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A Poker Life — Christopher Brammer

Another UK Youngster With Big Ambitions

by Rebecca McAdam |  Published: Nov 01, 2011


The British hit squad is far from drying up when it comes to new, young talent. Every year a bunch of fresh faces appear to be added to the ever-growing group of tournament terrorists hailing from the UK. They talk poker, play poker, and live the poker life together. One of the newer faces taking a shot at the dream is Christopher Brammer, “kid_bramm” or “nigdawg” as online players may know him. The Southampton 22-year-old has been hitting the live felt of GUKPTs and UKIPTs hard in the past 18 months or so and creating quite an impression. He plans on hitting up more EPTs and live events, so before he gets too busy taking on the poker world, Card Player cornered him to find out what he was all about.

Rebecca McAdam: When did you start playing?

Chris Brammer: I played poker at sixth form [in school] with friends during lunch. It was nearly five years ago when I started but I didn’t really have much clue what we were doing. I started taking poker seriously when I dropped out of university to take it on full time, which was September ‘09 I think.

RM: Was that because you liked it so much or because you were doing well and wanted to take a shot?

CB: All three I guess [laughs]. Truth be told I was vastly under-rolled for it at first, so it was more of a shot but I guess I was naïve. My Dad had won a WSOP seat that summer and we went together to Vegas for two weeks — loved it so much I think we both knew it was what I wanted to do.

RM: That must have been a mad experience.

CB: Yeah, it was so much fun.

RM: So it has worked out for you so far?

CB: Yeah, I love what I do, I’m free to do whatever I want, work my own hours etc..

RM: When you started taking it seriously were you playing online/live or both?

CB: Both but I guess more live orientated. Before that I was always re-depositing my student loan online or getting money off my dad for tourneys. It was only when I started talking more to friends and actually getting good at poker that I started to win online.

RM: Since you became good, have you gone broke?

CB: Unfortunately yes, twice.

RM: Did you ever question your decision to play full time?

CB: Not really; the first time it was really unexpected and shook me up, made me realise just how big a roll you need to play the big tournaments. The second time was just one big shot at Vegas during the summer, which I knew probably wouldn’t work out. I had some friends who could back me if it didn’t though.

RM: Are you more sensible about your bankroll now? Have you given yourself restrictions?

CB: I have a staking deal with a friend for my tournaments now, which allows me to play the biggest tournaments. If I were to bankroll myself I would have too much temptation to play without restrictions [laughs].

RM: Some players feel they play better when they’re backed, do you agree?

CB: I guess so, there’s certainly something to be said for tilting off someone else’s money and if I know my backer is watching I’ll probably concentrate that little bit more. It’s good to have someone to talk to for morale too, he’ll be motivating me a little bit more where he has a financial interest.

RM: Ok, so what games and stakes do you play?

CB: I just play tournaments, and most stakes.

RM: So no temptation towards cash?

CB: Cash games bore me a little, they can be OK to mix it up sometimes but the blinds never change, it’s no fun.

RM: How are you finding the life of a young full-time pro, it’s fairly new to you compared to some players, so is it what you expected?

CB: It’s really fun, I get to travel the world and I don’t have a boss. There’s a really good group of UK guys the same age too, lots of banter there.

RM: What has been the best event you’ve gone to so far?

CB: Vegas definitely; I’ve been twice now, so much fun.

RM More about the fun than the poker?

CB: Nah, the poker is fun too, I probably enjoy live tournaments more than online, so having these big tournaments every day for two months is amazing.

RM: What would your advice be to a player going over to Vegas for the first time?

CB: Take twice as much money as you’re planning on taking, play the satellites, pre-register for any WSOP event at like 3 a.m. the night before or a couple days before; the queues can be ridiculous and it’s very tilting when they shut you out for two levels or something too.

RM: The fields on those events are usually so massive, do you have to play them differently than you would, say, a GUKPT, or something like that?

CB: Well you get a faster early few levels, so you can’t really afford to wait around like you can in a GUKPT but everybody is in the same boat, so just make some hands and play them fast and get paid!

RM: How would you describe your style?

CB: Can I get away with saying tight/aggressive? [Laughs] I’d definitely be loose/aggressive but I wish I could be called TAG, so maybe I could get away with some things more.

RM: Why don’t you mix it up?

CB: I think people who know me or of me definitely think I’m way looser than what I actually am.

RM: Caught with your hand in the cookie jar a lot?

CB: [Laughs] I try telling people we all get dealt the same cards — I just like the look of them better.

RM: I like that! Do you go with your gut much or would you be more of the rational kind?

CB: I used to be quite a gut-read person, which is another way of saying guessing… I shudder to think how bad I was not so long ago, but now I definitely try to think more rationally.

RM: What were the main mistakes you were making?

CB: I guess just putting people on specific hands rather than ranges. Also just trying to bet people off their hands by repping [representing] whatever came rather than representing something throughout the whole hand.

RM: What result would you be most proud of so far?

CB: Winning the UKIPT leader board last year was something that made me proud I guess.

RM: Do you do better live or online then?

CB: Not sure, I guess live, but both have been a bit below expectation. I’ve come closer to live success, and when live usually takes a few days and has higher exposure it feels more important. My Dad calls me Colin Montgomery because every time he watches I’m the nearly man [laughs].

RM: What do you think you have to change about your game to get to the next level?

CB: Live, I have to remember that everyone is much tighter and nitty, and therefore they always have it [smiles]. Online I guess I have to concentrate 100 percent and run good.

RM: So what are your poker goals then?

CB: In January I decided I wanted to win every single “daily” tournament on Full Tilt and PokerStars during the year [laughs], which are just the tournaments I play every day (it’s around 30 tournaments or something), and the Pocket Fives leader board. I want to get to top 5 for UK, top for Hampshire, top 100 in the world etc.!
RM: Do you have other interests to make sure you don’t get caught up too much in just poker?

CB: I’m quite caught up in it, lost contact with most of my non-poker friends et cetera, which is quite bad, but by now most of my friends have gotten the poker bug.

RM: Are there any young unknowns you know that we should be looking out for?

CB: I’m not sure who’s unknown but Tom MacDonald and Matt Perrins are two of the most impressive players I’ve played. Craig McCorkell came ninth at the EPT Grand Final last year, I talk to him every day, he’s a great player.

RM: Do you see yourself in poker for a long time?

CB: Yeah I hope to be, maybe I’ll change my mind but right now I love it. ♠