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Poker Tournament Trail -- Ted Lawson on Pot-Limit Omaha

Divulges Strategies Coming Off of a Win at Bellagio's Festa al Lago


Ted LawsonThe $10,000 pot-limit Omaha tournament at the 2009 Festa al Lago Classic concluded on Saturday, Oct. 17, and Ted Lawson (pictured right) topped the field to walk away with the $62,080 top prize and a Bellagio championship Rolex. Players that he surpassed on the way to winning the tournament included Matt Glantz, Pat Walsh, Justin Young, and Erik Cajelais on day 1, and Chris Bjorin, Ben Lamb, Jim Egerer, David ‘Devilfish’ Ulliott, and Jason Mercier at the final table. Lawson now holds $2,234,717 in career winnings. This tournament win was his second pot-limit Omaha tournament title. His first came when he won the $5,000 pot-limit Omaha event at the 2004 World Series of Poker.

Card Player caught up with Lawson after his win at Bellagio, and he spoke about his approach to pot-limit Omaha.

Ryan Lucchesi: It was a small field today, but a tough win considering the quality of this field. What did you change from your normal tournament strategy?

Ted Lawson: I basically played the same way, because once you get down to a final table, it is still the final table. And this was a tough final table, it really was; we had some good players here. Devilfish is good, and of course it’s always fun to bust Devilfish [laughs]. It was certainly a smaller field getting here, but it still took a long time.

RL: You have had some success in pot-limit Omaha events. What is your guiding principal for the game?

TL: What I do basically is I wait for quality hands. I do a little less bluffing. Unless the hand is set up a certain way, then I will bluff for a certain reason, but not just to toss the chips in at the end. I find that if you just wait for quality hands and get your money in right, then you have the best chance. I’ve placed in four WSOP Omaha events, and won a bracelet in one, as well. I’ve got a set way of playing it … I think some people were more aggressive when we got down to fewer players in this event, but it’s actually smarter to go the other way. Get your money in right and be strong. The other thing is that I don’t like betting hands on the come, for the most part. I want made hands, so I’m doing a lot of limping, calling, and trapping.

RL: Do you like playing at a final table with a player like Devilfish? Do you think he keeps things loose from your vantage point as an opponent?

TL: I get a lot of luck with David; he’ll tell you that I have busted him a bunch of times. I don’t think he’s ever gotten the best of me … First of all, he’s really funny. And I like the guy, I do, I genuinely like the guy. I enjoy playing with him. I enjoyed playing with the better players today; I don’t know what it is, but I think I concentrate more. When I’m playing with Negreanu or Lederer, I play better.

RL: Tell me about the big hand that swung the momentum your way when you nearly tripled up at the final table. Was that a perfect example of your patience rewarding you with the right hand in the right spot?

TL: I completed on the button, and I had two aces double-suited, and the two cards I was double-suited with were semi-connected … let’s get it in. It was similar to a key hand when I won my World Series bracelet. That hand was just before we got down to the money bubble; I had the same thing, I was doubled-suited with two aces, where the two cards were semi-connected. I flopped a straight and I turned a flush.



almost 12 years ago

Are we really going to take PLO advice from a player who cant read the board and calls with a "straight" on the end when no straight is even possible?


almost 12 years ago

Maybe, maybe not. But I'll certainly listen to a "two" time champion.


almost 12 years ago

Alright built2last that's enough.

Ted Lawson made that move in 2004 at his 1st wsop. That was 5 yeas ago. Get over it. He has since put allot of time into his plo game and is doing quite well. He is good friends with Lee Watkinson who is one of the best at this game and has without a doubt helped him bring his game to a world class level.

I'm sure you've made some mistakes in the beginning of your carrer aswell. Don't be so quick to judge.

Congrats on the win against a tough short field Ted.


almost 12 years ago

We should take advice from anybody, especially someone with $2.2 million in lifetime tournament winnings.