If you've never heard of Jordan Rich there's a good chance you'll know his name by tomorrow. He made the final table at the 2007 Aruba Classic and was the Day 2b chip leader at the 2006 WSOP. However, tomorrow is when the Portland, Oregon native will head into the final six of the Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic second in chips just behind leader Eugene Katchalov and looking to make a name for himself.
Armed with a fearless and aggressive style of play Rich took on the best in the world on Day 5 and won. He sat down with PokerListings.com to tell us how he did it just minutes after play wrapped.
OctavianC in the Live Arena
You started out at one table today and didn't see much, then you got moved and went on a tear. What was the difference between the two tables?
The players at the table; it wasn't the cards, it was the players. At the first table I had Erick Lindgren, Devilfish, Ryan Daut, basically a lot of good players. I got moved to the other table and they're good players too, but not as good as these guys.
With my stack at the table before I got moved I was just going to play like a rock: solid; hopefully looking to trap; wait for my spots, etc., etc. When I got moved to the other table, I decided to go with a different approach, a bit more aggressive, because I felt like everyone else was just waiting to get up the ladder in the pay structure.
I had accumulated a bunch of chips before I played a huge hand where I got really lucky and hit my gut-shot. Once I made that hand I had about $2.5 million in chips and once we moved back over here (to the final table) I had played no other major hands, but I had $4.1 million. So I was able to use my stack against the table.
You ran it up to over $9 million at one time.
I did, before I lost that huge pot with Eugene (Katchalov) with the tens.
You moved in with the tens and he had hit a set. What was going through your mind there?
I felt really weird about the hand. I had been playing with him a bit and he had been making plays, but he was being really smart about it I felt. I think it was a bad play on my part. It's hard to fold two tens on an eight-high board, especially when you know somebody is capable of making a play against you with a draw. The only real hand he could have had that I could beat was nines, but I decided to play it really aggressive.
Do you think you'll still come into tomorrow's final six continuing to play aggressively?
We'll see. I have Eugene on my left and he's been pretty much staying out of my way. He's been seeing flops, but he's been honest. At least from what I've seen. The eights proved that. It's the only time we played a big pot and he had a monster. I think he'll stay out of my way if I decide to play aggressively. But we'll have to see about the tempo and the different player's moves.
Under the hot lights and TV cameras some players tend to get a little nervous and tighten up. Will it be a problem for you?
I was just recently in Aruba and I final-tabled that and got fifth place and there were TV cameras and everything there. I really didn't like it. I didn't like how my cards were being shown on camera. It was outside and a really different environment; it was really hot. This one's going to be inside, so I don't know, we'll have to wait and see. I remember the lights shining down on us being really hot and being outside in Aruba it felt uncomfortable. I'm really not going to know until I'm there but last time I didn't like it.
I suppose that Aruba experience has got to help though?
There's no question, yes. I mean, experience is the number one learning tool in this game by far. [Aruba] will [have added] to it a little bit I think. Having a lot of my family and friends come down should help too. I'm going to call them right now and have them fly down in the morning.
How did you get your start in poker Jordan? Online?
I actually started live. In my family we played gin rummy. We played a bit of poker, but it was mostly gin rummy. We played a lot when I was younger and I would always beat my parents. Then there was a huge gap in my life where I didn't play cards at all through junior high and high school. I didn't play one hand of poker during that time. Then about a year and a half after high school I started getting into poker and rapidly got into it around the (Chris) Moneymaker time.
I started playing $5 home games with my friends. Then we'd go up to the local casino and play 3-6 Limit Hold 'em. They had $20 tournaments and there's really something about tournaments that just reeled me in. Cash games are one thing, but I kind of view tournament poker as like, poker and another game combined; kind of like chess.
I became obsessed with it. I lost a lot in the beginning, but I read a lot of books about it and started talking to other people that were good at it. We actually have a group up in Portland called finaltableteam.com and we all talk and discuss strategy and that's how I really developed my game.
Must have been tough though having to face this star-studded field, even in the final 18?
Daniel Negreanu was here, Erick Lindgren. It was a pretty tough field and it's still a pretty tough field left. I feel great with them at my table. I know Daniel Negreanu is better than me. We played for like three days together and yes, I definitely have more to learn.
But there's only a couple of players that I've played against that are better than me; that I feel they are better than me. I'm definitely on top of my game, but I feel there's still room for improvement. Daniel is definitely better than me, but there's really only a few players I can say that about.
Thanks Jordan, and make sure you get a good night's sleep tonight. You're going to need it.
Rich plays a lot of live tournament poker these days, but he also mixes in some solid online play under the name OctavianC. Confidence goes a long way in the poker world and as you can see, Jordan has it. We'll see if Rich can use it to get rich, fighting for the $2.4 million first-place prize at the Five Diamond Tuesday.