UK veteran poker star Ram Vaswani talks about his WSOP bracelet win: “Yeah, I think it was just a matter of time – but it could have been 20 years!”

Dave Woods meets the man who became the only UK player to win a bracelet at the WSOP this year

You’re a very confident player. Did you always feel that you’d win a bracelet?

Yeah, I think it was just a matter of time – but it could have been 20 years! There are so many players these days that you can’t just expect to win one even if you’re playing 20 tournaments in the festival. When you’ve got 600 or 700 people playing in an event it’s not as easy as it used to be.

It’s ironic you ended up winning a limit tournament – did the shootout style of the event help?

I prefer to play no-limit or pot- limit and I try to keep myself away from the fixed limit tournaments, but because this was a shootout I thought I’d give it a go. You have to go through stages – every time a player gets knocked out the game changes, and that’s always suited me. And you know, the event was only a $1,500 buy-in, so it wasn’t for the prize money, it was for the bracelet. I wouldn’t have entered it otherwise.

What did you do to celebrate afterwards?

We finished about four in the morning and I’d only had about three hours kip the night before because the little ’un woke me up. The excitement of the tournament keeps you going but afterwards I was shattered. We went out for dinner [the following night] with friends, which was nice. I was showing off the bracelet a bit.

Did you prepare any differently this time around?

To be honest with you there’s no preparation in poker as far as I’m concerned; we don’t have to be at a certain fitness level. Perhaps I haven’t played as many tournaments [this time] as I’ve done before, which has probably kept me a bit fresher. It’s tough work being in Vegas and I’ve been out since the start, so five weeks now. I can’t wait to get out of here to tell you the truth.

How do you cope with Vegas for that long?

It’s not too bad if you come at the right time of the year but the weather at the moment is really hard for the family. It’s so hot it might as well be raining outside. Someone told me it was the hottest day on record in Vegas today.

You’ve got a nice place here though.

Yeah, but you know, if you’re put in a place like this (a suite in the Wynn) it’s bad news. It’s never a good sign – you know you’re in trouble somewhere. A place like this is usually very costly (laughs).

Has your family changed what you do in between and after poker tournaments?

Yeah, I definitely don’t play as much as I used to – I pick and choose my tournaments much more now. You know you’ve got to spend more time with the family, so it’s different. It’s different for anyone that’s got a little ’un.

And the Main Event – you’re probably still a bit sore about it?

That’s forgotten, you know. I went out so early it’s not a big deal. Obviously it’s a tournament you wait for all year, but I walked in, found a couple of hands, and done my money. I was out in about an hour.

A bad beat?

No, I hit two-pair twice. I paid the first one off – he had a higher two-pair – and then on the next one there was a flush draw out at the end, he bet big and I had to pass, but it crippled me.

This might be a stupid question, but after winning the bracelet was it hard to readjust for the Main Event, coming down from such a big climax?

No, I had the day off after, so it was fine. Maybe if I’d gone straight in the next day…

And what’s next?

There’s a WPT event at the Bellagio in a couple of days so I’m looking forward to playing that. It’s a good tournament as well – everyone wants to be the world champion but this one will do me.

What did you think of the WSOP this year, with the structure changes and 55 events?

The organisers have introduced double stacks, which makes it more skilful. If you played a $1,500 event last year you only got 1500 chips, which made it a bit of a lottery. But I’d like to see more short-handed tournaments introduced. There are six-handed no-limit events but I think they should do it across all the games, or at least eight-handed. And more shootouts, possibly with a bigger buy-in – they’re the tournaments I like.

The player

Ram Vaswani is a gambler on and off the table and his aggressive style has earned him the reputation as one of the UK’s finest players. Vaswani backed this up by winning Britain’s only gold bracelet at this year’s WSOP when he beat fellow Brit Andrew Ward in the $1,500 Limit Shootout event. The money – $217,438 – was irrelevant to the family man who wins or loses more in a single cash hand; for Vaswani it was all about winning his first ever World Series bracelet.

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