Lee Davy sits down with the recent winner of a $30,000 PokerStars Player’s No-Limit Hold’em Championship Platinum Pass to find out what makes his game tick.
It’s not been a bad few months for Fintan Gavin. In November, the Irishman defeated 498 entrants to win the €9k first prize in the PokerStars Megastack Connacht. In January, Gavin followed up with a win in the Ulster event beating 733 entrants for a €19,060 first prize and a $30,000 Platinum Pass, meaning he will be in the Bahamas competing for millions at the PokerStars Player’s No-Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC).
How does he do it?
Let’s find out.
Describe the first hour of your day?
I’m a slow starter.
Breakfast usually follows a few daily errands. I try and focus on my goals/responsibilities with meditation time. Unfortunately, This is irregular.
Do you use any tools to aid you in your learning?
I’m lacking on doing homework to improve my game. It’s something I should work on more. I’m relatively isolated when it comes to strategy discussion groups, coaching etc. I’m all for it, it just I don’t have it as part of my routine.
Do you listen to music when you play?
Until recently, I always had headphones and had tunes on standby and listened intermittently. Recently I decided to implement a strict no devices rule. It’s working out very well, and I don’t see myself ever going back to using devices while playing. I cant underline how beneficial this has been for me.
Do you have any pre-tournament rituals or habits?
Yes. I pray, and I stay positive.
You have been successful at low, mid and high stakes poker tournaments. What adjustments do you have to make when competing in all three?
I focus on my table opponents only and try to disregard the other tournament entries, chip leaders, & prizepool.
What’s your process for learning?
This is something of a work in progress. For now, it’s keeping my mouth shut and listen to and respecting the people important to me.
Do you have a location where you tend to find more success?
I haven’t thought about this too much. For me, it’s no issue where I play.
If not, whose game do you admire and why?
Phil Hellmuth / Daniel Negreanu / TJ Cloutier / Phil Ivey. They seem to have an incredible ability to read opponents and situations. Also, they have stood the test of time, which I think is the most important factor when considering a player’s ability.
How does tilt affect your game and what work do you do to mitigate it?
I would be susceptible to tilt if I play poorly or carelessly. Usually, at this stage, I tend to be busted out, so it gives me the opportunity to face and challenge my indifference for the next event. Bad beats don’t seem to bother me as much as other players. Maybe because I tend to dish them more. 🙂 I do have a deep-rooted belief that good things will happen to me, this establishes anti-tilt.
Can you describe the process you use for finding backers or swapping pieces?
Up to now I haven’t sold shares or been backed into live events. It may be something I would look at and talk to some friends who make a living from staking other players.
I’m also familiar with BRM; they seem to do a very professional job for both player and backer, with both parties getting the maximum benefit.
I swap with friends when asked; It’s not something I usually propose to do, just cause I don’t think of it. But something like WSOP Main is where I would look to swap.
What if anything do you do to move through the gears (A, B or C game)?
I remind myself you cannot hide or sit back in tournament poker. Every winner needs to step up and take control of the game by being a force.
How do you keep your mind sharp?
Zero alcohol & a healthy diet is essential for me; I also find focusing on my family helps.
What great life habits do you have that the world may not be familiar with?
I play heads-up with my 11-year-old daughter every morning before school.
How does poker make you feel?
It’s a mixed bag.
It’s been a long, sometimes painful journey but overall I would say it’s brought great satisfaction because its something I believe I have a talent for and this makes me proud.