It’s 2011, and I am in Prague.
John Eames is talking on the rail to someone I don’t recognize. After the conversation ends I ask what his name is?
“You don’t know Daniel Rudd? He’s one of the best online cash game players in the UK.”
I’ve seen his face sporadically in the past three years. He always keeps his head down, barely talks, concentration full on the game. It’s this quiet demeanor that has prevented me from asking him for an interview.
In short, he looks like a man who doesn’t want to be bothered, and I have an ego that doesn’t like to be rejected. But today I feel brave. I bother the man and he is more than willing to speak to me.
So why don’t we see more of Daniel Rudd?
“I tend to pick and choose what live events I play. My main game is online cash games because I can make so much more playing online. It’s expensive coming to these destinations and also time consuming. Door to door, this trip has been 8-9hrs, and you can play a lot of cash games in that time period. That’s why you don’t see a lot of me on the circuit.”
So it’s an hourly-rate work-based decision
“Most of the time. I am better off playing online. But I haven’t been to Cyprus for 12-years. It was like a last minute thing, some of the guys were coming so I decided to join them.”
Who does he hang around with on the poker circuit?
What stakes does Daniel play and on what sites?
“I play up to 25/50, and on all the different sites. I can’t always get action on one site. I like to play six tables and you can’t always get that on one site.”
I wonder if people just hang around at these stakes waiting for the whales to show up?
“You know all the regulars, so generally if someone is not a regular then they are a recreational player. It doesn’t take a lot of hands to determine who the weaker players are. Even players who just limp: I have only met one player who had a successful limp re-raising strategy for example.”
I wonder if Daniel would still play poker if the UK government decided to tax it?
“I feel it will come at some point. If they tax it similarly to a working job, I will be happy with that. If it’s something silly, you have to work out if it will be worth it? You still get to choose your own hours, travel and get up when you want. It’s not all about the money.”
I mention Daniel Colman’s success in tournaments and ask Daniel if he would like to follow suit?
“Over the last few years, I have come to a point in my cash games that there aren’t many games higher, so for a new challenge I did play more tournaments. I think you need a bit of success to get you interested. If you go deep in a few events, you will want to play more. If not you may want to shift to the cash games.
“It can be quite stressful. In cash games I know I am going to win most months but tournaments are so depressing. Even if you come second you are still angry you didn’t win. Also the game is so different. You can be short stacked and pick up pocket sevens and you may have to fold. It’s like what do I have to do to play a hand? That’s why I like cash games.”
Sam Grafton recently penned a great article about Daniel Colman’s refusal to speak to the media at the WSOP, and the co-existence of players and the media. I ask Daniel what his opinion is?
“I can see where he is coming from. The WSOP don’t add anything to the prize pool and the media people can be quite intrusive. I have seen situations where they want people to flip their hands over for TV but that gives so much info away. If the media are educated it’s not a problem but if they are not from a poker background then it can be.”