Niall “onehandturks” Charlton is in Cannes playing the 2011 World Series of Poker Europe and he sat down with us to talk about the online grind and life outside of the game.
Charlton plays high-stakes Pot-Limit Omaha online, up to $100/$200, and according to highstakesdb.com he’s profited to the tune of $320,000 so far this year.
Charlton took a few minutes to chat on a break from the €5k PLO WSOPE event to speak with us.
PL.com: Let’s start at the beginning. When did you get into poker and what’s the development of your game been like since then?
Niall Charlton: I’ve been playing for about seven years-ish. When I got out of University in Nottingham I was playing online and making money and instead of getting a job I just kept playing and did some traveling.
About four years ago I started focusing on Omaha and I think because I got into it before it started getting really popular my game progressed a lot faster than the average Omaha player.
And now I play high-stakes online.
What were you doing in University at the time, when you got into online poker?
I studied business and computer science but poker just sort of fell into my lap. My final year’s dissertation was on game theory and poker, sort of trying to solve poker and see if a computer could do it.
It was a rudimentary program but the theory was okay.
You’ve spent a lot of time in the HSPLO forums on Two Plus Two. How much did that help the development of your game?
I’ve been part of the Two Plus Two community for about four years and it’s definitely helped a lot. I’ve met a lot of great players there and the discussion and talking over hands it’s allowed me to do has helped.
It was good in the early days but not much posting about hands seems to go on there anymore.
When you talk about the learning curve in Omaha, is it really getting hard now that the game’s becoming so much more popular?
Yeah it really is. The No-Limit players that are coming across and beginning to take Omaha seriously are improving so fast.
I think within a year or two a lot of these guys will be the best, better than all the PLO players who have been playing for a long time.
Are the games beatable now? And will they continue to be as the level of play continues to go up?
Well, I think so. I mean, I hope so because I don’t know what else I would do. (laughs)
But the games at the moment are great. The $50/$100 and $100/$200 games are really good right now.
You went deep in the Main Event at the WSOP this year and you’ve had some other good live results. Is live poker something you’re interested in doing more of?
Yeah, actually I just moved to London and things have been busy, a lot of drinking and a lot of partying, so I look at these events as a time to sort of take it easy and get a break.
So I’ll definitely be playing more events when I have the time to get away.
What do you see in your future? Will you be playing poker forever or do you have aspirations outside of the game?
I don’t think I’ll be able to beat the game forever so I want to make as much money as I can now, and use that to try some business ideas and investments.
It’s really hard to sit down right now and invest time in stuff like that when I can make a lot of money playing poker.
You talked a bit about the skills you learned in University helping you in poker. Do you think the skills you’ve learned in poker will help you down the road when you decide to turn to other projects?
Definitely. Bankroll management is obviously a huge skill. New business owners will often put all their funds in their first big idea which is dangerous, just like poker.
Understanding risk and being honest with yourself are really important in poker and I think the experience I’ve got will be a big help in business.