Shola Akindele-Deadman on changes to her game, what she sees when she looks at the world, and what she would do if she had 10,000 hours to work on anything.
You get the feeling Shola Akindele-Deadman is having the best year of her life.
This summer, she made the final table of Event #20 $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em (NLHE) at the World Series of Poker finishing in eighth place for $43,888 and recently finished second in the Italian Poker Tour (IPT) High Roller in Malta for €96,160.She also got married.
To Simon Deadman.
I wonder if they play credit card roulette to determine who will run the bath?
Why is everything going so well for you?
“Everything has been falling into place. I have been getting my bluffs spot on, and my hands have been holding up. I won’t say I ran particularly well, during those two events, I mean I ran well, but it’s all the other stuff that falls into place, not just your cards.”
How has your game changed?
“My game has changed in many ways. I am always trying to improve. I have been working on my image. I am working hard at making myself seem like a bigger presence at the table. The way I handle myself is important. It’s working out for me.”
Daniel Negreanu recently asked on Twitter why there weren’t more women playing poker, what’s your thoughts?
“It’s personal preference. It’s not just because they are female. The ones I speak to – male poker playing partners – I ask them if they play and they say no, or they can’t get their head around why anyone would even want to play? I was the same before I played. My friends would invite me over and I used to think, “Why would I wish to play poker?” You need to sit and play to realise how exhilarating and fun the game is.”
I received criticism for suggesting non-poker people would find it difficult to have a relationship with a poker player. What’s your view?
“I wonder how people do it? It’s such a different lifestyle. We travel and play all day and if you are not interested in poker, it’s tough to understand. Being married to Simon is great. We talk about hands all of the time, we break them down and criticise each other. I talk to people who are in relationships with non-poker people and they have problems with how long they play and everything.
“You would have to be with someone who is very understanding. They would have to understand you are passionate about it, and if that’s ok, then it will work. People seem to do it. I went to a wedding last night; he is a pro poker player, she is a doctor and they got married.”
What do you see when you look at the world?
“I tend to think that we are a little bit broken. We were in Birmingham Mall the other day. It’s very modern and Simon turned around to me and said, ‘Can you imagine if someone from the Third World came to this place and thought how is it that I get to live one way and they get to live another way?’ When you think about it, you feel a little bad about it. You have to be grateful for what you have. I feel grateful every day.”
Is there a part of you that wants to make a difference in the world?
“I do think about it. I wish I were the type of person who went to the other side of the world and built houses for people, but the opportunity has never presented itself. I just thank God for everything I have at the moment. I like to give to people close to me and Cancer Research is also important to me. I also love animals. I tried to volunteer to work at an animal shelter but they didn’t need my help.”
If you could work on anything for 10,000 hours what would you choose and why?
“I am a student of the law, so for me it would be to perfect that. I hope to be a Corporate Law solicitor in the future. Poker is a big part of my life, but the law is more significant part of it. I would love to be able to walk into any courtroom and know all of the loopholes. It’s impossible; it changes every day, but that would be my goal.”
Give my teenage son some advice.
“Listen to your parents because when they say they have been there they have. Don’t do something that will ruin your life forever. If you are going to do something bad, choose something that will only ruin your life for a couple of weeks.”