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Slick Rick: Rossetti is Champion!
In true grinder fashion, Rick Rossetti wore down Alex Gomez in a long and drawn-out heads-up match to take the title. Rick sits down with PokerListings.com to give us an inside look at how it all went down.
Congratulations Rick, that heads-up match was quite a grind! We all thought it was going to be over pretty quick but there were a ton of swings before you were able to take it down. Give us your feelings on Alex Gomez and how you approached the heads-up with him.
Yeah, I played with Alex for about five hours and I watched him run about $14,000 up to $1.1 million which was ridiculous, I never saw that before. He tripled-up, doubled-up, doubled-up. As a matter of fact, a good friend of mine [Brian Strahl] made a bad play against him and doubled him for like $350,000 so he had a ton of chips. He sat down five times chip leader but once we got heads-up I felt pretty confident. He plays real close to the vest so I felt like I got pretty good reads on him but he played good.
It seemed like both of you were playing pretty conservatively. It seemed like the opportunity was there for one of you to step in and take control of the match but it never really happened. Was that out of respect for him, just cautious play or was it just a cold deck?
I had maybe three big hands the whole time we were heads-up. I had pocket aces and I slow played them, I don't know if he got lucky or he had some radar on me but I just smooth-called and after he checked the flop I made a small bet and he folded. I had pocket jacks and three under-cards came on the flop and it was the same scenario.
One hand that stands out in my mind is when Alex had you beat after the river with a higher full house, queens full of eights against your queens full of deuces. He bet into you on the river and you just called. It seemed like all the chips should have gone in on that hand, how'd you get away from it?
I thought he had me beat, I honestly did.
That was a really nice read! Let's go back a bit farther in the final table and talk about your strategy a bit. Your stack was never really that big until towards the end of the match so what were you thinking early? Were you trying to hang on to move up in the payouts or were you really gunning for the win?
I started with $181,000 I think it was and I had strong hands in a few good spots. I raised with A-K and another guy pushed all-in with A-J, that was an automatic call and I had him dominated. I was in the small blind and raised with A-9 and the big blind tried to make a move and come over the top. I called him and he had A-7. So I was in good spots.
You made a deal with Alex and John Racener when it got down to three players to chop the pot and play for the World Series seat and the ring. Did that influence how much you wanted to win, knowing that the money was already locked up?
I don't know how often you're in this spot to win a World Series Circuit, I wanted to win it. I really wanted to take it down.
You sound like you were pretty confident so what motivated you to make the deal in the first place?
Well, there's bad beats you know? I played a hand with aces and got cracked by kings early in the tournament, luckily he had no chips. That's why I play high-limit Stud you know what I mean? I know No-Limit Hold'em is the Cadillac but if I'm going to put $40,000 on the table I'd rather skill be involved more than luck. In No-Limit you make one bad play and you can lose all your money.
Tell us about your background in poker and how you got your chops at the table.
Actually me and my dad played when I was little, like 13 or 14. We played for pennies heads-up but we played serious. I took my lumps, I played $10-$20 and got my brains beat in. I started stepping it up and hanging with the right people - a lot of people have taught me how to play better. I read some books. You got to take your lumps you know> I was just lucky to do it at low limits!
I saw your shirt yesterday and it said "Rossetti Roofing". Is poker still just a hobby for you or do you have aspirations to play as a living?
Yeah, I have a successful roofing business, I buy houses and fix them up and sell them. I'm not looking to go anywhere, I'm happy where I'm at. I have about five friends who are professional poker players and guess what? Everybody thinks it's beautiful but they go broke sometimes so I'm glad to be where I am.
What are your plans after winning this event? Do you think you'll be playing more big buy-in No-Limit Hold'em events?
I think this is my fourth main event, I cashed in one at Foxwoods and at the World Series I took a bad beat to get busted. It's tough, it's a crap shoot. It's really like a $10,000 lottery.
Thanks a lot Rick and congratulations again.