WSOP Finalist Jeremy Ausmus: 'Bit Harder To Go Back And Grind The Cash Games'
Las Vegas Poker Pro Talks About Life After Final Table
Jeremy Ausmus is no stranger to the game of poker, nor is he a stranger to winning. But this year, Ausmus achieved something that most poker players only dream of: Final-tabling the World Series of Poker main event.
Ausmus won $2,156,616 by taking fifth in the poker world’s center stage — a feat that also bumped him to 63rd in the Player of the Year race for 2012.
Card Player was able to catch up with Ausmus this week, and ask him about how he felt about being under the bright lights and cameras. He talks about his emotionless run at the World Series main event, his smooth transition from the online game, and how he has always kept his family first in such an unorthodox profession.
Logan Hronis: First of all, please tell us about where you are from and your early days in poker. How did you get started?
Jeremy Ausmus: I got into poker during college, after watching Rounders. I went to Colorado State University in Fort Collins. A friend and I started traveling to the casinos in Black Hawk on some of the weekends. I also found a network of small games around town as well as starting to dabble online. This was all around 2002. In 2004, I quit my job and played around town for my last year of school. Then, when I graduated in 2005, I moved to Vegas with a few thousand bucks to see if I could make it happen full time.
LH: Obviously, it was an enormous final table appearance from you, taking fifth in this year’s main event. Talk about the emotions involved in making it deep into such a high-profile event, and how this finish may affect your poker career, going forward.
JA: To be honest, I’m not that emotional of a person, so my emotions were fine on my way to the final table. I was just focusing on playing well. I understood how big of a deal it was the deeper I went, but I really just played my normal game and things luckily worked out for me.
Yes, it definitely changes things for me making the final table. Most noticeably, the recognition I receive in poker rooms. Lots of people recognize me now, and I’m doing lots of interviews and the like. I’ve been recognizable in the Bellagio for the last couple of years because I’m a regular in there, but now it’s on a larger scale. Obviously, financially it’s a huge boost too. It will allow me to play a bit bigger and try my hand at some other games more often.
LH: Talk a little bit about your mindset during the 2012 WSOP. It seems that the WSOP is the epitome of grinding for days to get your chance. How did you personally prepare for such a feat?
JA: Yeah, it’s a real grind but I’ve really looked forward to the WSOP the last couple of years. I’m mainly a cash game player, so it gives me the opportunity to change up my routine for a month or two. Since online poker was taken from us, I don’t get to play tournaments as often and they can be pretty fun. Yeah, the WSOP is a serious grind, but I love poker and can grind some serious hours if I need to.
LH: After any sizable cash, do you find it difficult to go “back to the grind,” so to speak, or does the success motivate you to stay focused?
JA: It’s a bit harder to go back and grind the cash games. Also though, my wife and I just had our second child, who is only about two-months old. We also have a two-year-old girl, so it’s a good time to take a break. I’ve been playing some still, but will really get back to it soon I think.
LH: The main event is such a center-stage event, so I think it’s safe to say that most poker players will be aware of who you are. Do you think you will have to make adjustments to your game to adapt to this? Is there any chance other players will be less likely to look you up, after gaining the respect and recognition from the WSOP?
JA: I think I’m best off not worrying about how people might play differently against me. If I do adjust, it will have to be on a term-by-term, specific person adjustment, which happens in poker every time you sit down to play anyways. Yeah, people might play differently against me, but it may be from each spectrum. Some people will think, in order to make it that far, I must be super aggressive. Others may think the opposite. I’m not going to know their preconceived thoughts on my game when I sit down, but its something I can, hopefully, quickly adapt to when I need to.
LH: Being an online player as well, do you have any thoughts or opinions on the past and future of online poker? How has Black Friday affected you?.
JA: It’s really quite sad and troubling that we can hardly play poker online in the United States anymore. From 2007 until Black Friday, it’s where probably 90 percent of my poker time was spent. I was always a bit concerned with online poker possibly not being there someday, so luckily we chose to not leave Vegas just in case. So when it did happen, I was able to go play in a live setting and it wasn’t a major deal for us — aside from having a lot of money frozen online and taking a pay cut. It affected many other online pros much harder than it did me. I transition well to live poker, but a lot of online guys hate it. It’s anyone’s guess what the future of online poker in the states looks like. I’m looking at setting things up so I can leave the country once in awhile and play online again.
LH: Tell us a little bit about your style of play. How would you describe it, and has it changed at all throughout your career? If you play cash games frequently, does your style of play differ between the cash and tournament settings?
JA: I would best describe my style as adaptive, depending on the many factors that are relevant in tournament situations. So, sometimes I’m playing 40 percent of the hands and other times I’m playing 10 percent. It’s all situational. My no-limit cash game has definitely gotten more loose and aggressive over the years, as my experience has increased. No one is going to call me a maniac, but most know I’m capable of quite a bit.
LH: Talk about your life outside of poker. Do you have any non-poker related goals or dreams you wouldn’t mind sharing?
JA: Most of my time outside of poker is devoted to my wife Adria, who has always been amazingly supportive of my job, and our two children. One of our goals is to keep as normal of a life as possible for our kids, considering my career choice. It’s not always easy, but it’s very doable. I don’t travel a ton, because of that reason. I might travel a bit more next year and see how this hot streak plays out, but nothing too crazy. I also hope to add to some non-poker investments in hopes to not have to rely solely on poker for my income in the far future.
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