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Roland De Wolfe Completes Triple Crown

Becomes Second Player Ever to Win a WSOP, EPT, and WPT Title

by Kristy Arnett |  Published: Oct 01, 2009

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Roland De Wolfe
Before the 2009 World Series of Poker, poker’s Triple Crown honors had been bestowed on only one player — Gavin Griffin. That was until former poker journalist and now tournament pro Roland De Wolfe completed the trifecta with a WSOP gold bracelet in event No. 27, $5,000 pot-limit Omaha eight-or-better. His other Triple Crown victories came at the 2005 WPT Grand Prix de Paris and the EPT Dublin Championship in 2006. De Wolfe now has nearly $4.4 million in tournament winnings, and has secured a place in poker history.

Card Player caught up with him after his historic win to have him discuss navigating through an extremely tough field in a game in which he possessed limited experience.

KA: When you got down to three-handed, Scott Clements, who’s known as an Omaha specialist, was first in chips. How did you maintain your composure and eventually take it down?

RD: Well, I knew that Scott was a much more experienced player in that game. He knew the game inside and out, and I had hardly played it, so he’s obviously a better player. I knew that I had to pick my spots to gamble with him. I tried to make the pots as large as possible and not let him chop away at me. I think I managed to do that successfully.

KA: What experience did you have in this game prior to this event?

RD: I’ve played pot-limit Omaha and Omaha eight-or-better, so I just tried to combine the two games. I have played probably less than an hour of it before, but I just used instincts, what I’ve heard about the game before, and what I learned from the little that I’d played. I just tried to watch the people around me, model myself through them, and play the best that I could.

KA: What mistakes were you making in this game at first that you see other beginning players making, as well?

RD: I think that I was probably overvaluing the low hands. I was going for bad lows with hands that had no high potential. A couple of close poker friends gave me some tips that seemed to help, especially at the final table.

You really need to be thinking of ways that you’re going to be able to get the big bet in. If both you and an opponent have half a hand, you have to try to put him to a decision. That’s really important. In a tournament, it doesn’t come up all the time that one person’s got three-quarters of the pot and you’ve got a quarter. Position is also important, obviously. I had to learn to get a feel for the game, and where I was at.

KA: What’s a good tip that you would give starting Omaha eight-or-better players?

RD: If you think you’ve got a lock on the high with the nut flush or the nut full house, you want to make the people with the low pay, and make the pot as big as possible by whatever means possible. That is really important.

KA: When you potentially are getting quartered, what can you do, pot control?

RD: Yeah, you normally check-call when you think you might be quartered. You also can try to get the other nut low to fold. It’s an interesting game, because these types of situations don’t really come up in any other game.

KA: When you get shorthanded in a pot-limit Omaha eight-or-better tournament, how can you open your range of starting hands?

RD: You’re looking to try to get some fold equity out of players when you are shorthanded. If you’ve got a good high hand, or a good low hand, you’re often just going to go with it, whereas when you’re not shorthanded, you’re looking for hands with both high and low potential. As in hold’em, you can’t just wait for premium starting hands.

KA: Pot-limit Omaha has gained a lot of popularity in the last couple of years. Do you think pot-limit Omaha eight-or-better will follow suit?

RD: People are always on the lookout for new games, and it’s often what the high-stakes players are playing that becomes popular. I definitely think that pot-limit Omaha eight-or-better has a place as part of the mix. I think you’ll start to see more mixed games. As far as pot-limit Omaha eight-or-better as a cash game, I don’t really know, because I haven’t played it in cash games, but it is definitely an interesting tournament game. I look forward to defending my title next year, for sure. Spade Suit