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Chad Batista: Just Chillin'
At first glance, Chad Batista looks to be a lot younger than what it says on his ID, and I'm sure he's constantly being carded upon entrance to casinos. That wasn't a problem he had to deal with before this World Series of Poker Circuit event since this was his first foray into the world of live tournament action. Despite his youthful appearance, he's actually in his mid-twenties, is no stranger to high-stakes poker and has racked up an impressive record of online cashes.
With a diamond grill and a taste for wearing only brand-new kicks, Chad has already made close to a million dollars playing at all the major online poker rooms. Having placed fourth at a preliminary event here at Caesar's Indiana and dominating the main event going to the final table, it's easy to see that he will be a major force in big tournament poker. He took time to sit down with PokerListings.com and chat about his career and the tournament.
You've got a good lead on the field right now. Take us through this event and how it's gone for you.
Well, when I started out I was down to like 1,700 chips in the first thirty minutes and then I had a few double-ups. I've just been grinding. I haven't gotten too lucky, except just now when we were on the bubble and I had 3-6 and another guy had pocket sixes, and I really didn't even want to win that. I've just been playing my game, it's been crazy.
I've seen that you play a lot of hands and you raise a lot of hands. Have the other players been letting you run them over so far?
Yeah, some of them take it personally; they know I can have any two cards so they tilt off their chips to me. So, they've pretty much let me run them over.
Tell us a bit about where you're from and how you became interested in poker.
I'm from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. I got into poker a few years ago. My friends were playing online, and I got interested in it. I didn't have a job, and I was pretty broke. I just started doing it, and I worked my way up to the top. For a while I was one of the leading money winners on the Internet. I won the PartyPoker.com guaranteed million twice within a few weeks.
What do you attribute your online success to?
I don't know. People always ask me if I have strategy, but I really don't. I just play. How I feel, how the table is, it's all instinct.
What are you thinking now, going into the final table?
I'm just chillin'.
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Although Chad Batista's image may cause some people to think of Malibu's Most Wanted, after talking with him, watching him play, and seeing the way he interacts with the other people at the table, nothing could be further from the truth. He's got respect for others and this, in addition to his fearless, aggressive style, certainly garners his fair share of respect from those around him.