Russ "Dutch" Boyd doesn't look like a man who just won $169,000.
After busting out in fifth at Saturday's Six-Handed No-Limit Hold'em event, Boyd heads outdoors for a consolatory cigarette accompanied minutes later by a White Russian with the same purpose.
The event was Boyd's second-biggest cash but, despite refusing to complain about it, he's deflated and clearly wishing he was back in the World Series of Poker final-table shroud rather than sitting at the Rio's casino bar.
Contributing to the sting, perhaps, are Boyd's memories of winning the $2,500 Short-handed No-Limit Hold'em event at the 2006 WSOP and final tabling this year's $3,000 Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo Split Eight-or-Better only to bust out in third.
There's no denying it's been a good Series so far. What's even more encouraging is that it comes after a troubling winter that saw Boyd go off medication for his bipolar disorder. The resulting bizarre behavior at the Five Diamond World Poker Classic in December was caught on film and shipped directly to YouTube for the amusement poker gossipmongers.
These days Boyd's feeling much better: hanging out with family, shying away from online play and opting out of Googling himself.
Shortly after heading to the rail Saturday, the poker pro talked with PokerListings.com about his Series this year, his take on Harrah's performance and his unfortunate brush with fame last December.
Tell me about the hand you went out on.
Today Bill Edler pushed all-in from the cutoff. I was on the button with jacks and I called him - like an insta-call - and he turned over A-7. The flop came out clean, all bricks, and then the turn came out an ace. It was like, agghhh, a knife through my heart. But it is what it is. You just try to get the money in with the best of it.
I hate being all-in. I feel like, in poker, you made a mistake if you're all in. Maybe not in that specific hand, but there were plenty of things I could have done to have more chips than Bill Edler. He had me covered, so he was playing better than I was. And when the hand and I needed to have my hand hold up, it didn't.
How did you feel about your play up until the final table?
Honestly, I felt like I wasn't stealing enough. I felt like I was being too reliant on my cards and in the end it was he big hand that got me, so maybe I was right.
When you leave an event like that does it discourage you for the next one?
I don't think so. I don't feel discouraged. I know that even though I didn't get first I know the next event I'm playing I'm going to go in pretty confident. I've proven myself over and over that I belong here at the World Series. This is my second final table this year and it's going to be a positive Series no matter what. So I feel very confident going into other events. It's not discouraging at all.
So this is a big payday for you I guess.
It's my second biggest payday.
But you're still feeling like you need a drink?
I can still smile about it; $169,000 is a lot of money. I would have still liked the bracelet. First place is $900,000 and that would have been a lot more money. Sometimes it's your time and sometimes it's not. Today wasn't my time. I'm sure I'm going to get another shot at a bracelet and eventually I'll win another one. Hopefully more than one if I just keep putting myself in situations to do that. And today I did that, so I feel good.
So I know you were in the news this winter for some of your antics at tournaments. How are you feeling these days?
I'm feeling a lot more stable than I did in December. I was kind of in rare form. I have bipolar disorder, so sometimes when I decide so not take the meds I get a little crazy and that's what happened in December.
What's that like to deal with, having to look back at all the footage of yourself?
Do you think the coverage was fair?
No, I don't think it was fair at all. I think they really could have been a bit more selective about what they chose to air out there. They chose to air dirty laundry and honestly I feel like Pokerwire is mostly to blame. They turned into tabloid journalists at that point. I mean, they were really happy with the fact that I was going off I think.
I asked them to take the videos down. They wouldn't. The whole thing was pretty embarrassing to me. What can you do?
Well, the media wouldn't make fun of people who are suffering from side effects of other illnesses.
Yeah. You got some guy with Tourette Syndrome you don't put him on camera and laugh. That's okay though. You have to have a tough skin. I've done a lot more things to be embarrassed about than a couple of Pokerwire videos. It's par for the course, I guess.
So what are your plans for after the World Series?
I don't know yet. I'm probably going to go home, back to Missouri, and spend some time with family, try to survive the Missouri heat. That's about it.
What do you do in your down time?
Not a lot. I don't have cable so I don't even watch TV. I mainly just spend time with family. I have a couple of Internet projects I'm working on, nothing I really care to mention - not porn though. They're all poker related.
Are you playing online much?
Not really. Not since PartyPoker went down. I used to play a lot on PartyPoker. I got banned from PokerStars and I haven't really got too comfortable playing on Full Tilt. I don't know. I'll probably start playing again online, but for now it doesn't really seem necessary. The Internet stuff I've got going on pays the bills and so I don't feel this drive like I used to to survive. I don't need poker anymore in my life to survive.
That was really the driving force, why I played it. When you're playing poker every day it's really a grind and it's not too much different from a real job except that you don't have anyone telling you what to do. But there's not too many jobs that you can go broke in and it's really stressful. I mean, especially when things are on a downslide. It can really fuck up your world.
I don't know. I'm just at a point right now where I'm living a pretty stress-free life and poker online is stressful. I don't know. It stresses me out.
How do you feel Harrah's has been running the Series this year?
I don't see a lot of big mistakes. I see a lot of small ones. The structures could be better, but there's no perfect structures for these tournaments. The short stacks are always going to complain that there's not enough play. The final table's always going to take too little time.
The biggest complaint I had was the cards they chose at the beginning, but they fixed that pretty quick. So I think them fixing that did a lot in my opinion. They've demonstrated that they're willing to work with the players to try to do what they want.
I think Harrah's has been doing an okay job. The only thing I can complain about is the rake. I think they're taking way too much money out of the prize pools. They should probably be taking better care of their dealers. There's a lot of money they're making and they're not really returning a lot of it to the players. Any of it really.
I don't think it's sustainable. In the future, I think you're going to see money being added to prize pools and players being treated a little bit better. They could at least comp rooms and things like that, you know? You get a $10 voucher. You buy-in for a $50,000 event and you get a $10 voucher for food at the pizza kitchen? What happened to old-school Vegas where at least you got the buffet? (Boyd laughs.)
It's pretty sick. They could be treating poker players better. But I'm not complaining too much. I'm having a good Series out here. * * * * * * * * * *
There aren't many events left at this year's World Series of Poker but you'll still see Russ "Dutch" Boyd on the felt in at least a handful of them, looking to add a third final table to his 2007 results and, hopefully, a gold bracelet.