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Poker Tournament Trail -- Soheil Shamseddin

Shamseddin Talks about Playing Position Poker and Staying Consistent and Relaxed during the Year


Soheil ShamseddinSoheil Shamseddin (pictured right) was a late bloomer in the 2009 POY race. He finished in second place at the WPT World Poker Finals in November to win $463,332 and 1,750 points. The score helped Shamseddin become a factor in the race, but his jump to 4,000 points would not have been possible without the consistent results (10 cashes) he posted throughout the year. His other highlight included a third place at the WPT Southern Poker Championship in January. Shamseddin ended the year in fifth place with 4,283 points. Card Player caught up with Shamseddin at Bellagio and he talked about his consistency. He also discussed playing position poker and staying relaxed during a long year on the tournament trail.

Ryan Lucchesi: This POY race was the most competitive in recent year heading into the last month. Has it been exciting for you and given you some extra incentive to play for in December?

Soheil Shamseddin: The guys that were on top are performing. In past years when you get to December it was more just dodging the players that were chasing you. This year everyone has been making moves at the end. Jason [Mercier], Eric [Baldwin], Cornel [Cimpan], and myself, everyone has made some move here in December in an attempt to take the top. It has been quite competitive.

RL: We’ve seen many players in this year’s top spots that have been consistent the whole year, and they aren’t just leaning on one big win. What do you think of that?

SS: You have the regulars on the tour and they are consistently performing on the tour. Those guys can compete with the players that hit the biggest wins of the year. It’s been a good mix. You have the best of both worlds going at it.

RL: How do you approach your playing schedule each year?

SS: You’ve got to be careful not to get burned out. That’s the biggest problem with playing a lot of the events at these tour stops. That’s the reason I don’t play in any cash games. If I get knocked out at noon you’re not going to see me playing in some evening event because the whole idea is to keep things balanced.

If I play one hour today and get knocked out its no big deal. I’ll go back to my room, read, surf the web, or whatever. Keeping yourself from getting burnt out is a huge, huge factor. Aside from that I try to pace myself as far as how may events I play. I have to take a few days off between tour stops.

What I normally do is my daughter and granddaughter live in North Carolina, so a lot of times after the tour stops I will go back to North Carolina for four or five days just to get my mind off of poker and allow enough time for the fire to start burning. I’m more of an artistic player when it comes to poker. In order to be creative at the poker table you need to have that burning desire.

RL: Is your ability to get really hot and score multiple cashes during one week a reflection of that desire?

SS: Yes, because a lot of times my style of play is that I set a quota for my chips throughout the tournament. My goal has always been to get to the final table with 25-35 percent of the chips. Whether I’m playing a $500 tournament or a $50,000 tournament, it’s all the same.

RL: How do you adjust your aggression levels to make sure your chips are going to hit that target range?

SS: It’s not so much about the aggression as it is about the spot you’re in, the position you’re in, the player you’re against, how the hand is played. If you’re telling a story by raising or check-raising, how the story adds up. That’s more my style of play.

RL: Do you feel that a player that knows how to play all of the games and is open to playing the preliminary events in addition to championship events gives themselves an advantage that is impossible to overcome in the player of the year race?

SS: Not necessarily, you have a lot of players that play in all of the events and they’re very good players and yet, they still haven’t shown up at the top. Let’s not forget that aside from playing good you need to run good. There is no question about that, but having said that, style makes a difference. Some styles of poker allow for more streaks than others in my opinion. I don’t sit around waiting for pocket aces and pocket kings. I’m not waiting to get lucky I go and look for the luck, and if I can’t find it I try to rob them.

RL: What is your strategic approach to any poker tournament?

SS: I play all of them the same. I play position poker and I play it hard. If they let me rob them I’ll rob them and when I’ve got the nuts they’ll pay me.



3 better than you
over 11 years ago

Gogogogo Soheil...beast mode in full effect.