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David Peters: 'It's A Very Sick Game We Play'

Poker Pro Talks About How Black Friday Affected His Life


With an impressive set of skills in both online and live settings, David Peters is definitely not the guy you want sitting at your table. The Toledo, Ohio native has a tournament record that boasts more than $3.5 million dollars in winnings, 12 titles, and 207 career cashes.

We caught up with Peters this week, and he talked about variance in live tournament settings, the differences between the live and online settings, and why it’s important for young poker players to not be overconfident when they experience success.

Logan Hronis: Tell us about your pre-professional days in poker. How did you get started, and why did you feel poker was a good avenue for you?

David Peters: I watched it on TV a lot and became very interested in it. I started playing a bunch of freerolls online and wound up winning one of them for $600. I started playing low stakes sit-and-gos, then worked my way up from there. I felt it was something that I really had a knack for, and the more I played and worked on my game, the more confident I became that this was something that I could do for a living.

LH: Talk a little about the poker scene in Toledo, and Ohio, in general. What are your feelings on the new casinos?

DP: It’s great that the new casinos were put in. Poker is definitely starting to get a lot bigger there, and it’s a matter of time before they start to have some WPT events or other big live events come to town. I’ve never really played live poker at all in Ohio, since previously there weren’t any casinos and I always just either played online or traveled to live tournaments, but from what I hear there is some pretty good action now.

LH: 2010 was a career year for you. With so many impressive cashes, what was so different about 2010 (if anything) or did you just run better than usual?

DP: That’s just the nature of live tournaments. The results year-to-year are going to vary so much since the variance is extremely high. I definitely don’t think I was playing better back then, since I’m always improving my game. Honestly, I don’t like to consider that a career year for me, since I expect results like that or better every year. If just a few hands in key spots gone my way in 2011 and 2012 then those would have been much better years than 2010. So I try not to put too much stock in results. All you can do is play your best and get deep as often as you can. When that key six or seven figure equity pot comes, you just hope you’re on the right side of variance. That’s the part I have to work on (laughs). It’s a very sick game we play, that’s for sure.

LH: Being a player with a great amount of online experience, tell us about your feelings on Black Friday. Was the illegality of online poker cause for a serious lifestyle change for you?

DP: Black Friday was a huge hit to me, and to the rest of the poker community. Not only did I take a big hit to my bankroll with all the money that I had tied up online, but it also took away the ability to do my job. I spent the first year solely playing the live circuit, and realized how rough the variance of live poker can be when you don’t have the possibility to grind and make money online. Plus, when you travel as much as I was traveling, it makes it very difficult to see friends and family. I did eventually get a place in Canada and get back to playing online — which I’m very glad that I did — but it’s still not the same as being able to do it from home.

LH: Were you a winning player from the beginning, or did you deal with your share of ups and downs? Can you cite anything specific you changed that allowed you to start experiencing consistent success?

DP: I had my fair share of ups and downs when I started off. What allowed me to eventually have consistent success was just all the work I put in. I was so determined to get to the highest level, and I worked very hard to try and get there. I realized right away this was something that I wanted to do for a long time, so I made sure to take it very seriously.

LH: If you were to give one piece of advice to a young up-and-coming poker player looking to turn pro, what would that piece of advice be?

DP: Don’t get too cocky. If you start off being very successful and have a few big scores right away, don’t get complacent and just expect it to always be like that. Poker can be a very cruel game, and you never know what’s going to happen. So even if you go on a huge upswing, you still have to have the mentality to keep working hard on your game and put in the volume.

LH: Tell us about the David Peters away from poker. What other hobbies or pastimes do you enjoy? Is there anything you can envision pulling you away from poker?

DP: I’m a pretty easy-going guy. I like to hang out and have fun with friends, family, and my girlfriend whenever I’m not playing. I like to watch movies, sports, play basketball on occasion, and so on. I also really enjoy traveling. Poker has given me the opportunity to see some amazing places, and I definitely enjoy being able to see so many parts of the world and experience all the different cultures. I don’t envision anything pulling me away from poker in the near future, but down the road I would like to do other things, like maybe open a business. For right now though, my focus is all on poker.