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David Sklansky: Without bad beats I'd be worried

3 July 2008, By:

David, what's the longest poker session you've ever played?

Oh, well. Years and years ago I had a few sessions of 32 hours. But I haven't done that for over 20 years.

What's the most you've won and lost in one session?

In cash games, the most I've won in a single session is about $45,000. The most I've lost is $23,000; that's nothing special. I've had many losses over $10,000, but the thing is, I usually quit when I make a pretty big loss. I never chase my losses.

Have you ever chosen poker over a partner?

Yes, of course. If it's a good game, you can't just leave. All professional poker players have girlfriends who understand that if it's a very good game, plans have to change, since that's how you make your living. Of course, if it's a very, very special occasion, that's something else.

How many of your friends don't play poker?

More than half of them don't play poker. I don't really like to have only poker players as friends. I play poker for a living; I'm not interested in talking poker all the time. I'm not one of those people who are obsessed with it.

Do you use poker lingo in your everyday language?

Not too much. Not unless I'm talking to a poker player.

Most expensive thing you've destroyed after a bad beat?

I've never destroyed anything after a bad beat. Bad beats are mathematically expected. If I didn't get any bad beats, I would be worried that somebody was cheating!

Bad beats are expected to happen once in every hundred hands or so. You need bad beats to get the mathematics right.

Even if a lot is at stake, I don't do anything special if I get a bad beat. Just keep playing. Grind them down!

Do you make side bets?

Very rarely. People don't often give me opportunities. If I get a good opportunity though, I'll take it. I only make side bets if I get the right odds.

Sometimes, if people don't understand how odds are calculated, for example, I may bet with them. But I don't do any crazy side bets.

Do you have nightmares about poker?

I dream about poker once a month maybe. But no nightmares, just regular play, usually. Actually, I use to win in my dreams - I'm not sure what that means…

Who would you say is the biggest poker junkie out there?

I don't know it personally, I just got it secondhand, but they tell me that David Benyamine is a pretty big poker junkie. A lot of crazy prop bets and so on.

Some questions on WSOP

How has the WSOP treated you so far?

I have made two final tables out of, I think, eleven tries. But then I haven't done very well at these final tables. You don't really make any good money unless you make into the top three. I haven't done that.

The Main Event is drawing close...

Yes, and I will play the main event of course. No one can expect to win it, but even coming in the top 30 is good money. Everything over 100K is nice money, I'd say.

Any particular strategies or adjustments in the Main Event?

Well, sure, in certain situations. Like when you're on the bubble, you wouldn't want to make something stupid and go out. But most of the time you don't modify your game just because it's the main event.

Will you take it easy in the opening stages?

It all depends on the table you get. What's the best way to take advantage of it? That first table is a very important factor, who your opponents are. If I'm at a good table I may take a chance, but if I'm at a bad table I might just try and survive and hope I get a better table the next day.

Which player has the best chance to win the Main Event?

The players who have the best chances are the players who nobody knows. Even if they're not playing any better than the best players, since they're strangers they will be able to trick people into believing that they're tourists. That gives them an advantage.

That's why an unknown player wins almost every year, they actually have an advantage. So this year, the WSOP champion will probably be somebody else I don't know!

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