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PRO-File: David Peters Wins Millions Under The Radar

26-Year-Old Pro Has Quietly Won $4 million In Live Events

by Erik Fast |  Published: Jun 25, 2014

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David Peters is like a ninja: quietly killing. The 26-year-old Toledo, Ohio native has amassed nearly $4 million in lifetime live tournament earnings, with various tracking sites listing his online winnings in the millions as well. But Peters has yet to win a World Series of Poker gold bracelet or an EPT or WPT main event, and as a result he has managed to fly under the radar of the casual fan. But amongst his peers he is highly respected and widely feared.

CardPlayer caught up with Peters as he prepared to take his seat in the first open event of the 2014 WSOP, the $25,000 no-limit hold’em mix-max, to learn more about his background in the game, his plans for the summer and more.

Erik Fast: Among the upper echelon of tournament poker players there are some superstar “name” players and there are also plenty of what I’d call “pro’s pros.” I’d place you into that category, because despite plenty of big live results over several years on the circuit, you still are somehow flying a bit under the radar given your track record. What do you attribute that to?

David Peters: I’m not the most outspoken guy ever. I keep to myself a bit and have never tried to get airtime when the cameras are around. That’s just how I’ve been.

EF: Is that something you actively tried to cultivate or is that just your natural way of being?

DP: Yeah, that’s just kind of how I am. I have a quite demeanor. When I am playing I am really focused, and as a result I don’t talk all that much.

EF: You’ve had a couple big years on the live circuit over the past half-decade, finishing inside the top 20 in the Card Player Player of the Year race twice with a high finish of 4th place in 2013. Do you think those stand out years represented a bit of variance swinging, just in terms of the good scores coming in bunches randomly, or do you also think that you played better?

David PetersDP: It’s a combination. I’m definitely always progressing and getting better and always working on my game, and I’m positive that I’m better now than I was a few years ago. But, it’s also a result of variance, which is just so crazy in tournament poker, especially in live events.

EF: 2013 in particular was a good year for you on the live circuit. How did that play out for you?

DP: Yeah that was a great year. It didn’t start out particularly well, but I had eight cashes at the World Series of Poker, a bunch of deep runs and some heartbreakers as far as just coming close and falling short. The last tournament of the summer for me in Vegas was the $10,000 main event at the Bellagio Cup, which I won. It was a very nice way to make up for the close calls throughout the Series.

EF: So, as an American with a strong online tournament background, what is your approach as a professional now? Are you mostly traveling the international live circuit? Have you gotten set up in another country to be able to play on the international online sites?

DP: I travel quite a bit, but I am set up to play online. For the most part I’ve been focusing on live.

EF: What have you done in the lead-up to the WSOP?

DP: I just got back from the EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo and just finished playing the PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) a few days ago. I’ve been playing a lot, and am definitely focused and ready to have a good summer.

EF: The WSOP is still the centerpiece of the live tournament circuit. After having a lot of close calls last year at the Rio, are you excited to be back?

Peters at an Epic Poker League EventDP: I’ve got a lot of desire coming into the Series. I can’t wait to get started. I still haven’t won my first bracelet yet, so hopefully this is the year. But there is something so great about being deep in these big field tournaments with a bracelet on the line and a big first prize. It’s a nice adrenaline rush, so hopefully I can make a lot of deep runs.

EF: What is your schedule like for the summer? You’re pretty much exclusively a big-bet game guy, correct?

DP: I just play all of the no-limit hold’em events, pretty much every day. I never really got into the mixed games so I’m just going to focus on NLH.

EF: What is your background in poker? How’d you get started in the game?

DP: I started when I was 18 or so, just playing online freerolls and one day I won one for $600 and around that time I was playing home games with friends, from there it was a pretty standard story of running it up. I started out focusing on sit’n’gos, and then began to mix in tournaments and cash games, but pretty quickly I had some good results in tournaments and eventually I decided to mostly focus on them.

EF: As a tournament professional, being able to play online allowed you to play many more tournaments a week than you ever could live, which helps to lower variance. Then Black Friday dramatically changed the online landscape. What was your thought process after that went down?

DP: I was already leaning towards playing live more, and so at first I tried to just do that exclusively. Eventually I set up in Canada to be able to play more online, and get back on the grind. I still try to play quite a bit online, but definitely not as much as I used to.

EF: Now that the Series is here, is there in any event in particular, outside of the main event, that you’d like to win?

DP: I’m playing this first open event, the $25,000 mix-max, which would be a good one to win. That would be a great way to start the summer. It’s going to be a very tough field, and I really like the format. Day 1 is nine handed, then it goes down to six-max, four-max and finally heads-up. You get a nice mix of all of the strategies. I’m definitely excited for it.