We do a ton of interviews for stories here on PL.com but every once in a while there's just too much good stuff to fit into the feature. In those cases we think it's only fair to give you a look at the full and unabridged interview.
That's exactly what we've done here.
What follows is the transcript from an interview with Andrew Feldman at the 2009 World Series of Poker Europe. If time and/or patience is an issue for you check out the feature news story here.
Andrew Feldman Interview at 2009 WSOPE
PokerListings: Tell me how you got started in poker.
Andrew Feldman: My older brother was playing online, quite small stakes, satellites for cruises and big packages and when I was around 17 I'd heard that there was big money in it. I didn't know anything about the game and I wasn't too keen. I was playing a lot of games online and I was quite happy with that, but when I turned 18 I decided to give it a shot and so I put a small deposit into some European sites and started playing 1 pound sit and go tournaments. I gradually went to the six-max turbos and then started increasing my knowledge for the game.
PL: How did you increase your knowledge?
AF: I didn't read any books, I just kind of took to it and getting involved in more hands and beginning to like it a lot more.
My brother never really told me what to do and I never really read any books. It's all sort of been through experience.
PL: And so you started making money straight away?
AF: I decided to start playing heads-up at the smallest stakes,, 25/50 cent and just gradually increasing my knowledge for the game and developing my game, getting more aggressive each time I played. Then I just began to play more and more and more.
I built up quite a nice roll, over $100,000 in the space of about eight months or so. Then one night coming home from the casino where'd I'd lost quite a bit of money, 2000 pounds on like 3-card poker, so I was a bit steamed up. I thought yeah whatever I'll go and get it back from poker, so played out of my bankroll at 25/50. It took just one bad beat and then I started playing bad and by the end of the night I'd done half the roll.
I went to bed, woke up, was in a bit of shock after only seeing half my balance there and within the next few hours all that had been wiped out.
I had to come clean to my parents and tell them that everything had gone, which was very hard because they kept telling me to withdraw the funds and I wouldn't do it because I was a bit superstitious that if I'd taken it out I wouldn't be winning as much.
So they just said, right, no more gambling in the house, we want you to focus on you're a-levels and go to university. I was feeling like I really wanted to play and they made me go to gamblers anonymous just to get it out of my system, but even when I was going all I could think about was playing again.
I just wanted to get back to it because I knew I had the potential to make it. I knew I needed another shot. Fortunately I had a couple of hundred pounds through rakeback in a site. I built it up to £1,000 after one day, £10,000 by the week, £30,000 by the end of the month and then my parents made me take out most of that.
They made me put it away, gave me £5,000 to do with what I like and made me get my exams out of the way, which is exactly what I did. I managed to scrape through my A-levels, not really caring to be honest. I got accepted to University, but all I wanted to do was just continue playing poker.
PL: And so you continued grinding and started playing live?
AF: My big break live was the 2007 UK Open, I won the 888 UK Open for $250,000 and that sort of got me out there as a live player. Then I got invited to other events like the Poker Den cash game and I was the biggest winner there. Now I've done a bunch of TV events and just filmed the Full Tilt cash game last week.
PL: Is it your goal to play the biggest cash games?
AF: For me playing cash games, I try and be very selective. I'm not like durrrr or Phil Ivey who will play anyone high stakes. Obviously the Full Tilt cash game there was no dead money there, but that was kind of to get my name out there, for the experience. I didn't expect to win. I just wanted the experience and see what it's like.
For me, predominately I would like to get a big tournament win. I haven't had any big results lately. I feel I'm due a big result and I want to win a big title. So predominately I'm focusing on live tournaments. If cash games come up and I feel there's a bit of dead money in the game, then yeah, I'll go for it, but live I'm focusing on tournaments. I'm just playing as many tournaments as possible - EPT High Rollers wherever it is and hopefully get a big result.
PL: Another British player, Luke Schwartz, has been quite critical of you - claiming that you shy away from the better players online. What do you think of him?
AF: He likes to conduct himself in that way. He's very opinionated and he doesn't hold back. It's not something that I would advocate, because you've got to have respect for your fellow poker players. But he likes to do that, he likes to get players on tilt and that's his strategy. If it works for him and he feels he's happy then, you know, that's up to him to decide.
For me personally, I like to give respect to the other players at the table and just try and focus on my own game.
I don't agree with what he does, but that's up to him to decide.
PL: But is he right? Do you avoid the best players online?
AF: I'm not here to prove I'm the best because I don't ever feel I'll be the number one player. I just want to win as much money as possible, win some titles and just get along with everyone.
I try and be as friendly as possible. You want to have friends, you want to be a liked guy and that's more than money can get. In the meantime I'd like to try and prove that I am one of the best and can win.
I'm not too worried about being the best. That just isn't my game, my game is to try and target the weaker players and hopefully pick up some bigger tournaments on the way - so I'm not really going to waste my breath.
PL: So what stakes are you playing online now?
AF: I play 10/20 or sometimes 25/50, but the games on Full Tilt have pretty much dried up, there isn't much action there. But I play some tournaments there as well.
If there are some games going and I'm around, then yeah, I'll play - Predominantly six-max games. But there isn't too much Hold'em action around. It's mostly Omaha and I can't really play that, I'm just more of a Hold'em player.
I'm not out there to start saying I'm going to do durrrr and his challenge. In my mind if you are going to do some of these challenges you have got to have at least $20 million in the bank. You've got to be very well rolled for it. I am sufficiently rolled, but not that rolled and I'm not out there to start playing them heads up. Obviously if I'm in a ring game and they're there then I may have to get involved in pots with them.
They do play pretty big, like 200/400 and 300/600 and I'm quite happy making three or four thousand a session and I'm quite happy with that.
As long as I feel I'm playing good and there's some value in the table that's the main thing for me.