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Michael Binger Looking For Another Deep Run In World Series Of Poker Main Event

2006 Main Event Third-Place Finisher Hoping For Second Chance


Poker pro Michael Binger, who finished third in the 2006 World Series of Poker main event, was one of the average stacks in the room on Thursday with roughly 1,000 people left in the 2014 $10,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em championship. More than 6,600 entered.

The Las Vegas resident is widely regarded as one of the best mixed game players in the world, but does head over to the Rio Convention Center every summer for some shots at a bracelet. He has 29 lifetime cashes at the WSOP, but doesn’t yet have a win.

Card Player had the chance to speak to Binger during the dinner break on Thursday to talk about his main event so far, as well as what it takes to go deep in the big one.

Brian Pempus: Can you talk about how big of a minefield this tournament is?

Michael Binger: Man, it really depends. I was short stacked a good part of day 1 and day 2. I was all-in with A-Q against pocket tens for my last 12,000 and the flop came 10-7-2, rainbow. I am a drawing dead, basically, but I hit running broadway to double up and survive (laughs). I feel like I am freerolling. There is, you know, it’s nice when you have a big stack and you aren’t at risk too often for your tournament life, but most people don’t have that luxury and you have to find spots. The key is chipping up slowly and consistently, and hopefully not having too many all-ins where you have to flip for your tournament and hope the cards go in your favor. It’s hard to win all of those.

BP: Yeah, I remember back in the 2006 main event you were a big stack through most of the tournament. That’s pretty awesome to have a stack like that in order to be able to punish people and/or open often and try to steal the blinds and antes?

MB: Absolutely. That makes all the difference. It gives you a little bit more peace of mind as well. You don’t have to worry that the very next hand could be your last, especially in this event. In other events, it might not be as big of an issue.

BP: Can you talk about the competition in 2006 versus now? Has the main event gotten tougher? Is it still pretty soft?

MB: Yeah, I think so. It’s still very soft. I’ve had some really good table draws the first couple of days. There are still a lot of very soft players, and soft tables, out there. The table draw is so important in this event. With that being said, it’s definitely tougher [than in 2006]. The pros are better, and there are more of them.

BP: Can you talk about trying to fight off the boredom in this event? The importance of trying to stay focused and not make any silly mistakes late in the night after a long day of play.

MB: Yeah, that’s huge. It’s crucial to stay in a good rhythm and not make the mistake that tilts you and makes you feel uncomfortable at the table. That’s the thing—staying in the zone is one of the most important things.

BP: Given that you made a final table in this event before, is it hard not to let your mind drift and think about a second?

MB: A little bit. It’s so much fun to make a final table; it’s hard not to think about that. You know, it’s one step at a time. I am trying to stay focused on making the money. Once you get under 100 players you can start smelling a final table. It’s a long ways off with a 1,000 players left. There’s always a combination of luck and skill that you need to go deep in this thing. I’m going to keep trying to play my A-game.