Big Easy Hits Las Vegas: The Lou Esposito Interview

Esposito has made no fewer than three consecutive final-table appearances at WSOPC main events in New Orleans.

PokerListings.com had the opportunity to see Esposito at most of his final tables and we were impressed by his play along the way. Therefore it came as no surprise that Esposito was near the top of the chip counts at Event 48 of the WSOP, $2,000 No-Limit Hold'em. We chatted with Esposito moments after he bagged his chips up for the day.

So how'd your day go?

It started out pretty tough. I started really short and for a long time I was just surviving; then I got lucky and started catching a few cards towards the end of the night. I ended up with about $72,000.

Lou Esposito
The New Orleans final-table hero.

How were your tables?

They were tough. I'm used to playing events with a little bit bigger buy-in so the level of play is higher and while the level of play is lower in these events it makes it a bit harder to put people on hands. I guess what I'm saying is that better players can be more predictable than bad ones.

Bad players will pretty much do anything at any time so it makes it hard to read them. I end up getting confused more here than I would in a bigger tournament.

How do you approach Day 1's? Are you the type of guy who'll either accumulate a bunch of chips or bust out early?

If I'm given the opportunity I will definitely build a stack. If the cards are coming I'm going to go with the flow; if the cards are not coming I'm really going to tighten up. I will get away with pretty much anything the cards will let me do.

Lou Esposito
Back in black!

Now you're obviously very successful on the World Series Circuit. How do the events here compare?

You definitely have to approach these a little bit differently. I mean there is also a big difference between the low-buy-in events here and say a $5,000 one. You need to adjust to the size of the tournament and the amount of chips you start with.

When it comes to the low-buy-in tournaments, the skill level is obviously lower and you can't really put as many plays on those players as you can on the others. You have to resort to making smaller plays rather than big ones because if these guys flop top pair most likely they're going to go with it. If it's a bigger-name player I can usually get them off their top pair.

How has the Series been going for you in general? How many events have you played?

I've probably played about 12-15 events. I had one really good week in the beginning, and then this last one has been really bad. I was really unlucky. Hopefully now it will even out. It would be great to make that final table tomorrow and get back into the black. We were in the black and now we're in the red.

Do you have a preferred event here at the WSOP?

I'll be honest with you, this is actually my first full WSOP. I usually just play the Main Event. I've gotta say I really like some of the mixed events. I play a lot of Omaha at home and I didn't know they had so many mixed-game events out here. I feel like I have an advantage because I play both games pretty well [...] I play Pot-Limit Omaha in cash and No-Limit in tournaments.

Lou Esposito is Champion!
Lou Esposito has been there before.

I had never played an Omaha tournament until this summer and it takes a little adjustment, but I'd like to play more of them.

Seeing as how this is your first WSOP where you've stayed for the full duration, have there been any surprises?

No, not really. Just the sheer number of landmines. I've got a ton of respect for some of these pros that are out here just banging out the bracelets. Just consistently getting through these fields to cash is an accomplishment. I mean getting through 2,000-3,000 people is not easy.

Now I know why they make such a big deal out of it. A bracelet is a cherished thing. It's a huge accomplishment.

Lou Esposito
Looking for that WSOP final table.

What did it mean to you to make three consecutive WSOPC main event final tables in New Orleans?

It means a lot to me. I love New Orleans, the people, the atmosphere and the casino. The people of New Orleans are just great to me. I'll be having dinner there and people will just come up to me and say hello. They're just the best people on earth. I just love 'em. They are very friendly people. It's like my hometown now. My nickname is even "The Big Easy." I like everything about the city.

How long have you been playing there?

I went there for the first time last May. It was a fluke thing. I just decided last minute with some friends to go there. My friends were going and I really didn't want to go because the World Series was coming up. They were breaking my chops and finally - at the last minute - I decided to go and I ended up winning the main event.

I had to go back after that. I went back in November and then the third time this May.

Why do you think you're so successful there?

I think you see that a lot with certain players. Players will repeat at an event they won the year before and I think that has a lot to do with confidence. Also, my style of play probably works best against the players there.

I think it has a lot to do with confidence. If you go in with a lot of confidence you will do well. Players fear that confidence.

So beyond this event what are your plans at the WSOP? Are you going to play a few more events?

I want to try and squeeze in the $1,500 tomorrow [laughs]. I really feel like I haven't accomplished what I set out to do here. I'm terribly disappointed. I have a couple of cashes but believe me nobody wants it more than me. I'm out here and I want to get to that final table. I want that bracelet and I kick and I scratch and I drag my nails in the ground and I don't let anybody take me out. If they are going to take me out they're going to brutalize me. They've been able to do it so far but I feel like I have a lot more to accomplish out here.

I came out here to do something and I'm dying to get there.

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There's no doubt after talking to Lou Esposito that the desire to win is most certainly there. Although Esposito has already cashed two times at the 2008 WSOP [three counting this event] it's obvious that he's aiming higher. Don't be surprised to see the "Big Easy" at a final table in the near future.

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