Cash Game Pro Ben Lamb Eying Another Deep Run In World Series of Poker Main Event
Cash Game Grinder Played Just Handful Of Events This Summer
Ben Lamb had, on paper, the best World Series of Poker last summer out of any player, en route to capturing Card Player’s 2011 Player of the Year title. This summer he has played just a handful of events, cashing in none. He actually hasn’t cashed in a major tournament since his fourth-place finish in the Main Event this past November.
However, for the cash game pro, that isn’t something to be concerned about. The 27-year-old grinder from Tulsa, Oklahoma plays few events every year, spending nearly all his time in some of the biggest cash games in Las Vegas.
One of the event’s that did spark his interest was the recently completed $1 million buy-in ‘One Drop’ tournament. Lamb played after selling some of his action.
Despite in lack of interest in poker tournaments, Lamb said he’s excited about the Main Event, which starts Saturday at the Rio Hotel and Casino.
Card Player caught up with him to see how the summer grind has been going.
Brian Pempus: Can you talk about your summer so far?
Ben Lamb: I have only played four tournaments and lasted any length of time in just one. I would say 90 percent of my hours played this summer have been in cash games. I have never really wanted to play a lot of tournaments. I played 10 last year and eight the year before that.
People had a lot of expectations because of my success last year; that I was going to play a ton of events, but that’s not how I ever made my money. Obviously last year that’s how I did it, but a lot of that can be attributed to running well. Cash games are less about running well, and more about putting in the hours and playing well. Obviously you can run well in them too.
BP: So, there was no pressure to defend your Player of the Year titles?
BL: Even if I played every single tournament and multi-tabled live, I think the chance of me winning POY has got to be like 1 in a 100, at best. I didn’t really see any reason to attempt that. It’s about doing what I succeed in and continue to do what I’ve been doing for years. I like that cash games allow me to come and go as I please.
BP: Have you been playing any big no-limit hold’em cash games this summer?
BL: I think I’ve played that just once this summer. We played a fun game of half pot-limit triple draw and pot-limit Omaha the other day, which was a good change of pace. Pot-limit triple draw is a fun game. One of the players in the game was probably winning about $500,000 in the pot-limit Omaha and losing about $700,000 in the pot-limit triple draw. He’s a good PLO player but was just learning triple draw. Instead of playing tight and just getting through the round, he wanted to play every hand, which was funny.
BP: Have you gotten more action this year after becoming a more prominent face in the poker world? Has it been better for you personally in terms of getting games going, having people play back at you or anything like that?
BL: In some ways it has hurt me and in some ways it has helped. For a lot of games that I could have gotten in as more of an unknown, they don’t want pros in the game. But sometimes they realize that even though I am a professional I am still good for the game because I see a lot of flops, raise a lot and straddle. So, usually once I get in the game the first time I get invited back. It is good and bad, I guess.
BP: Now does having that huge bankroll boost allow you to feel more comfortable in these huge cash games, or change the way you approach them in any way?
BL: I guess I’ve played a little bit bigger than I have in the past, but mostly I’ve just sold less. In the past in a $500-$1,000 game I would sell 50 percent of myself, and now I might sell 10 percent to a friend, just for a sweat. I have much more of myself these days, which is a good thing if you are trying to make money.
Follow Brian Pempus on Twitter — @brianpempus
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