POKER

An Interview With Ram ‘Not so Crazy Horse’ Vaswani

TAGs: audio interview, Barny Boatman, Joe Beevers, Lee Davy, Ram Vaswani, The Hendon Mob

An Interview With Ram ‘Not so Crazy Horse’ Vaswani Audio

Lee Davy sits down with the former member of the Hendon Mob, Ram “Crazy Horse” Vaswani, to talk about his time away from the limelight, the possibility of getting back in it and much more.

An Interview With Ram ‘Not so Crazy Horse’ VaswaniAs a young British poker enthusiast, I loved every member of the Hendon Mob. Each of them had their own distinct style and story that sold poker to the punters. When I played my first major tournament, I was genuinely starstruck to set eyes on Barny Boatman & Joe Beevers. I nearly wet my knickers when I talked to Ross, who still remains the only poker player I nearly asked to whip off his underpants and sign them for my mum.

But I always had a soft spot for Ram Vaswani. He was the Crazy Horse. The super cool poker player who would play any two cards to perfection. Whilst your mum wanted you to grow up to be like Ross, you wanted to be Ram.

The first time I would meet Ram would be a few weeks ago. He was playing in the World Poker Tour (WPT) UK Festival at Dusk till Dawn (DTD). And I get about. It’s not as if I haven’t been looking.

So where had he been?

I have watched you walking around DTD all week, how has it gone for you?

“It’s been a hard week. We spent the first week playing in the big events; got nowhere, so I have extended my stay to play in the smaller events to get out of it. I got knocked out really early in the big events, had a couple of shots at them both, and that’s why I have been walking about a lot.”

Where have you been hiding?

“The truth is I had a little ‘un. We used to take her around the tournaments when she was a little baby, but when she needed to go to school, things had to change. I decided I didn’t want to do the traveling anymore and wanted to spend time watching my little ‘un growing up. I still went to a few events, but when they are small, and you miss them for a week, they change so much. That became more important to me, so I have been busy being a father for the past few years.

“To be honest I spent a lot of time playing poker in my younger days. We used to go from country to country playing the game. Nowadays you can play online, and I got involved more in sports betting. You could say I have been retired for the past 6-7 years. I have been all pokered out.”

Did you miss it?

“I didn’t to be honest. I played so much when I was young. When the boom started I got a sponsorship deal and it was none stop. I didn’t miss it. Having said that this is the first time I have been at a festival for a week, and I have really enjoyed it. Maybe I will play a lot more events now?”

When the Hendon Mob were together, you always seemed to dodge the limelight. Was that part of the arrangement between you guys?

“I wouldn’t say it was the arrangement. It’s a funny one. I used to enjoy it but in the end I always felt that wherever I went there was a camera. I had enough of it in the end.”

It’s an interesting dichotomy. You are so aggressive when you are playing, and more reserved away from the game.

“That’s a bit more to do with the way I used to gamble. People thought I was crazy but as it happens, whilst my game might have looked that crazy, back in the day, if you watch the good players today, they play in that style. It’s not crazy. There is a thin line but I never thought it was crazy, although I may have been a bit of a crazy gambler in the early days.”

Olivier Busquet recently tweeted that the young pros don’t owe the older pros anything for their work in the early days of poker – what’s your view on this?

“We were the first people to get a sponsorship deal {Hendon Mob}. We were at the right place at the right time. I was having a lot of results as well. We were just bang in the middle of it when it happened. It could have happened to anyone. It was a different standard of play back then. Without boasting it was actually quite easy. Now the level of play has increased through the TV, the books, the software; you get all these whiz kids coming through college, playing so many hands online, it’s a different game altogether, and there are so many great players out there.”

Did you have any dreams to do anything else in life other than poker?

“When I was younger I used to play snooker. I turned pro for a few years. That was my first love. There were always poker games going on in the snooker club, but it wasn’t a big thing. When I started going to the casino I started playing poker. I was doing all right, the boom hit and I started to have a great life. I loved the traveling back then, but things change. When you have a little ‘un it’s a different story. She’s my love now.”

How old is she?

“She is nine years old now; old enough that I can travel and talk to her on the phone every day, so I might start playing a little bit more.”

Does she understand what you do for a living?

“My little ‘un knows what I do. She rang me yesterday and wished me luck. She also plays with me on the computer sometimes. Gambling is one thing, but being a poker player shouldn’t be associated with gambling. It’s sort of like a sport isn’t it? Being a professional poker player is a little different to being a gambler. I’m not saying I’m not a gambler because I am, but when my friends and family watched me playing on TV they viewed it as a sport, not gambling.”

Alex Dreyfus and the GPI are looking to produce a poker league that puts more exposure on the sporting side of the game, what’s your opinion on that idea?

“They were talking about doing that years ago in America. Some guy was going to buy the WPT out and create a Premier League of poker. They asked me to move out there and play it on a regular basis, so there was talk of it before. To be honest, if you are going to do something like that, and are going to get the best poker players in the world together, there is not that much in it. It’s not that interesting. Even when you get to finals of tournaments, I don’t think you should be showing the finals because it’s the most boring part of the event. You would be better showing coverage of the earlier stages of events; when you have a mixture of good and bad players; deeper stacks, and more play. That’s what poker is all about. You don’t see that at the final. Poker is more interesting when you have different standards playing together – not the very best in the world. I wouldn’t watch a poker final. There is hardly any play because stacks are so shallow, and because the way the prizes are structures it detracts from the skill. People are focusing on the pay increases and not necessarily the game.”

Any regrets?

“I have a million regrets, as I am sure all poker players do.”

How great was it that Barny won a bracelet?

“I turned up the day before he won it. I hadn’t been for years, so it was great timing. There was so many English fans cheering him on. The atmosphere was brilliant. It was great to see him win it. He is someone who deserved it. He has tried so hard, come so close, and is so loveable. I was so happy that I was there that day.”

Why are you no longer with the guys on the Poker Mob concept?

“To be honest with you it was a smaller sponsorship deal involving traveling around England playing in smaller events. I didn’t mind playing in bigger tournaments, but I had my sports betting and responsibilities as a father. It just wasn’t the right time for me.”

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