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Tournament Trail Q and A -- Poorya Nazari

The Post-Final-Table Interview with the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Champion

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Poorya NazariPoorya Nazari jumped to $3 million in career poker tournament winnings in a single bound on Saturday. He won the 2009 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure $10,000 European Poker Tour main event, emerging from a field of 1,347 players after five days of no-limit hold’em poker. Nazari lives in Richmond Hill, in the Canadian province of Ontario, and although he has cashed half dozen times before, for a total of $94,832, none of those wins have been anything like this. Nazari is now the early leader in the 2009 Card Player Player of the Year race with 3,000 points coming from the PCA win. Card Player caught up with Nazari at the final table, where he talked about staying aggressive during three-handed play and which player he found to be the toughest opponent in the event.

Ryan Lucchesi: The real battle for the championship here came during three-handed action. How did you overtake Benjamin Spindler during this stretch and charge to victory? Did you have a specific strategy that you employed?

Poorya Nazari: I was just trying to be very aggressive on the button and I just tried to mix it up when I was out of position with limping, calling, and three-betting, but I tried to play as many buttons as possible.

RL: You reraised more than any of your opponents during that stretch. Was that another spot where you saw an opportunity with them slowing down?

PN: Yeah, I noticed the other two guys were playing timidly, so I started to get more aggressive.

RL: Has it hit you yet that you have just won $3 million, one of the largest prizes in poker history?

PN: No, definitely not; I think it will hit me tomorrow on the plane ride home.

RL:
How did the departure of Kevin Saul in eighth place affect the hierarchy at the final table?

PN:
When Kevin got knocked out, it was good to see him leave, because he is such a great player, very talented.

RL: What limits were you playing at home before you came out here for the PCA and won the tournament?

PN:
I play mostly on PokerStars in the poker tournaments, anything $10 and up. I won my way in through a $33 rebuy tournament, one of the turbo ones.

RL:
Will a $3 million bankroll change anything about the limits you will play?

PN:
Possibly. I don’t want to move up too much higher; I will probably keep doing what I was before.

RL:
Let’s dive into your background a little bit more. How did you get into poker?

PN: I started playing in high school with friends six years ago, just small home games.

RL:
How would you describe yourself as a player?

PN: I don’t know…I tend to mix it up pretty well, I think…just depending on how the table is playing, I just try to adjust my game. I just let the table dictate how I play, and tonight they were timid, so I decided to get a little more aggressive.

RL: The heads-up match was a short one, but you didn’t know that heading into the final battle. What was your plan against Anthony Gregg?

Dustin DirksenPN: He was less than 30 big blinds deep, so I was going to min-bet every button and just try to play a lot of pots in position with him.

RL: This has been a long tournament, lasting five days with over 1,300 players. Who was the toughest player you faced during your title run?

PN:
Definitely Dustin Dirksen. I think his game is really impressive. He tended to play a lot of pots in position, and he three-bet a lot preflop to put you in tough spots. So, I would have to say him.

RL:
What was your most important hand of the tournament?

PN:
I'd probably have to say the A-10 hand when I won the tournament.