Julian Gardner was the youngest player ever to win over $1m when he finished as runner-up in the 2002 WSOP Main Event
Mancunian poker pro, Julian ‘The Kid’ Gardner, is widely regarded as one of the most accomplished British players of his generation. When he finished as runner-up in the 2002 World Series of Poker he became the youngest person to win over a million dollars. He’s also the only British player to finish in the money at the Main Event three years running.
WHERE DO YOU LIKE TO PLAY?
Online I play at VirginPoker.com, but the best live games I’ve ever played in have always been private games and in the casinos in the north west of England.
HOW MUCH ONLINE POKER DO YOU PLAY?
I don’t set a stopwatch but, on average, probably about 20 hours a week.
WHAT ELSE DO YOU DO WHEN YOU’RE PLAYING POKER ONLINE?
If I’m only playing in one game I might watch TV or browse the internet. But if I’m playing three or four games at once I’ll concentrate on the games.
WHAT’S YOUR GAME?
I was brought up playing cash games in the north west where they were all dealer’s choice, so I pretty much play every variation there is. I like to play pot-limit Omaha in particular.
WHAT STAKES DO YOU PLAY?
Rather than going for one particular game, I look for value. I don’t mind dropping into a smaller game if it’s a better game. It’s not like I have a big ego and MUST play in the big game. If I can make money in any game, then that’s a game worth playing in.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE OF PLAY?
It’s difficult to say. People always ask me, ‘What’s your strategy going into this tournament?’ And I always tell them that I don’t have a strategy. I feel I know the game inside out, and I’ll play whatever style I think is going to win. If I’m surrounded by unbluffable lunatics, then I’m not going to bluff – I’m going to sit and wait for hands. If I’m at a table that’s tight, then I’m going to try and be the aggressor and bully the table.
DO YOU GAMBLE OUTSIDE OF POKER?
I occasionally put a bet on players in a tournament, but I’ve never bet on myself because I’ve never found a good price! If one day a bookmaker makes a mistake and puts me up at 150/1 when I figure I’m 50/1, then I’d bet. At a recent tournament I backed two relatively unknown players the bookies had placed as outsiders because I knew they were decent players. There were only 42 players and I got 40/1 on one player and 50/1 on the other. The 40/1 shot came in third. I backed him each way (top three or four finishers) and made a few quid.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE ON TOURNAMENT PLAY?
The key to being a good tournament player is making the most out of every situation. You won’t succeed without taking risks and pushing the boat out – you can’t just sit there. It’s far less of a problem to players these days because the game has evolved, but six years ago tournaments were so much easier because over 50 percent of the field were way too passive to stand any chance of winning. With such a focus these days on aggressive play and aggressive players, the new breed have had this drummed into them. In the old days new players coming to the game had no education and they all used to sit there feeling intimidated, happy to pass hand after hand and watch what was going on. You HAVE to be winning chips at every opportunity – it’s as simple as that.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE HAND?
I’d love to say I’m a magician with 3-7 off-suit, but the answer is pocket Aces. I find any suited connectors entirely playable but I love big pairs.
WHAT’S BEEN YOUR MOST EMBARRASSING POKER MOMENT?
In a tournament I once thought I had K-10 and there was a Ten on the flop, but I didn’t check my cards. I bet it all the way, and at the end I turned over my hand and actually had K-9. Oops!
TELL US SOMETHING AMUSING ABOUT YOURSELF?
I was once a question on The Weakest Link. The question was: ‘Julian Gardner won $1.1m but didn’t win. In which game?’ And the person got the right answer. Anne Robinson said my name out loud on telly. Smart.
30/10/05 Short-handed No-Limit Hold’em 888.com Pacifi c Poker Open, 4th – $65,00
10/9/02 No-Limit Hold’em Hall of Fame Poker Classic 2002 1st – $42,300
20/5/02 WSOP Main Event 2nd – $1,100,000
JULIAN LOVES… WORK
Work is boring, unless your idea of a job is getting up at midday, fi ring up your PC in your pyjamas and winning your first sit-and-go over a freshly brewed coffee.
JULIAN HATES… DEATH
No one knows what happens when you die but chances are you won’t be playing any more poker. And that makes death offi cially rubbish.
SEX, DRUGS AND ROCK ‘N’ ROLL…
Well what’s life for if it’s not for living? We’re not sure if we can allow all of these as one ‘like’ though – it’s a little bit greedy.
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