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The Best Medic-ine: Nenad Wins His First Bracelet
I spoke with the former University of Waterloo basketball star just after his big win tonight.
Kathy Liebert told me earlier tonight that this was the toughest final table she's ever played. Would you say the same?
It was the toughest final table I've been at as well. Really it was a strong field the whole way.
The play at the final table went pretty quickly to start, but once you were four-handed the pace slowed up a lot. Did you have to make any adjustments at that point?
I thought I played pretty solid the whole way. I wasn't too aggressive, though; I just picked my spots. Once we got four-handed it did take a while. Earlier everyone got hands, but four-handed nobody seemed to pick up any cards.
So it was a lot of small pots back and forth. But I like to play small pots, so I was fortunate to win more of the small ones.
How big was it to have the chip advantage against Andy Bloch going into heads-up play, given his reputation for being a very dangerous player in those situations?
That meant a lot. He knows his math for one, and he's a really good player - he's not going to give any chips away.
It meant a lot to have that lead, just in case I lost the first hand, I'd still be alive. I had him 5 million to 2 million, so if I'd lost I would've had 3 million to 4 million. So, it meant a lot. And I happened to pick up a lot of hands heads-up, but things went my way today.
Does your bracelet mean more because of the tough field and final table you went through to win it?
Yeah, it feels great knowing that it was a really good field and I was able to pull through. Sure I caught some cards, but I felt like I played really well the whole way. I made a couple of folds in the early stages that were maybe questionable, but here I am with the bracelet. So I'm very happy about that.
You come from an athletic background, having been a competitive basketball player. How much does that background help you in tournament poker, in terms of staying disciplined and making good decisions?
The main thing I think get from basketball, and really that any athlete has, is the winner's mentality. When I played basketball, it was all about the win. When you lose - you can't lose, pretty much.
It's the same thing with poker. You have to go for the win. Second place, third place, none of that matters - you have to go for the win.
And mentally, just staying focused - like in basketball, when you're down by three, there's a lot of pressure on you. You have to keep your head straight, and that helps out a lot with poker.
Thanks for your time, Nenad, and congratulations.
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With the first bracelet of this year's WSOP now awarded, the floodgates are set to open. Be sure to stay with PokerListings.com for the scoop on all this year's winners.