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WSOP: Bracelet Winner Q and A -- Nenad Medic

Medic Shares His Thoughts on His Win at a Tough Final Table and His Competitive Basketball Background


Nenad MedicNenad Medic has been playing poker professionally for just five years, but in that short time he has put together a string of successes that most would be happy with over a lifetime. He just added $794,112 to his career winnings ($3,660,397) by winning event No. 1 of the 2008 World Series of Poker. Medic’s first gold bracelet was claimed in one of the marquee events of the summer, the $10,000 Pot-Limit Hold’em World Championship.

Medic is well-known as one of the elite no-limit hold’em cash game players among poker professionals, and he has backed that up recently with big buy-in tournament success. The largest win of his career came at the 2006 World Poker Tour World Poker Finals, where he took home a massive first-place prize worth $1,717,194. Card Player caught up with Medic after his big WSOP win at the post-final table press conference inside the Rio.

Ryan Lucchesi: Does your first bracelet mean even more to you considering the tough field and tough final table you had to go through to win it?

Nenad Medic: Yeah, personally, that feels great. It’s just a good accomplishment for me, knowing that it was a really good field and that I was able to pull through. Sure, I caught some cards, but I think I played really well the whole way. I made a couple folds in the early stages that were, I don’t know, questionable folds. But here I am with the bracelet, so I’m very happy about that.

RL: When you got heads up at the end with Andy Bloch, you had a decent chip advantage on him. He has a very good track record of getting to heads-up play and being very dangerous in those spots. How important was it that you had a chip lead there?

NM: Yeah, that meant a lot. He knows his math, for one, and he’s a really good player; he’s not going to give any chips away. So, yeah, that meant a lot to have that lead, just in case I lost the first hand, I would still be alive. I had him five million to two million, so if I lost the first hand, I’d still have three million to four million. I happened to pick up a lot of good hands heads up; I was fortunate. Things went my way today.

RL: You guys were playing fast at the start of the final table, but when it got down to fourhanded action, the pace really switched up and slowed down. How did you adjust to the slower styles that emerged there?

NM: I pretty much played solid the whole way. I wasn’t playing too aggressive. I picked my spots. But once it got down to fourhanded, it took a while. I don’t know, earlier, everybody was getting hands. Fourhanded, nobody seemed to pick up any hands, so there were a lot of small pots — maneuvering, going back and forth, nothing too big. I like that style; I like to play small pots, myself. So, I was fortunate to win more of the small pots.

RL: Many players shared the sentiment that this was the toughest final table they had ever played at. Do you think that is a fair statement?

NM: Yeah, it was the toughest final table that I’ve been at, as well, but there have been tougher final tables. I can’t think of any right now, but it was a really good field all the way.

RL: You come from an athletic background playing basketball. How does that competition prepare you for something like this, in poker?

NM: The main thing with the basketball background that I have, and what any athlete has, is getting that winner’s mentality. Whenever I played basketball, it was all about the win. If you lose … you can’t lose. So, that’s the same thing with poker, you have to go in gunning for the win. Second place, third place, none of that matters; you’ve got to go for the win. I think that’s one of the biggest things, and being mentally focused. In basketball games, if you’re down by three, there’s a lot of pressure on you, you’ve got to keep your head straight and you have to focus.