Andrew Pantling: If I Didn't Find Poker, Poker Would Have Found Me


The name Andrew Pantling likely isn't very familiar to most casual poker fans.

Those in the know, though, see the name Pantling on their table draw - either Andrew or his brother Wes - and see a very, very tough out.

Both have long lists of big results both online and live with Andrew, among several impressive scores, finishing runner-up to Phil Laak for a bracelet at the 2010 WSOPE.

He's in the mix for another big score again at the 2013 EPT Grand Final with a massive 943,000-chip stack heading into Day 4, trailing only chip leaders Johnny Lodden and Steve O'Dwyer.

We Didn't Come From a Poker Family

PokerListings Denmark reporter Thomas Hviid caught up with Pantling on the last break of the day to find out more about his boom-or-bust tourney style, his career in poker and his brother's experience at a now-infamous Partouche Poker Tour final table. You're doing really well here in Monte Carlo this year. You also went deep here last year and the year before you won the 5k NLHE heads-up. Do you have a special relationship with Monte Carlo?

Andrew Pantling
Near miss for Pantling at 2010 WSOPE.

Andrew Pantling: Yes, I just feel really relaxed and comfortable in this poker room. I like Monte Carlo, the nice weather – in other places I don’t always feel that way.

I think that when I'm comfortable and feeling good I play better and get a bit more lucky. And that is the key, I have been lucky here.

PL: You have a bit of a boom-or-bust-style. What is your strategy for an event like this?

AP: I don't play a huge amount of tournaments and never really have. I don't even play much poker anymore.

Usually when I come to these tournaments I’m on business, so I tend to play an aggressive style where I either get eliminated on Day 1 and can get back to work or I go deep.

Fortunately, the latter has happened so far this tournament.

PL: You currently live in London and you used to live in Malta and Australia. How important is poker in your life at the moment?

AP: I used to play a lot of poker, but now I am working at Matchbook, a betting site, so I only get time to play a few tournaments a year.

I tend to go the ones where the big sports bettors are and also the ones I like, so I go to Australia and Monte Carlo and some local tournaments in the London area.

PL: Your brother Wesley is also a talented poker player. Is he also in London?

Andrew Pantling
Goes big or goes home.

AP: My brother lives in the Far East, he is in Hong Kong and Macau most of the time. He is a very talented cash-game player and a bit younger than me, so he really loves poker and is doing really well.

PL: How did you guys start playing poker?

AP: We didn’t come from a poker family at all. My parents aren’t card players; my dad is a musician, my mom is an artist.

I like to say that “if I wouldn’t have found poker, poker would have found me." I was always inclined with math and gambling and I like to at least think that I have an edge when I gamble.

That's what drove me to poker and when the online poker boom happened I was there to be the beneficiary of that.

PL: Your brother was on the famous final table at the Partouche Poker Tour where two players were eventually caught cheating. Did any of you have any suspicion about that at the time?

AP: You know, it's funny. He might not want me to say this, but he probably wouldn’t mind.

The final table was delayed two or three months, which gave people time to prepare the cheating. Wesley went there to play, and I went there to sweat, and when he got knocked out, he came to me and said 'These two guys are working together. I can’t prove it, I don’t know what they are doing, but they are working together.

'Every break they were talking and whispering, they had awkward pauses, awkward stares. I don’t know how, but I think they are cheating.'

We had forgotten about it and a few years had passed, so when that video came out we weren’t totally surprised. But we can't be bitter about it.

Andrew Pantling
More a Monte Carlo guy than a Vegas guy.

It cost him a lot of money and a lot of equity, but he is a gracious kid and he has let it go and moved on to bigger and bigger things.

PL: You have made quite a few cashes at the WSOP, including a second place at the WSOPE. Are you going for a bracelet this year in Las Vegas?

AP: I don’t intend to play this year at all. We have my first son on the way, so I’m going to be home in Canada preparing for that.

I also don't feel as comfortable in Las Vegas as I do in Monte Carlo. The huge heat, the Rio isn’t the nicest place to play – I just don’t really enjoy myself. So I don’t see myself playing the WSOP in the foreseeable future.

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