Part 2 of our exclusive interview with UK poker great Sam Trickett: “I’ve probably been a bit too generous and a bit too much of a pushover”

Britain’s hottest young poker talent Sam Trickett talks about staking, twitter and the future in the second part of our in-depth interview

PokerPlayer: Let’s talk about the online world. Although you’re primarily known as a live player, you’ve had some success online. Can we expect to see you at the virtual felt more?

ST: Yeah, I’ve never really put much effort into online. One of the main reasons is because I could never really get any money online to play at the stakes I wanted to play. I play really high stakes when I play live poker, and I can only deposit a few thousand a day, so it’s pointless playing online. I finally got some money on there so I could play the biggest games, and it’s been going well. But I probably haven’t taken it as seriously as with other forms of poker. When I play online it’s just when I’ve got nothing else to do, I’m at home, a little bit bored. But just recently, I’ve really made an effort to figure out how the other guys are playing, and try and make some money. There’s good money to be made online, so I’m quite looking forward to seeing how the next year or two goes.

Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t see you as a mad multi-tabler with the HUD and the hotkeys set up…

ST: Haha yeah, that’s a good read! I’m not like the typical poker player these days, like the young style poker player. A lot of these guys are clued-up, maths-based players, and they play with the PokerTrackers and the Hold’em Managers. I’m more into betting patterns, live reads. I understand the game enough to understand what they’re thinking, but I don’t like to look too much into stats when I play online. At the very top levels, people are adjusting that much, that your stats could be wrong.

That’s a really interesting point. Could you elaborate?

ST: For example, if it says somebody’s aggressive on lots of rivers and say, if you’ve called him down a few times, he might not be aggressive on rivers versus you. Just because he’s aggressive on rivers against the majority of players, doesn’t mean he’s going to be aggressive on rivers against you. So I feel that the stats can be a bit misleading sometimes. If you’re playing smaller stakes I think it’s fine because most players don’t adjust as much because they’re ten-tabling, they’re not really looking at what’s going on. But when you’re playing at the highest levels, these guys are just constantly adjusting and working out what hands to play versus you specifically, rather than against the whole field.

Speaking of the online world, you have mentioned your dislike for TwoPlusTwo and similar forums in the past. What’s the story behind this?

ST: It was a little bit misleading [the way it was reported] last time I did an interview. I didn’t say I disliked TwoPlusTwo full-stop. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great for poker that we’ve got such good forums. But my girlfriend received a lot of racial abuse and they were rude to her just because she was defending me over the Andrew Feldman incident. And I thought what they were doing was disgusting, to be fair. I was just saying that the people who sit at home photoshopping all day need to get a life. It’s been interpreted a little bit differently, as if I was speaking generally about TwoPlusTwo as a forum but that’s not really true. I was just saying that the people that Photoshop, I’ve got no time for them. They’re disgusting. Any normal person with any self-respect would stick up for their girlfriend in that position. I went on just recently to see what they’d said. It was actually quite funny, they were photoshopping my head onto all these things after I’d said that. They actually made me laugh, so I don’t mind it when it’s fun like that, but there’s only so much you can take when they start racially abusing your girlfriend. It’s a little bit different than photoshopping your head onto Andrew Feldman’s body!

You mentioned Andrew Feldman there: there seemed to be some bad blood, but then it seemed to get played down. Could you clear it up for us? 

ST: I’ve let it go now, I’ve swallowed it. I’ve realised, I mean, I’ll never speak to the kid again. He’s not a well kid. I think he’s very deluded and selfish and spiteful, so the less said about him the better.

By all accounts, you’ve had some pretty bad luck with lending and staking!

ST: It’s all a big learning curve, I suppose. I’ve probably been a bit too generous and a bit too much of a pushover. It’s just hard to say no to people, especially when you’re doing so well and your results are all over the internet after winning. When someone asks you to borrow a bit of money it’s hard to constantly come up with excuses why you can’t. So I’ve helped a lot of my friends out and what have you, but I know if the shoe was on the other foot they’d help me out, so I’ve not too many regrets in that aspect. With the staking, that could have gone well, but it didn’t. I was just unlucky, so for now I’m going to knock staking on the head because it’s not worth my time and the hassle that it causes me.

And then there was the controversial tweet, which seemed to implicate you in soft playing versus your horse in the English Poker Open. What went down there?

ST: Yeah this was funny. I was drunk, basically. I was playing the tournament and my best friend Chris Sly, who I’ve played football with for years, he’s just started playing poker. And he doesn’t have that much money, I stake him, so I’m desperate for him to win. So he’s raised and I’ve got two Aces. Now, if I re-raise him, he’s just going to fold. He knows I’ll never bluff him because I’ve backed him and he’s my friend. So I try to extract more value by flat-calling. And then some other guy called and came into the pot. It came Q-5-2. Chris c-bet with K-9 after I flat-called him, the other guy raised and I stacked off and he had a set. I was kind of mad because I felt the guy had a set too, but just didn’t go with it. If it wasn’t Chris that had opened I would have just re-raised and got on with the pot and won, that’s how I felt. Even if he hadn’t c-betted I wouldn’t have gone broke because the pot wouldn’t have been as big and I could’ve maybe got away from it.

Do you regret making that tweet now?

ST: Yeah, I was obviously really stupid the way I put it, but I was just joking. I didn’t want to say to my friend, ‘the reason I flat-called was to trap you’! I’d look like a right scumbag to my friend and it came across all wrong. I was like ‘what have I got myself into here?’ Obviously everyone’s aware of these tournaments I play, and for people to think I’d go out of my way to try and cheat in a £2k EPO tournament, I found it pretty amusing. But I understand why because of how I wrote it, but obviously no, I have never colluded or cheated in my life.

So the moral of the story is, don’t flat in position with Aces…

ST: Ha ha yeah, against your pal!

As 2012 winds down, are you going to slow the pace or will you be grinding hard?

ST: That’s a really good question, and one my girlfriend won’t stop asking. And my parents! I don’t really know. I don’t plan on playing too much poker just because I’ve played now for the last few months flat out. It’s hard not to because I’m on such a heater, at the minute everything I touch seems to be winning. Even sports betting I’m winning on, which I don’t normally do too well at! But I’ll be surprised if I play any more tournaments for the rest of the year. If I am going to play and travel a lot, I’ll probably just go to Macau and play some high-stakes cash games for a week or two. But I’m looking forward to Christmas really, and spending some time at home with my family and friends.

And what does 2013 have in store for the golden boy of UK poker?

ST: I’ve never really played many EPTs and the European tournaments, so I’ll probably stick to not playing those, but I will be playing the majority of the high roller events. Anything $50k and I’ll probably travel to play. I’ll be concentrating on cash games and the bigger buy-in tournaments. And I’ll probably play a bit more online than I have done in the last few years. More of the same, pretty much. But if I ever top 2012 then I’ll be very surprised!

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