Lee Davy sits down with Stephen Chidwick, at the recent World Poker Tour Alpha8 event at the Palm Beach Casino, in London, to talk about his rise through the ranks, and how he prepares for the Super High Roller events he wants to start calling home.If, for whatever reason, someone wanted to profile the perfect route from the basement floor of poker, to the pinnacle, then you could do much worse than to focus your attention on Stephen Chidwick.
The young Brit has never invested a dime into his poker career, and as I type he is ranked #1 in the UK charts on the Global Poker Index (GPI), and ranked #10 in the world. He has also turned his free roll into more than $2.8m, and when I bump into him, he is about to sit down in the £60,000 re-entry event at the World Poker Tour (WPT) Alpha8 event, in London’s upmarket Mayfair area.
So what does it feel like to go from zero to hero?
“It feels really good. I am proud of the fact that I never deposited; took it steady, never took any huge shots; played the next level that my bankroll allowed – and happy to play against the best players in the world.”
Does the bankroll management side of things get more complicated when you move into the Super High Roller environment?
“If you are a favorite in the field, and have other investors that believe you have an edge too, you can always sell some of your action. Take this tournament, for example, I can play for £60k, or I can play it for a free roll and have a small percentage, myself, from the mark up – or anything in between. If anything, getting to play this tournament is more a factor of other people’s confidence in me, and my ability, more than having the money to play it. I wouldn’t be playing a tournament like this for 100% of myself at this point. But it’s nice that I can make the buy-in at any amount that I want, and as my bankroll fluctuates I can adjust it.”
You are one of the greatest players in the world, but this is a different level in the game. Is this a learning curve for you?
“I’ve spent the last eight years playing tournaments, and this year I have focused a lot online on Sit & Go’s. I have played around 10,000 Sit n Go’s this year and I think this is going to be good preparation for these small field events, where I will see the same players time and time again, and then of course, there are the ICM implications around the money, and the pay jumps. I lot of the field get paid in comparison with a normal tournament, so I think I am pretty well prepared, and I feel confident.”
Was your decision to play Sit & Go’s a deliberate form of preparation for the Super High Roller events?
“That’s a big part of it. I am always looking for new ways to improve and playing Sit & Go’s, especially the Hyper Turbo’s, you get so many situations with 15bb, 20bb, 25bb stacks; and 3-handed, 4-handed, or heads-up action. It’s the best way to get experience playing with different stack sizes and different numbers of players.’
Why the Alpha8?
“This one is very convenient because I was here for EPT London. But I am preparing to play in more of them, if my schedule allows, and if they are in convenient locations for me.”
Was it an easy decision to skip the WSOP-APAC event?
“My sister is having a child, in about a month or two, so I wanted to stick around the UK and spend some family time.”