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Question and Answer: Poker Pro Darryll Fish

Former Online Grinder Talks About Poker In Florida


Darryll FishFlorida native Darryll Fish is making a name for himself as a versatile young poker player. His beginnings involved home games and low stakes at local dog tracks. He then hit the online grind and graduated to playing multi-table tournaments. Due to the recent lack of online poker availability, he has recently turned his talents loose on the live tournament scene.

Card Player was able catch up with Fish, to ask about this transition, the poker scene in Florida, and the difference in lifestyle between the online and live games.

Logan Hronis: You have certainly had a solid career playing online, but you’ve consistently been making it deep in tournaments as of late. Were you initially reluctant to start playing more live, and has that view changed at all since?

Darryll Fish: I have been fairly consistent in making deep runs in some of the bigger local events in South Florida, and feel like I’m going to actually take one down very soon. As far as playing more live poker, I started off playing strictly live games.

When Black Friday happened, I was actually looking forward to being forced to play more live poker, simply because it allows for a better lifestyle. In the past few months, though, I’ve been missing (online poker), and may set something up to be able to play soon.

LH: Talk a little bit about the poker scene in Florida, perhaps compared to the rest of the places you’ve played. Has the Florida scene changed at all since you’ve been a part of it?

DF: Florida poker has a pretty unique scene and style, which is pretty much the case in most regions. The thing about Florida is that, for many years, the only forms of poker that were played here were low-stakes limit hold’em games, sit-and-gos, low-to-medium stakes MTT’s, and eventually $100 capped buy-in no-limit games. In the last year or so, however, they have deep-stacked no-limit hold’em games available to the local players. Some high-profile tournaments have also been here recently. This means the learning curve here is fairly slow, compared to places like Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and Los Angeles, where people have been playing no-limit hold’em (with 100 big blinds or more) for quite a long time. So, the scene here has changed a lot in the last few years, but has also come a long way. Florida has potential to be one of the greatest poker destinations if the people in charge make good decisions.

LH: Can you identify a specific player or players you’ve modeled your game after?

DF: I think in any competitive game, it is important to take a close look at what the most successful people in that field are doing, and why. This definitely applies to poker, and I try to adopt some of the behaviors of the people I respect. Personally, I think that table presence is very important in live poker, and I’ve definitely tried to model my game after guys like Yevgeniy Timoshenko, Nick Shulman, and Anthony Gregg — guys who are intimidating to play against. They are thinking on a very high level, while giving nothing away emotionally.

LH: What’s your favorite venue to play poker in Florida? What is your favorite in the world?

DF: I frequent the Isle Casino in Pompano because it’s by far the best venue in South Florida. Mike Smith, the poker room director there, does a great job of listening to the players. That goes a long way in terms of having a successful venue. I have to say that the Best Bet in Jacksonville is the best poker venue in Florida. It’s fairly new, and mainly dedicated to poker, so that’s clearly an advantage, but they have a good staff as well. I haven’t been to Europe yet, so I’m sure this will change, but my favorite venue in the world so far has probably been Commerce Casino. It’s not exactly in the best location, but they have great poker there. The 24-hour food service is pretty amazing, relative to almost anywhere else, and it isn’t too far from some great non-poker locations (Hollywood, Venice beach, Beverly Hills, etc.).

LH: Who is the craziest poker player you have ever played against at a poker table? Can you give a specific example of something crazy they did?

DF: Over the years, I’ve encountered some unbelievably crazy and strange poker players. From a poker standpoint, narrowing it down to the craziest would be really tough for me. There’s a guy named Steve, however, who plays cash games in South Florida from time to time, and he has definitely done some of the craziest stuff I’ve seen at a table. He’s actually been banned from a few places for various displays of obnoxious behavior. One night, he was bantering with an older man, and the older man called him an asshole. Steve thought the perfect response to be would to prove him wrong, by pulling his pants down, bending over and saying “I’m not an asshole, THIS is an asshole!” Needless to say, he no longer plays at this establishment.

LH: Talk about the pros and cons of making your living online, versus making your living playing live tournaments. Is there a huge lifestyle difference when your focus is one or the other?

DF: There is a huge difference between playing online for a living versus playing live for a living. To be honest, playing strictly live tournaments for a living is nearly impossible. When taxes, rake, and travel expenses are factored in, once you break down the numbers, your expected earnings are actually quite low. Of course, if you happen to hit a life changing score, everything is great. But otherwise, it is mandatory to supplement your income by playing cash games, satellites, or being really good at craps.

Online is much easier, from a financial standpoint. If you win a tournament, you can often just cash out through people you know (ones that need money online), and never have to deal with any paper work. Also, online, you can make a fairly consistent living through MTT’s. The rake is much lower. Also, you can put in enough volume (play enough games) to realize your expectation much faster than playing live poker. 
Live poker allows for a healthier lifestyle, in general. You get social interaction, you get to travel for work, and you don’t have a desk job tying to you a computer all day. I think it is possible to have a healthy, balanced lifestyle while focusing on online, but I think it’s rarely the case.



almost 9 years ago

"Being really good at Craps"? That's a -EV game.