Thomas Bihl Interview
The World Series of Poker kicks off this week in Las Vegas. Recently, PJ correspondent compncards was able to interview Thomas Bihl. Bihl won a bracelet in the HORSE event of the first ever World Series of Poker Europe.
Compncards: Today I am talking with Thomas Bihl, Full Tilt pro and the first man to win a World Series of Poker Bracelet outside of Las Vegas. Thomas, thank you for taking the time to talk to your fellow poker junkies.
TB: Sure, my pleasure.
Thomas Bihl at the poker table (courtesy of buzzer.com)
Compncards: Thomas, you had mentioned to me once that your first live HORSE tournament was in 2007 at the WSOP in Las Vegas. Just two months later, you won the first WSOP bracelet to be awarded outside of Vegas in the same game. What did you pick up from that first tournament that helped you to succeed at the WSOP-E?
TB: I did pick up the desire to become one of the best HORSE players out there. I also picked up confidence as I felt I could hang with most of the players despite my lack of experience at that time in the format. So my next target was to improve my game and take a shot at the WSOPE HORSE event.
Compncards: Do you play a lot of HORSE online? If not, do you play a lot of the individual games in the rotation?
TB: I like to play HORSE cash games if they are worth my time. Early this year there was a really juicy 100/200 and 200/400 on Stars that I owned for a while. Sadly a few of the weaker players disappeared and so did the whole game. On Full Tilt I sometimes play $500 and $1.000 Heads-Up HORSE SnGs. Of the individual games in the rotation I sometimes play Razz and Stud Eight which I think are my forte and occasionally O8.
Note to readers: Thomas and I actually were at the same table together for his first live HORSE tournament. Thomas was indeed one of the strongest Razz players at the table.
Compncards: What do you think of the current offerings of 8-Game or the "Mixed Event" as the WSOP likes to call it?
TB: I like the idea of an 8-Game Mixed Event. However I do not think I am top drawer in some of the games, especially PLO, so I am unlikely to participate this year.
Compncards: ESPN has decided to eliminate all non-Holdem events from TV this year, including the $50,000 HORSE World Championships. Having won a bracelet in a non-Holdem event, and specifically HORSE, what are your thoughts on this move?
TB: To be honest this came as a big surprise and kind of shock to me. For me, and many other poker players, the WSOP was the one series that also supported and featured strong non NLH events. I have also read that the WSOPE will not feature a HORSE event this year, it will all be NLH/PLO, and I think that is sad to say the least. After all HORSE is still rated as the supreme discipline by many pros.
Note to readers: Several Non-NLH events will be broadcast online via Bluffmagazine.com and ESPN360.com.
Compncards: If someone came up to you and asked you for one tip that would improve their HORSE game, what would that tip be?
TB: Practice, practice, practice J
Compncards: How did you get connected with Full Tilt Poker? In the past, you were a Betfair sponsored pro. Was this a result of your WSOP bracelet win, or just another in a long line of business moves by pros?
TB: It is true I started playing on that site and for a while had a co-operation with them. However they failed to market my bracelet win so I decided to move on at the end of 2007. I am happy to be part of the Full Tilt family and have never looked back.
Compncards: I just checked out your schedule of events over at buzzerpoker.com and I notice that you are only playing 2 straight No Limit Holdem events (both shootouts) this summer. Do you prefer the mixed games and the non-Holdem events or are you doing like many pros and focusing on events that you feel you have the best shot to win?
TB: First of all I can play solid NLH events all year round in Europe while the WSOP offers an almost unique chance to play for decent prize pools, and of course bracelets, in other disciplines. That is a challenge I enjoy tremendously. Secondly I feel that these days there are a lot of really strong NLH players so I am rather one amongst many if you will. In contrast to that I feel that in HORSE, Razz and the Split Games I can hang with anybody.
Compncards: Taking yourself out of the equation, who do you feel has the best shot at winning the $50,000 HORSE event this year and why?
TB: The event will be as star-studded as wide open. This is also illustrated by the fact that only a single player, Barry Greenstein, managed to get placed in the 2007 and 2008 running of this event. So he would have to be on top of my list of possible winners. A "dark HORSE" to look out for is Alexander Jung, a young player from Germany with bags of talent.
Compncards: Of course, many of our junkies are probably wondering if you have ever taken a shot at "The Big Game" over at the Bellagio. If you have, how did it turn out for you? If not, do you have any plans to take on the big boys?
TB: I have not yet played "The Big Game" at the Bellagio. I feel it is a little out of my bankroll comfort zone so if anyone wants to stake me for that feel free to contact me through my website.
Thomas, thank you for taking time to talk to all of the poker junkie here. Good luck to you at the World Series.
TB: Thanks, I appreciate it.