Above and Beyond: The Kevin Saul Interview

Kevin Saul
Kevin Saul, World Poker Finals - Day 1a, World Poker Tour

Kevin Saul, known online as BeLOWaBOVe, had been dominating the online poker world for years but he never got any recognition in live play.

That all changed on July 15, 2007 when Saul beat Mike Matusow in heads-up play and won the Bellagio Cup III for an astounding $1,342,320. Since then players and media have been taking notice when BeLOWaBOVe plays in a live tournament.

PokerListings.com caught up with Saul just after Day 1a of the World Poker Finals in Foxwoods.

Kevin, how did your first day at WPT Foxwoods go?

Well, during Level 1, in the first hour, I flopped bottom set versus top set; then I flopped top pair and top two pair on the river card, which happened to give my opponent second set and finally I had A-Q on a queen-high board with my opponent hitting bottom set. I lost the bare minimum on all three hands and I doubled-up just before the break which took me to $50,000.

Kevin Saul
Kevin Saul during Day 1 of the World Poker Finals.

Since then everything has been smooth sailing. No problems at all, at least not from myself.

So you're running well?

Yeah. It's been good for the most part. Just the fact that I only lost about $9,000 total between all those hands in the first level really helped. Not a bad day overall.

What did you end up finishing the day with?

$99,325. I bluffed off about $10,000 right before the end of the day. It was the last hand so I had to try and rake the pot.

How was your table? It seemed kind of tough... [Ciaran O'Leary, Barry Greenstein and Jon Friedberg all sat at Saul's table throughout the day.]

These guys don't know how to play live poker.

Ciaran O'Leary
Saul's tablemate on Day 1 - Ciaran O'Leary.

But directly on your left was 2007 WSOP bracelet winner Ciaran O'Leary and a little bit past him was Barry Greenstein...

Yeah, Barry's OK. I guess [Ciaran O'Leary] won a bracelet but... Well I won't make comments about other bracelet winners. That wouldn't be nice. Just because you won a bracelet doesn't mean anything... I mean, hell, I won one of these things once. That's just my theory though.

Winnar!
Kevin Saul during his big victory at the Bellagio Cup.

Speaking of the Bellagio Cup, what did it mean for you to win that tournament and how has your life changed since then?

My life hasn't changed at all. I mean, I bought a car and that's about it. The money doesn't really do anything for me. F*** money, pardon my language.

Was it a big deal to you at all?

Yeah. I mean the fact that I got that big live win out of the way was pretty important to me. My friends and family were all looking forward to seeing it on TV so hopefully that will happen soon.

You're a very well-known online player. What was it like making the transition to online play?

It wasn't that bad. My game is betting patterns for the most part and I also played for seven or eight years before I even played online. I just got recognized online, that's all. I played home games and casino games in the Chicago area for years. It wasn't that big of a deal.

Was it harder switching to online play originally than it was switching back to live play?

You know what, it probably was, just because [to begin with] I had the habit of just clicking buttons online. It just seemed like play money at first. You can actually see what's going on in live play.

How are you feeling heading into Day 2?

We'll see how many tables are left. I'm just going to come back and play poker.

After the interview ended Saul mentioned that he planned on playing FTOPS Event 2 the next day. He explained that he purposely played Day 1 of WPT Foxwoods so he could get in on some Razz action in the FTOPS the very next day. Moral of the story? If there is poker to be played BeLOWaBOVe is likely going to be at the table whether it is physical or virtual.

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