conquered.
The way I see it is that the more people you talk to and the more people you know, the better you get. A good example would be Sorel Mizzi. He never denies anyone's opinion and he's arguably the best tournament player ever. Another player is Genius28 on PokerStars. He's always taking in new ideas and he's probably the best cash game player there is.
At last year's WSOP we were introduced to a very outspoken and outgoing Hevad Khan. In recent times, though, you've shown a lot more restraint. Is this a conscious decision you've made or is it more a matter of just maturing as a player?
Well, I've had a lot of time to think about it and reflect. I really want to be known now as a very good player. I've had my amateur fun and I was able to live that fantasy of being on TV and having all my buddies watching me. I now crave to be very competitive. I've found a new joy in the game. Before I was really just a grinder and I needed the money but now I really have a love for the game itself and I want to compete. I want to win a tournament.
How do you think television producers will react to this new version of Khan?
I think television producers would be annoyed if I kept doing the same things. It wouldn't be fresh. I'd be the next Tom Green.
There has been some talk that PokerListings.com might be home to a new blog of yours. What can we expect from a Hevad Khan blog?
I always speak honestly and any advice I give always comes from my own experience. So whatever the topic is I'm not going to bullshit; I'm going to speak honestly. I don't want to mislead people. I want them to understand what they're getting themselves into. Poker can be hungry and dirty and mean. It's almost as bad as the real world. [Laughs]
Thanks Hevad and good luck tomorrow.
An open-minded player who is clearly committed to improving his game by any and all means necessary, Khan will have plenty of opportunity to do so by picking the brains of his new teammates at PokerStars. He'll have his next chance to put his skills to the test tomorrow as he joins the second half of this field on Day 1b of this year's Five Diamond Poker Classic.
As always I strongly urge you to hit us back for all your vicarious poker-playing needs. Think of it as a chain letter. If you don't do it bad things will happen.