Midway through Day 2b of the World Series of Poker Europe's Main Event, PokerListings.com caught up to Fricke in between an atrocious table assignment and a two-hour dinner break to get his impressions of the tournament, his play and his runner-up finish to Gus Hansen in January's 2007 Aussie Millions.
Alright, Jimmy, how are you playing right now?
I'm playing pretty well. Unfortunately there's a guy who qualified on Betfair Poker who knows what he's doing seated two to my left, and Patrik Antonius, who always knows what he's doing, seated one to my left, and they both have about the same amount of chips as me, which is about $135,000 or so. So if I open light, I'm going to be three-bet, and I haven't really been picking hands to play back at them yet.
How did you get your chips today?
I started the day with $37,000 and went on a huge rush during the first level, got up to like $100,000 and had dropped to $85,000 at the last break. After I got moved to this table I picked some spots and got some chips and got up to where I am now.
With the two players to your left playing back at you the whole time.
Yeah, they're just playing back at everyone. I mean, there was a kid who just busted - who the Betfair guy took out - and between the four of us we were probably winning 90% of the pots.
What's your plan for the last level of the night?
If my table breaks, I'm going to play pretty aggressively. I'm pretty sure we have the toughest table in the tournament right now.
You probably have the toughest draw of the tournament right now.
It's pretty tough, because they're right on my left and the Betfair guy is three-betting every time. So if I'm at the same table I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing, playing pretty tight-aggressive, picking my spots and making good reads on Patrik - I feel like I've improved my game so much in the past few weeks - and just keep playing tight, whereas if I get moved, all bets are off. I'm going to start going nuts again.
What are your impressions of the World Series?
I like it. The structure of the tournament is great. I really wish it were run better - the people are friendly and the dealers are nice, even if some of them are inexperienced, but the organizers just need to get some common sense in their heads.
The whole two Day 2s is complete crap. The fact that we're playing four levels in each of the first two days? It's just a lot of time that we don't need to waste. I would not mind playing six levels a day. I have a bunch of energy, and I know that there are some people who need 20-minute breaks every level, but I don't. I'd be happy with a 15-minute break every four hours, but that's just me.
You've played the high-profile tournaments like the Aussie Millions and the EPT Grand Final. How does this compare, then?
The Aussie Millions' structure was great. I mean, I really like the structure here, the structure is great, but it just seems like they tried to cater to so many people....
It's like wiffleball, in terms of the structure. It's supposed to be tough to get through the whole tournament, you know? These big live tournaments, part of it is that you have to have some endurance. Right now they're basically letting everyone get 14 hours of sleep a day and play eight hours. They're giving us a two-hour dinner break right before playing another two-hour session and then going home. I don't think that's right.
What did you make of the concept of playing three different casinos on Day 1?
There was really no other choice if they're going to run the tournament in London, so I can't really say anything about that, but they had three casinos, they were all ready to do it, they hired all the people to do it, and then they only played there for one day, when they could just as easily have had it across the whole time instead of having two Day 2s, which was just so they could save some money.
What do you think about the caliber of play at this tournament?
I've had some really tough tables. My first table was pretty soft - some people busted and I got a lot of chips, especially since I had position against the only other good player, but right now, you know, it's tough, but there are five people at my table who have no clue what they're doing.
We saw you a few times in Las Vegas this summer during the WSOP. What were you up to?
I was there for a month, just hanging out with friends who were playing the World Series, getting pretty pumped for it myself. Playing online, that's pretty much it.
Did you and your crew rent a place?
We had a house on the outskirts of Vegas, a few minutes' drive in.
That's not too bad then. Earlier this year you placed second at the Aussie Millions. How has that affected your life and your career as a poker player?
It's affected it quite a lot. I've won a bunch of money from it; I've got some fame from it. I mean, you wouldn't be giving me this interview if it wasn't for the fame from the tournament. To me, though, it's just one tournament and I play so many of them that, in the long run, it was a good experience but that's basically all it was. I can't keep riding the one performance forever and expect to feel good about my game. I need to do well at something else and hopefully I'll go deep in this tournament.
Has the performance at the Aussie Millions affected your online play at all?
No, not at all. I play tournaments online so it's hard to game-select, but I mean, it has opened up a lot of opportunities for me and that's pretty much all it means at this point.
Cool. I'll let you get to dinner. Thanks very much and good luck.
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Fricke entered the dinner break with a share of the chip lead, but although he got his new seating assignment (conveniently on friend Junglen's left), the aggressive play appeared to backfire as the Gobboboy would find himself knocked down to $48,100 by day's end.
Nevertheless, Fricke (who with his 16th-place finish in the H.O.R.S.E. event last week became the youngest player to cash in a WSOP event) has a knack for making his presence felt in these high-buy-in affairs. With Gus Hansen the chip leader and Fricke still in the running, we may see a rematch of the Aussie Millions heads-up battle before this tournament is over.