Young Vet Poised for Poker Glory

Andrew Lichtenberger

He may be just 22 years young, but make no mistake about it: East Northport, New York's Andrew Lichtenberger is a veteran poker player.

"I think it's just because I've played so much online previously and got so many more hands in and more experience than guys strictly from the live scene," he told PokerListings on Day 3 of the North American Poker Tour Venetian main event, where he is among the leaders and appears poised for a deep run.

"By the time I made it to the live scene I was already significantly more comfortable than you would expect. It's kind of odd how it works."

Lichtenberger picked up the online game five years ago as a teenager and has been taking it seriously for the past three.

Around the same time he had moved his way up from grinding online micro-stakes as a teenager to $3/$6 No-Limit Hold'em, he became a little bored with cash games and started playing tournaments.

It wasn't long before he turned 21 and burst onto the live scene with a 13th-place finish at the $25k WPT Championship.

Then, in his first shot at the World Series of Poker this past summer, he made second in the $5K Shootout before finishing an outstanding 18th in the Main Event, getting his fare share of face time on ESPN.

Thanks to that more than $700k bankroll boost, he's now travelling the tournament circuit and can be found playing online under the handle LuckyChewy at $25/$50 and higher.

And, as 2010 turns two months old, Lichtenberger is beginning to see how the experience of finishing deep in two of 2009's biggest live tournaments is proving itself more valuable every day.

"The WPT was my first time going deep and, it's not that I was nervous, it's just that it feels so different than anything else," he said. "You are not really used to it. At this point now, with the Main Event and all the cameras there, nothing really compares, so anything else is just any other day playing poker for me."

Being so comfortable in high pressure situations allows Lichtenberger to focus on the kind of things he believes sets his game apart from other players.

"I just analyze situations very deeply," he said. "I pick up factors that most people miss. I'm aware of certain things based on all the hands I've played.

Patterns start occurring and you kind of can tell when a certain guy is going to get fed up and start playing back at you, stuff like that."

An instructor with LeggoPoker and a regular poster on poker forums across the net, Lichtenberger is no stranger to the poker community.

But the exposure from ESPN's coverage of the Main Event coverage has also made him recognizable elsewhere thesed days.

"I got recognized at a festival in Adelaide, just randomly by some guy," he said. "It happens all the time now, especially in poker rooms."

But despite the sudden celebrity, all the experience of running deep in big events and the cash that comes with it, Lichtenberger is missing one thing.

"I've actually never won a live tournament," he said. "So yeah, I really want to win a live tournament. It would be so cool. And why not the first NAPT? That's not a bad idea."

Live coverage of the NAPT Venetian continues through Feb. 24 on PokerListings' Live Updates page.

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