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Intervew with WSOPC Caesars A.C. winner Eric Haber
Eric "Sheets" Haber seemed due for a big score at a live event. The skilled online player has been dominating Internet games for years. But despite some significant cashes, he had never won a major live tournament. All that changed today.
Haber entered the final table with $927,000 but ran into some trouble early and after folding to a huge bluff from Dan Hicks you had to wonder if Haber might tilt himself right out the tournament. Instead, Haber pulled it together, played some great poker and won a few races and ended up the event champion.
PokerListings.com caught up with Haber a couple minutes after his big victory.
First of all, Eric, you are a very well-known online pro so what does it take to take down a big live event like this one?
I really cherish the opportunity to play live because I'm married with kids and I don't get a chance to play very many of these things. There's also a certain extra effort you have to put in when you are dealing with real people.
This really means everything to me. To be able to grind it out for days and days and then get to the final table and still be able to make good decisions is an amazing feat. This is what it's all about for me. It really is.
What do you prefer now? Do you like live or will you always be an online guy?
It's not really my choice. I mean - I guess it is my choice - I like to stay home with my family and I can't be traveling all over the world. It's not something I would want to do even if they let me. So this is a great schedule for me. Every couple of months I play a live event and you know what, you cherish those moments and I think you play the best when you do that.
You see all these live pros travel all over the world and play every day and I just don't see it working out for them. You don't play your best when you are burnt out.
So when you play these events you just really want to you play your best. It's great; I don't even know what to say.
You are obviously a family man. Has your family been following you closely in this event and are they excited for you?
You know I didn't even think they were following it until four hours in I gave my wife the Web site, she doesn't usually follow it, it's not her thing and I don't think she'd ever seen me play, but she relayed a message to me saying that she has been following it and I should smile more.
You, somewhat ironically, started the tournament at the same table as Dan Hicks. What did you think of him and did you feel like you had a read on him?
Yeah I kinda knew what he was about. I mean I knew he was very aggressive and he would play his big cards very, very aggressively. I never really got a chance to go after him though. I usually like to stay away from the big stacks if I can, unless I have a really big hand, so I was really trying to avoid him if I could.
I didn't really remember him from any previous tournament but I think I remembered his face from something.
Anybody that can be as aggressive as him is incredibly dangerous.
What was your thought on the enormous lay-down you made against Hicks?
Well I actually hit a jack on the river. I had J-9 and I was chasing a gut-shot and the river came and he shoved. I had actually caught top pair. It was just an impossible call for me. I had spent the last three days making big river calls and he's been at the table the whole time so I figured there was no way he would try a bluff on me again. He did, however, and it was a great play by him.
In the middle of the hand you said, "What would Bax [Cliff Josephy] do?" What do you think he would have done?
[Laughs] He would have done the right thing. He would have called. Bax would not make a mistake.
Thanks for your time, Eric. Where will we see you next on the poker circuit?
I'm going to play the Main Event and I'll probably make the trip out to play a few of the preliminaries as well. That's pretty much what I've got going right now.
Thanks again, Eric; congratulations on your win.
It was an impressive victory for Haber and it couldn't happen to a nicer guy. Haber takes home a cool $431,136 and a seat into the Main Event. Although it's unlikely we'll see a lot of Haber on the poker road there's a good chance when we do he will always be threat to make it deep.