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CPPT VI - The Bicycle Casino

$1,100 No-Limit Hold'em Quantum $500K GTD

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Duey Duong Going For His Third Final Table Finish In This Event

Duey Duong has made the final table of this event twice in the last three years, finishing third in 2015 for $50,000 and fifth in 2017 for another $31,075. Duong has taken a seat here ...


Tournament Trail Q and A -- Faraz Jaka

Jaka Talks About His Long Run with the Chip Lead at the Bellagio Cup V

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Faraz JakaFaraz Jaka was a dominant force during the World Poker Tour Bellagio Cup V $15,000 no-limit hold’em championship event. He took the chip lead during the third day of the event, and he held onto that lead all the way to the start of the final table, entering with more than 5 million in chips. He battled long and hard at the final table, and traded the chip lead often with Brazilian Alexandre Gomes. Jaka eventually fell to Gomes in second place at the Bellagio Cup V, but he impressed many and walked away with $774,870 in prize money and 1,080 Card Player Player of the Year points. He also made a final table at the 40th-annual World Series of Poker in event No. 56 ($5,000 six-handed no-limit hold’em) and cashed in third place to take home $400,526 and 1,280 POY points. This gives Jaka $2,335,372 in prize money for his career between the online and live arenas.

“Online, I only play tournaments, and live, I play tournaments and cash,” said Jaka.

He is currently ranked in the top 100 players in both the POY race (27th place –- 2,360 points) and Online POY race (99th place -– 2,530 points). He has won a dozen career tournament titles, with 11 of them coming online and one coming in a $1,000 preliminary no-limit hold’em event at the L.A. Poker Classic in 2008. His cash at the Bellagio Cup V was by far the largest in his career, while his largest cash online came when he won a $1,000 Monday no-limit hold’em tournament on Full Tilt Poker in 2007.

Card Player caught up with Jaka during a tournament break at the Bellagio Cup V, and he spoke about his huge chip lead in the tournament and the unorthodox path he took to playing poker professionally.

Ryan Lucchesi: You have had a monster stack for the majority of this tournament. Is that your natural comfort zone in a tournament, or does that add pressure on you to succeed?

Faraz Jaka: I feel most comfortable playing big-stack poker, that’s definitely my game. Today I have a lot of big stacks behind me, but it’s not bothering me, I just have to change what I’m doing a little bit. There are a lot stronger players today than there was yesterday, so I have to be a little more careful with what I’m doing and whatnot. I still feel comfortable, though.

RL: Were you applying most of your aggression earlier, and now you find that you have to pull back a little bit since the stacks have caught back up to some small degree?

FJ: There weren’t as many good players earlier in the tournament, and I had a good feel for what they were doing. Now my table image has been exposed out there a little bit, so I need to keep that in mind.

RL: Is it even more important to keep your discipline late in a tournament, regardless of whether or not you have a deep stack? During the World Series of Poker main event playdown period, we saw many players who were eliminated because they refused to adjust their speed of play.

FJ: It’s huge, part of the reason I apply pressure to some players is because I don’t think they can handle it. They get frustrated, and then they do something they just shouldn’t be doing. That’s why I apply so much pressure on weak opponents with a big stack.

RL: What is your level of fatigue during this late stage of the summer? You have been playing poker for close to two month straight now.

FJ: It’s definitely tiring, but at the same time I have done 27-hour live cash sessions, so I feel comfortable. If anything, I feel like everyone is tired, and that gives me an edge because I’m more used to it.

RL: What are you going to incorporate into your strategy during the rest of the playdown period today to ensure you enter the final table as the chip leader?

FJ: It will just depend on the dynamic of the final table when we re-draw for seats, just who is there and what the momentum is. I definitely want to make the top six, but at the same time I want to win so, I’m going to do whatever I need to do.

RL: How did you start playing poker?

FJ: I started playing my second semester during my freshman year at college. I started out in $10 dorm games and did well. I looked for bigger and bigger games and ended up flying out to Vegas, and then I started playing online. Next thing you know, I was making regular trips on the weekends from school to Vegas, and then I started going to EPT events and what not. I started out live, and then I added online play, and now it’s a combination of both.

CP: What are the strongest attributes you have picked up from the two modes of play that made up your poker education?

RL: I definitely think the strongest player in the game is going to be the person who understands both styles of play. Online players have a lot better fundamentals, while live players have a lot better feel for momentum and just the flow of the game. I feel like when you put those two together it really creates a monster.