Better known as a high stakes cash game player, British pro Richard ‘Chufty’ Ashby proved his tournament credentials at this year’s WSOP by winning a bracelet
Congratulations on your WSOP success. What’s the secret to playing a good Seven Card Stud game at the Series?
I think you just have to play aggressively and stay ahead of the game, so when you do hit that bad run for an hour or two, you still have enough chips not to lose your stack or be blinded off.
How were you feeling the night before the final table?
I was excited, but I tried not to think about it – otherwise it would have kept me up all night! I wanted to go in very aggressive, so at least I would feel like I gave it my all. But after a few big hands came my way I started to settle down and pick my moments again.
During the final table and heads-up you seemed to get the better of runner-up Christine Pietsch. How would you sum up her playing style?
She would play her own hands really strongly and was totally unaware of her opponent’s hands. It is a double-edged sword really – I couldn’t manipulate her by pushing a strong hand, as she was more concerned with what she had. Her weakness was that she didn’t put the brakes on early enough when someone went over her and had a very good hand.
Did winning the bracelet feel like you thought it would?
It was a very weird feeling, because I was in shock I think. I thought I’d be jumping around saying, ‘I’ve just won a bracelet!’ I have been trying to win one for so long now, but it was almost surreal with phone calls from my girlfriend, my parents and magazines. It took a few days to sink in.
You’ve now experienced winning a bracelet and almost winning a bracelet in one Series – what’s the ‘almost’ like?
In the H.O.R.S.E. I only had the chip lead for a very brief time, whereas in the Stud I had the chip lead throughout the tournament. So I was never really anticipating winning the H.O.R.S.E. – I was just trying to enjoy the experience more. I wasn’t massively disappointed. Although the next day, it felt a bit strange.
The H.O.R.S.E. final table seemed tough.
Yeah, there were three really good players there: Nick Schulman, Eugene Katchalov and Matt Glantz. You couldn’t get too out of line at any stage.
If you could have swapped your tournament results round, would you?
Yes, because H.O.R.S.E. is a better measure of a poker player’s ability.
Why do you think you’ve been able to turn it on this year?
I think I prepared quite well. I’ve been going to the gym and swimming most days in Vegas. I’ve just tried to be more disciplined away from the table.
You always seem to stay away from the spotlight. Will that change now?
I think it is very important not to get too carried away, because there will be stages when you go through a barren patch. It is far too easy to get carried away just because you win a tournament.
Is it the money that motivates you in live tournaments?
Yes, of course it’s the money, but it’s also the sense of achievement and the fact that it validates you as a poker player. It’s as if when you win a tournament people think it’s a massive achievement and respect you more. It means a lot more than just winning money online, because people don’t seem to care as much as when you win in live play. In my opinion people really overstate wins in poker.
So you felt like you had a point to prove?
I don’t feel like I had a point to prove. I have been playing for a number of years at all stakes and I have made good money from it. But I think obviously a part of you does want recognition, too.