Lee Davy sits down with the former European Poker Tour (EPT) champion, David Vamplew, to talk about keeping his game sharp, the sacking of PokerStars Team Online Pro Dale “Daleroxxu” Philip and much more.
With a little bit of luck, here or there, David Vamplew could easily be a member of the Triple Crown fraternity.
Everyone knows about his massive score at the European Poker Tour (EPT) Main Event in London, where he earned $1.4m in his first-ever significant live score outside of a single cash at the 2010 World Series of Poker (WSOP) but not so many know that he came close to adding a World Poker Tour (WPT) title to his CV when he finish third at WPT Venice barely five months later. Then in 2013, Vamplew was one of the players of the WSOP, when he finished runner-up in two events, earning close to $800K in the process.
With just a single cash in the $1,500 Shootout event, and another cash in a Venetian Deepstack, the Scotsman has not yet found the groove that saw Madonna hit the top of the charts and Vamplew nearly win two WSOP bracelets.
So is this just the way poker life is?
“I think overall I have improved in some ways, but nothing hugely different. That’s always going to happen when you play a lot. You notice small things that you should think about in certain spots. Even month to month I am playing slightly better each time or I hope so anyway.”
Vamplew is a close friend of Dominik Nitsche, and during a recent interview with Andrew Teng, the Englishman told me that Nitsche was one of the hardest working pros in the game. I wondered if Vamplew had picked up this work ethic.
“I don’t work as hard as Dominik. He is one of the people that I know who works hardest away from the table. He uses programs and databases to prepare himself better in the game and it’s certainly paying off for him at the moment.”
Why isn’t he working as hard at Nitsche?
“Dominik’s work is focused on cash games, which has become his main game despite playing a lot of tournaments, and I think the fact that the two types of games are different is one reason I don’t do so much work on my game.
“I don’t play so much cash these days and instead play more tournaments. Tournament situations are always different, where in the cash games; a lot of the situations are the same over and over again so they lend themselves to be studied easier. The statistics you have on your opponents are also more detailed because you play so many hands against them in cash games. Someone’s turn check-raise, for example, will be far more relevant in a cash game than a tournament because you are playing so many different types of tournaments, so the stats lose their relevance somewhat.”
As a fellow Scot, I was keen to have Vamplew’s view on PokerStars decision to sack Dale “Daleroxxu” Philips, after making gestures to Spanish football fans at a screening of the Spain v Holland World Cup game at UKIPT Marbella?
“I think that maybe some of the gestures were a bit more offensive than what he is saying now—when you look at it again—but also it seems very harsh to instantly sack him…but that’s unlucky for him, I guess.”
Have they set a dangerous precedent?
“It’s always up to their discretion. So something could happen in the future, where they could be called hypocrites, but they are already being criticized for treating him harshly. It’s not as if they are going to lose too much business over this. They have such a monopoly that they can do what they want.”
With fellow Brits Neil Channing, Victoria Coren, Joe Beevers and Ross Boatman deciding to stay at home this summer. I asked Vamplew if the WSOP is losing any sparkle for him?
“I still look forward to coming out and grinding every day. Yesterday, there was no WSOP event, but I decided that I still wanted to spend my time playing poker. If you have the right attitude, and want to play every day, then you will still have a decent time and avoid getting tilted at some point.
“Some people just don’t have the energy, or will, to grind every single day in live tournaments. The structures make them even more withering. You have one of the longest periods of any tournaments without antes, and you can get short stacked quickly, but the correct strategy is still to play very tight, so it takes a lot more patience.
“So if you think you are going to be dreading it, at some point, then it’s right not to come out, or to just come out and play the Main Event or something.”