PokerStars Caribbean Adventure -- A Conversation with Team PokerStars pro Chris Moneymaker
Moneymaker Talks about his Strong Tournament and Finding the Right Mindset
Team PokerStars pro Chris Moneymaker has had a fantastic tournament here at the $10,000 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure main event. He started day 4 in the top five in chips and he ended the day with 3.765 million, just one spot off the lead. Card Player caught up with Moneymaker during one of the breaks in play today and he talked about his PCA main event and finding the right mindset for tournament platy with the help of his life coach, Sam Chauhan.
Card Player: How has today gone for you at the featured table?
Chris Moneymaker: The good thing is that I have a big stack so the key today is patience. Having Chris Oliver to my left opening every pot is definitely difficult. I wouldn’t say it takes me out of my game, but I have to change my normal game to a little bit different game. Usually I like to win a lot of small pots and he’s going to force you to play big pots. If I’m going to play a big pot I’m going to have a big hand.
I didn’t have any big hands during the first level. I had A-J, K-Q, and a pair of fives. I won one of the three. Overall I’m happy with the way it’s going, it would be nice to pick up a few big hands and have them hold. Overall I’m just being patient. We lost 10 people that level. Never put yourself at risk, keep moving up, and keep accumulating chips. That’s the name of game. We’ll get to the final table and then see what happens.
CP: What has your life coach Sam been helping you out with at this tournament?
CM: My biggest problem at any tournament and it’s something that has been bothering me for 15 years is that I beat up on myself a lot. I have a lot of negative thoughts that come into my head. If I don’t go for maximum value on a hand or I misplay a hand, I overanalyze things way too much and I beat myself up. That gets me down and then I start playing bad. Sam has been great, keeping me positive, and not thinking of other things, and it has definitely helped in this tournament.
There have been spots where I could have crashed and burned in this tournament and probably in the past I would have. You see a lot of Chris Moneymaker blow ups in the past and I’m just keeping my head straight and making sure that I don’t go down the dark path.
CP: Would you say that you are your toughest critic?
CM: By far, by far, and it can be the smallest thing. Like there was a hand yesterday where I didn’t raise on the river with a straight when there was a flush on the board and I knew it was the right play. He had two pair and I knew he was going to call. But I just called and I think I could have gotten extra value out of the hand. It can be something as small as that. I could have gotten reraised and he could have had a flush potentially, of course. I beat myself up a little bit about that. I’m always criticizing myself and Sam gets positive energy flowing through me and he gets me thinking about good things instead of bad things.
We have made it this far and I’m deep into a very, very tough field. This is, if not the toughest event of the year, it is one of the toughest. Everybody is very skilled here, so to be this far is a blessing and I’m going to look at it that way.
CP: Is it nice for you to really settle into a tournament and play some deep-stacked poker as opposed to the early days when a lot of players are trying to take a wild shot against you because of your notable place in poker history?
CM: Day 1 we were pretty deep stacked, but to me there is nothing worse than day 1 or day 2 of a poker tournament. You can’t win anything, you can only bust. It’s not really fun for me, it’s an effort to get later into the tournament. But once day 3 and day 4 come around and you start getting into the money the adrenaline starts flowing and the heart starts pumping. That’s when you get excited. I wake up in the morning and I’m pumped and ready to go. This is fun for me.
When you get your heart beating in a pot and you really get something going, that’s fun. When I’m playing day 1 and I bluff 5,000 on the river that’s OK, but yeah whatever, when I bluff 1 million into a pot, that’s fun. If I lose I’m going to be pissed at myself but during the time that I’m doing it and my hearts beating the adrenaline rush you get out of it is fun.
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