British player Stuart Rutter has notched up close to $200,000 in tournament winnings and is a well known face on the UK and European circuit. PokerListings.com caught up with him whilst he was playing the $1,500 NLHE event at this year's WSOP 2008 for the Brit perspective on the series so far...
Hi there Stu, how's the tournament going for you today?
Sadly, it's been the same as usual in holdem this year, I literally cannot win a single allin! Things had been going well, I'd been stealing some pots here and there, building up nicely before I eventually called a shortstack's allin shove. He'd managed to move allin with A-3 offsuit in a position where I was always calling and would always have a hand. He shows A-3 to my A-K, and a pesky little three came out on the flop! The difference between 8k in chips and 4k in chips was kind of big at that stage since the bigger stack opens up the range of plays you can make considerably. But on the plus side, I'm still alive and there's everything to play for.
So how does playing in Vegas compare to playing on the UK circuit or the European circuit?
It's basically a lot more mixed here. You'll never sit at a table with a standard more mixed than at an event like this at the WSOP. For example on the first hand I sit down two seats away from David Chiu, who's recently won a WPT at the Bellagio. I had a couple of nice hands against him, took some chips off him when I couldn't fail to really. Then only a few hands later, I play against probably one of the worst players in the world and he gets it allin preflop with A-3 offsuit! It's kind of tough because the standard is varied but you're also never quite sure what you're up against.
So I guess table draw can be quite a crucial factor in these events?
It is yes, and obviously your position at the table can prove very important. Another big difference playing here compared to playing in the UK is on the circuit there I recognize most of the players and have a feel for how they play and vice-versa. I think it's more interesting when no one has a good idea how you play as is the case here. I prefer that because I kind of play quite sneakily and quite aggressively and my quiet, innocent face helps me get away with a lot more moves.
Haha, you don't look that innocent to me!
So I don't like to dwell on this Stu but it always seems when I report on you in events that you always seem to get bad luck. I guess you just have to deal with these periods in tournament poker?
Yeah, it's the nature of the beast in this business.
Do you think this is going to turn around for you and how do you deal with these barren runs of luck?
Poker players should never complain about their bad luck because it's fair to say it all evens out in the end. It can be a challenge to keep on playing confidently and playing aggressively in these periods. The trick is to keep making the right moves, and on the occasions where the luck is with you, make sure you are in the right mental state to take full advantage of the situation.
When I watched you playing the EPT in San Remo, I noticed you had your lucky mascot with you but he doesn't seem to have made an appearance today. Why?
Yes, Reg the chicken! I probably deserved for that three to come out on the flop earlier because I have to say I forgot Reg and left him in the hotel. Maybe it's just as well as he'd have probably been a bit overawed by all these people.
I hope you've learnt your lesson. Bring Reg the chicken along next time.
I think next time, I'll just let him play the cards for me! He's pretty good at playing position and he runs better than me.
Haha! So, what kind of schedule are you looking at during the series?
My plans were to play all the events really...I'm having a few issues with my Visa card at the moment though which is quite annoying. I'm flying back and forwards three times during the series, so hopefully I can sort out the bank issues and play a lot of events.
You're flying back and forwards three times? That sounds expensive! Why is that?
Yeah, the main reason is my girlfriend. I don't want to be away for too many weeks in a row. She puts up with so much, I don't want to leave her alone for too long a stretch at a time.
I guess with a poker player's unusual schedule, it can put a lot of strain on your relationship sometimes?
For sure. I think to be a poker player's wife or girlfriend you have to be really understanding, which my girlfriend really is.
That's excellent. So assuming you get your Visa issues sorted, which events are you particularly looking forward to?
The bigger buyin events are more attractive than say this $1,500 comp really. It's fun and all but 3,000 starting chips is tough to take really. I'm perhaps most looking forward to the shorthanded events.
Really, why is that?
It's far purer poker. It's all psychology, all position, aggression, re-raising and everything like that. You can't play short handed and just sit there and wait for a good hand.
So you feel you have a bigger edge in these events?
I hope so! That's what a lot of internet cash players are used to playing and that's where I feel most comfortable. All the internet poker I play is no more than six people at the table.
Last question Stu as I know you have to get back to the tournament. Everyone comes to Vegas with their own dreams and ambitions. As a poker player I'm sure yours is to take down a bracelet?
Have you got any idea how you would celebrate if you get lucky enough to take one down?
Get together everyone I know who is here in Vegas and all go out and party till the cows come home...if I make a final table, I'll be embarrassed about ever moaning about my bad luck!
Great, well thanks for talking to PokerListings.com Stuart, I appreciate you taking time out to chat with us. Best of luck for the tournament and the rest of the series and next time...DON'T FORGET REG THE CHICKEN!
Haha, no worries. I won't!