Carl Olson: The Interview

Carl Olson
Carl Olson at the 2007 Main Event

Carl Olson is no stranger to the World Series. With a total of ten WSOP cashes with four already this year, a solid cash in the Main Event has so far eluded him. Finishing his Day 1 heat second in chips with just over $200,000, Olson is in great shape going into Day 2.

Let's start with the obvious stuff. How's your day going and how do you feel about the field and the tournament this year in general?

It's going very well, definitely as good as I could have hoped for. I have $200,000 right now which is maybe the chip lead, I'm not too sure. The first couple of levels were slow. My table was all unknowns, which is obviously great, but when everyone was starting out they were really trying to play their best poker and really playing tight and aggressive.

But a few hours into the day everyone started loosening up and the chips started flying a little more. I had about $20,000 after the first level or two and then just started picking up some hands, basically, and started getting some chips.

The Crowd
The Zoo.

There are a lot of different kinds of players in this field so how did you feel about your table draw? 

I definitely got a good table draw and that's so huge. I mean, a lot of the tables are going to be good on Day 1. There were only a few players who really worried me and one of them busted out pretty quick. I don't know how dangerous he would have been. But it was definitely a good table draw. I don't think I had any professionals.

There are different ideas about strategy early in these big tournaments so what sort of approach do you take with so many unpredictable players?

You know, it just depends on the situation I guess. At this table, early on, I was just trying to make hands because people were playing pretty aggressive. But after a little while I tried to limp into more pots and just see more flops, especially when I had enough chips to let me take those gambles and give myself a chance to get a lot of chips.

Now that you have a big stack do you find yourself being able to push a bit and pick up more small pots?

Not so far. The thing is, I had a bunch of shortstacks at my table and when I had about $120,000 and I opened a couple times and got shoved on and ended up having to call off a lot chips, obviously with the worst hand, but I was getting close to the right price. Also I didn't want them to think they could just re-raise me every time and make me fold. So I made some marginally minus EV calls.

Carl Olson
Carl Olson.

Were there any hands in particular that you remember picking up a lot of chips?

When I had about $120,000, one guy that had about $60,000 opened to $1,800 under the gun plus one and I was a couple of seats over and made the call with Q T. Another guy who had about $50,000 called too.

The flop came A-8-7 with two hearts so I flopped a flush draw. It goes: Bet $5,000, I call, the other guy calls too. The turn was the king of hearts which was the money card. It gave me the nut flush. The first guy bets out $10,000, I make it $30,000 and he moves in. He had A-K, so he had top two. The other guy said he folded A-K but I'm not sure if I completely believe him. Anyway, it was a pretty sick board for me to have that hand, up against two A-K's.

One last question. How important do you think preparation is for a long tournament like this and what things do you do to get prepared mentally and physically?

Carl Olson
It's all psychological!

Preparation is really important. I don't think I did anything specific to prepare this year but I definitely came in with a different mindset. That's because last year I was kind of burnt out and from all the preliminaries and I came into the Main Event thinking it was just a total crap-shoot and it didn't really matter how I played because I would just need to get really lucky, which is a terrible attitude to have.

And I got knocked out late in Day 1 and never got any chips and never did anything. I definitely did not play my A-game. I probably played my C-game which is frustrating because it's the biggest tournament of the year. It's the one that you really want to do well in. So this year I came in really focused to just play my best and, realizing that obviously I would need to get extremely lucky to go deep, at least give myself the best opportunity to do that.

Thanks Carl and good luck.

Depending on how high the players on Day 1D can stack their chips, Carl Olson might find his position on the overall chip counts decrease, but no matter what happens, he'll have more than enough chips to do some speculating and give himself a chance to go deep in this event.

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