Lee Davy sits down with Steve Warburton to talk about his recent success, the dichotomy of finishing second and yet earning large amounts of cash, and much more.
“Steve Warburton, now there’s a name that reminds me of a bakery in the North West.”
That’s what I thought when I saw his name in the chip counts at the World Poker Tour (WPT) Main Event in Amsterdam last season. I thought he was a fish. A luckbox who had won a satellite into the big one. He laughed when I asked him if he was new. He had been playing for over a decade.
Anyway, he went on to finish second for €150,000 and should have won it. A few weeks later and he picked up another £12,000 after finishing second in a £1,000 High Roller at Dusk till Dawn (DTD). This was becoming a habit. Then two months later, he finished second at the European Poker Tour (EPT) Main Event in Barcelona for a million dollars.
I caught up with him during the WPT UK in DTD. He was coolered out of the Main Event, but he did finish third in the £5,250 High Roller for £40,000 and this is what he had to say.
You have been on a little bit of a tear recently, what have you been doing differently?
“I wouldn’t say I am doing anything differently. I don’t travel as much as some of the other guys. I pretty much just played cash games for 6-7 years. I played live when it was really good; then it dried up, so I played exclusively online. Then I went back to the live games but the games in the North completely dried up so I tried tournaments. This year, I have had three of four second places.”
You are becoming the new Simon Deadman
“He is a good friend and we are always talking about it. We are Team Hashtag Second Place.”
You might not be winning events, but you are winning a lot of money. Where do you stand on the prestige v money earned debate?
“I think it’s an interesting debate between poker players. They either say it’s all about the glory, or it’s all about the money. I have never met anyone who is in between. I might be the only one in between. I side more towards the money. There are a lot of smoke and mirrors in poker. It’s pretty painful coming second, but I am not sure if that’s because I have missed the glory of the trophy, or the difference in money. I will be happy if I keep coming second.”
I believe that if you are running well in poker then you must be running well in life. What’s going so well in your life?
“I 100% agree with that. It’s not a coincidence that when players settle down results seem to improve. The last two years I have settled down. I live with my girlfriend and have gotten into a good routine. I am fit and I eat really well. Jake Cody talks about the importance of sleep and he is right. The days you only have 3-4 hours sleep you do not play well. You can’t play at the top of your game with only a few hours sleep.
“I used to live in Manchester City Centre, in the middle of the games, and there was no break. Now I live in the suburbs of Manchester and I can leave the games and not think about the game. I have been more settled in life the past few years and the results have followed.”
What do you do in your downtime?
“I play poker. I play a lot less than I used to, but I do play a lot. I am more balanced though. I spend a lot of time with my family. I feel really privileged to be able to choose when I play. Before, it was a case of playing all of the time in every dingy spot.”
What else is really important to you in life?
“All the obvious stuff. The people you love and who have been there for you the whole of your life. My Gran is my biggest fan and she is a huge part of my life; friends and family also. A lot of poker players are good guys, but there are way too many who don’t appreciate the freedom they have. When things aren’t going well, and you are in the dumps poker players say fuck my life, but not really, it’s not exactly a hard life is it? I am very fortunate because I really love this game.”
When I say the name Dwyte Pilgrim what immediately comes to mind?
“The one word that springs to mind for me is ‘complacency’. It’s easy to fall into. Poker players have success for a few years and have complaceny in a number of ways, they stop treating people well and they take their game for granted and don’t work as hard.
“I was talking to Sam Trickett yesterday and he said that he has lost the desire to play like he used to. He used to go around the world and beat everyone, and he doesn’t feel like that anymore.”
Give my teenage son some advice
“You shouldn’t be worrying. I was always a big worrier and I look back and think there wasn’t much to worry about. Schools and parents put so much pressure on you, and tell you that life will be over if you don’t do the right things, and that’s not true. On the other hand, I wouldn’t want them to sit back and relax too much either. You need to keep out of trouble and mix with the right people.”