Brian Townsend Skips 2 WSOPs, Returns to Make Deep Main Event Run

Published on 12 July 2014 by Pokerlistings 424

Brian "sbrugby" Townsend is a legend in the high-stakes online poker world but he's been conspicuously absent from the World Series of Poker for the last couple years. He hasn't played the WSOP since 2011 but he chose the perfect time to make a comeback since he's managed to make a deep run in the $10,000 Main Event. Townsend tells about how his approach to poker has changed since 2011, as well as the incredible 250 kilometer ultra-marathon he ran in the Sahara Desert. “Since Black Friday I've had to change my mentality on poker in a lot of ways," said Townsend. "When I started out I used to just play and kind of go by feel and what my intuition and my gut told me to do. Over the last eight years of playing poker I've really developed into making decisions based on what my cards are telling me to do.” “I say to myself, 'Let the cards speak to you.' It's my silly saying to help me play more based on what I perceive to be an optimal strategy for the hand I have.” Check out the full Brian Townsend video interview and keep watching for the latest news and video from the 2014 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.

I haven't been out for a World Series in Poker event in the last, like, since Black Friday, so it's been quite a while since I've been out. I've just been enjoying life and doing some races. I did an ultramarathon, I did a marathon. An ultramarathon is basically anything over a marathon distance of running, and this one in particular was 250 kilometers in the Sahara Desert. Which sounds really crazy, but before I did it I was like, "Oh, I can do that. That shouldn't be a problem". Then obviously, I get out there and it's like holy crap. It's really hot in the Sahara Desert and this is a long way. But I somehow managed to finish, even though it was a lot tougher than I thought it would be, and it's a great experience, made some great friends, did it with my really close friends. It was really fun.

I'm still playing online so Black Friday didn't change too much of my life, other than I'm not in the US anymore, so traveling around a bit more. It did change a lot of people's lives. I have a lot of friends in poker who had more commitments like families or homes in the US, and aren't able to play poker anymore because of it. So it's really too bad for a lot of people and for poker in general.

The online game has evolved since Black Friday in that there's, I would say, just less action in general. People are a little less willing to take big risks than they were pre-Black Friday. Just because earning money, I think, for some people is much harder than it used to be. Since Black Friday, I had to change my mentality on poker. In a lot of ways, when I was starting out, I used to just play and kind of play by quote, unquote feel, and just kind of what my intuition or my gut told me to do. And, over the last I would say eight years that I've been playing Poker, I've really developed into not making decisions based off that gut or intuition, but doing it kind of off what my cards tell me to do. I say to myself, "Let the cards speak to you" kind of is my silly saying. But basically playing based off what you perceive is an optimal strategy for the hand that you have.

It's been great to play the main event since I haven't been out here in a long time. I've seen a lot of people who I hadn't been in touch with in a while so it's great to reconnect with friends. And, you know, it's getting really exciting. We're down to 190 people and 10 million dollar first prize is gonna get anyone excited. So I'm really looking forward to playing it and seeing how it goes. And I've been really, like I think I've played pretty well, but also been insanely lucky in a few all-ins which everyone has to do who's here. Everyone's been lucky, but hopefully it continues. And if it does, that's a lot of money at the end of the road.

I would say there's a lot of people who are playing really well and who play very similarly. And a lot of the younger guys are more excited about putting in really long hours and things. Where some of the older guys who've been around might not be as motivated as some of the 21 year olds who are taking their case money out to Vegas. That's really exciting.

I remember my first WSOP event, and I was actually reflecting on some of those memories like the first tournament I won, it was a $2000 I won, and I don't know if I've been more excited about Poker since winning that first tournament. And who knows, maybe getting first here would definitely be a bigger dollar amount.