We finish off our round-up of the Team Israel crew with a look at Emil Patel
At 24-years-old, Emil Patel is something of a veteran in the world of online poker. And perhaps his mature, considered approach to the game is the reason he has avoided the hero worship and fame bestowed on some of his peers and friends. His roommate is Jason ‘Krantz’ Rosenkrantz and he is part of the Team Israel collective of high-stakes pros, but Patel is probably the least outspoken of the group. He doesn’t have a blog, or seemingly any ambitions for poker fame, he just focuses on winning huge amounts of money online.
He began, like many of his peers, playing in home games at university before discovering the brave new world of online poker. Patel never deposited. Instead he won a few cents through freerolls and worked up a bankroll that way. He spent his time switching between limit hold’em and no-limit until PartyPoker finally opened up no-limit cash tables at stakes up to $ 5/$ 10. It was a turning point in Patel’s poker career, and he made the decision to move to no-limit full time.
‘The games could be beaten for a significantly bigger win rate than limit hold’em,’ Patel says. ‘I played $ 5/$ 10 to $ 25/$ 50 for a while and would occasionally take shots at a soft big game.’ The next big phase in his development was moving in with Rosenkrantz, at which point Patel says he began playing $ 200/$ 400 consistently. From there he has never really looked back, although he is still just as happy playing the $ 5/$ 10 no-limit games where he started. So just what lies behind the calm, cool exterior of the man known as whitelime?
What’s the story behind the whitelime handle?
My name spelled backwards is lime. There’s really no reasoning behind me picking the colour white.
When did you start playing poker?
I first started playing poker casually as a sophomore in college. I became good maybe six to eight months later when I started playing online and found the twoplustwo forums. I’d definitely say that stumbling onto these forums is the one thing that has had the biggest impact on my game.
Did you finish university?
I studied finance and statistics at New York University and despite taking a year off, I graduated in December 2007. Even though I have not made any use of my degree yet, I consider going back to school to finish up my degree one of the best decisions I’ve made. It sounds pretty illogical, especially to people who know me well, but I feel people view you differently when you say that you are a college graduate. That might seem unfair but it’s just the way it works.
What stakes do you currently play?
I play most of my poker at $ 10/20 to $ 50/$ 100 because the bigger games don’t run that often. Despite being severely over-bankrolled for $ 5/$ 10 and $ 10/$ 20 I have no problem playing as small as $ 5/$ 10. I think one of my strengths is being able to take $ 5/$ 10 as seriously as $ 500/$ 1,000.
What is your day-to-day schedule?
I don’t really have a set schedule. I’ve been really busy recently moving into and furnishing the new apartment Jay and I are living in. I’ll play on any site that accepts US customers and will play any stakes from $ 5/$ 10 to $ 500/$ 1,000 depending how sharp I feel and how good the games are. I also love playing and watching sports. I like dining out. I’ve eaten at many of the top NYC restaurants and love trying new ones.
You make instructional videos for DeucesCracked. How has this impacted on your game?
Making videos hasn’t really impacted my game other than making me play a balanced style so that no one can exploit me based on things they’ve seen in my videos. I’ve definitely found myself getting better at making videos and feel like I can better articulate my thoughts compared to when I first started out.
You and Krantz have made a couple of series for the site and had some crazy prop bets and forfeits as a part of them. How did those come about?
We made a series called Whitelime vs Pr1nnyraid and each episode resulted in the loser having to do something undesirable. Some of the repercussions included being pied in the face, dressing up in a chilli pepper costume and going to Chipotle (popular chain of Mexican restaurants), playing violin in public and buying the winner a nice watch.
Can you give us any idea of how much you’ve made from poker and what you’ve done with it?
I’m not going into particulars but I’ve done very well for myself. I’m very good with money and have invested a good chunk of my winnings. Unfortunately, I don’t have the best spending habits, which I think is true of most poker players, but I’m working hard to improve this.
Where do you see yourself and poker being in five years time?
I definitely don’t see myself playing poker in five years. I want to do something entrepreneurial related to sports. I’m unsure what the state of online poker will be but I’m very confident that the top players of tomorrow will be tougher than those of today.
Who are the top five online no-limit cash players in the world and what makes them so good?
There are some absolutely exceptional poker players outside of Team Israel like Phil Galfond, Brian Hastings, Cole South and the Urindanger brothers.
Are there any hands that you recall which really advanced your game or that your particularly proud of?
My most memorable hand was against Ziigmund (Ilari Sahamies). We are about $ 50K deep at $ 200/$ 400 and he opens on the button. I re-raise A-5 suited and he calls. The flop comes 2-5-7 rainbow. I decide to check to induce a bluff but he checks back. The turn comes a 7. I check again to induce another bluff. He bets out $ 9,000. I realise that I can make a small check-raise to induce a bluff three-bet because he won’t believe that I would play a made hand this way. I check-raise small and he calls. I think he’s probably floating me so when the river comes a J, it’s pretty easy for me to just check-call any bet rather than value-betting and sure enough I check and he bluff-shoves 4-8 and I snap it off.
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