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Oct 26, 2012

Grilling Gage - RakeTheRake talk to Cake Poker EPO2012 Qualifier

By RTR Dennis

Aaron EPO1

RTR: So, you played the English Poker Open 2012 - sponsored by RakeTheRake – and you made the journey over from the States through Cake Poker's English Poker Open Main Event Prize Packages. Tell us about how you won your EPO2012 seats.

AG: I started with .30 cent buy-in tourney taking top 10 out of 110 players, won my way into the $33 tourney then took 1st out of 91 players qualifying for the EPO. RTR: You made it along to the EPO Welcome Party – first time partying on a boat for you?

AG: This was not my first time partying on a boat but it was my first time being on a boat surrounded by poker players and it was my first time in England. RTR: Had you had much live tournament experience before, or was the EPO2012 a bit of a baptism of fire for you?

AG: I have played a lot of live tourneys but this was my first time playing with recognized pros along with my highest buy in tourney yet. RTR: As you know, Mickey Petersen came out the winner and he’s an online pro – do you think that online players crossing over to live can bring a fresh and ultimately successful style or strategy?

AG: Online players have a major agro factor and this is very helpful to live play. Online players also have way more poker experience since they can play hundreds of hands in minutes. This disadvantage is reading abilities. Yes they have the mathematics but they are at a disadvantage when it comes to the psychological part of the game. Looking for physical tells and sensing weakness is what i mean by physical tells. It was funny because I got to play with Mickey all day on Day 1 and he did not win one pot off me. I had really good reads on him (LOL). RTR: How did you do in the tournament itself – it was a very competitive field wasn’t it?

AG: For my first pro tourney I think I played really well. I made a few mistakes along the way but I definitely held my ground against the pros. I WAS PUT AT THE TOUGHEST TABLES BOTH ON DAY 1 and Day 2. I had players like Liv Boeree Mickey Petersen, James Dempsey etc. I got involved in one hand I should never have played with from the start where I hit my gut shot straight. I knew the guy had a set and I should have shoved but I wanted value. The player ended up rivering a boat on me when we got it all in after the last card. I ended up having to shove on Day 2 and lost a race with pocket 2-2's against AK, I also had 4 hearts to the flush missed all 15 outs. RTR: Out of all the pros that were at the EPO2012, who do you most admire or look up to and why?

AG: I look up to Sam Trickett the most. I did not get to play with him at but I met him at the boat party. Such a genuine guy. I told him about how I qualified and he laughed saying that is awesome I hope you take it down. Sam is also a phenomenal player who I have watched on tv and online along with studying his game. He is a true representation of how a poker pro should be on and off the table and I have the utmost respect for him. RTR: How much do you play online versus live, and do you prefer one over the other?

AG: I play live more since I enjoyed it more but I had to cut back since I am in an intense masters program for social work at NYU (New York University) and work part time. RTR: Has qualifying for and playing in the English Poker Open 2012 given you the impetus to play more big live tournaments?

AG: Playing the EPO has definitely motivated me to play more tough live tourneys. The experience was surreal and I could say hands down one of the best moments in my life. The Fox Poker Club is great and even though I’ve only played there for 9 days they felt like family to me. RTR: What are your poker ambitions now – do you see yourself making a living from poker, or will it remain just a hobby of sorts?

AG: Poker will continue to be a hobby. At most maybe becoming a part time pro. I always tell people to remember my face because one day I will be playing on TV RTR: Finally, what were the highlights of the whole experience for you?

AG: My highlights of the trip include... Raking chips off the pros like James Dempsey, and Mickey Petersen. Finding out that Liv Boeree has never seen or heard of the movie Rounders. Listening to Mickey’s story of a won prop bet against Vanessa Selbst where he has to marry her, being chip leader for almost all of Day 1. And meeting just a bunch of great people on and off the felt both in the poker community and in London. I got to catch up with my old English friends - some I haven't seen for over five years so it was all just a great experience.