Lee Davy sits down with the Season XII World Poker Tour (WPT) Cyprus runner-up, Albert Daher, to talk about his penchant for playing every pot, his life after his big win at the European Poker Tour (EPT) in Deauville, and life growing up in Beirut.Albert Daher is great for poker.
Prior to last years World Poker Tour event in Cyprus, his name was not one that had a place in my memory banks. He is another of poker’s gems that prefers to stay hidden in the underground cash games.
But then the WPT dug him up.
They polished him and gave the world a sneak peak at his brilliance.
He’s ready made for television. His ranges are wider than the Grand Canyon and he is one of the most aggressive players on the circuit.
“I like to play every hand. Take this tournament as an example. I busted in the first two levels. I played every hand, didn’t hit a single flop, but I have since re-entered and have doubled my stack,” says Daher.
As last years tournament progressed, many people thought Daher’s silky skills would be too much for the blunt force trauma of the Russian Alexey Rybin. In the end, Daher had to settle for second place. At $160,200, it was the biggest score of his career and in Jan of this year, he would surpass that with a runner-up finish in the €10,300 High Roller at the European Poker Tour (EPT) in Deauville, earning $258,136.
“Since that win in Deauville I have played at EPT Vienna—where I mainly played cash games—and I went to Vegas where I played the Main Event and a lot of cash games. I also play in this swingy Pot-Limit Omaha (PLO) game in Lebanon. I have tried to quit tournament poker because I have gotten bored of it. I find the traveling and the long hours very exhausting. So I have been taking it easy and sticking with the cash games.”
Most tournament pros that I speak to believe that patience is a critical trait to have if you want to be a great tournament player. I wonder if Daher’s desire to play in every pot makes it difficult for him to become a truly great tournament player?
“I like to play every hand, especially when you start. When I get deep, and it gets serious, I chill and pick real spots. I am used to playing deep cash games so I like to raise every pot. I prefer to bust early or be the chip leader rather than grind slowly. I know that’s the wrong style but I’m not a tournament grinder. For me it’s top three or nothing.”
Daher lives in Beirut. As a young child growing up in the UK, we would often call our very rough areas Beirut. I have no idea where that ideal came from. One assumes our minds had been invaded by the idiot box. I ask Daher about growing up in Beirut.
“I like to chill out with friends and party. It’s a really cool country. It’s not how people would expect it to be. Beirut has some of the best clubs in the Middle East; great restaurants, hotels, beaches and hot girls. I think the problem is the media. People see Beirut and think of terrorism. That’s our problem.
“Beirut is a city that has been through a lot of wars and has a lot of political problems. It has been the center for problems in the Middle East for a very long time. But today, you don’t feel the presence of war or terrorism in the main city.
“I never see myself living elsewhere. It’s my home and I am used to these crazy events happening. We live with it. We felt the 2006 war because there were planes and bombs everywhere but now…I just consider it my home. There is nowhere else like it for me.”