I am this months subject in betfair pokers popular onlind publication the deal.
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Forumite Focus - Soap
This month's subject is Mark 'Soap' Suddes, the first winner of a Betfair Poker Passport Stamp! Popular forumite Mark is a 33 year old project manager from Newcastle who has had a lot of success in his favourite tournament, the nightly $16k guaranteed, although none of those exploits can match winning a WSOP seat in his first few months of playing!
So Mark, how long have you been playing poker, and how did you get started?I think I started about 4 years ago, and like many my initial interest came about from the increased exposure of poker on TV. I won a WSOP seat in an online qualifier in my first few months, which amazingly resulted in my first live poker playing experience being at the main event in Vegas! (Perhaps predictably it resulted in a Day 1 exit!)
Even so, that's rather impressive! Online, what games do you prefer? Are you a Sit & Go, MTT or cash game player?In my opinion variety is the spice of life! I mainly play hold'em, but it's a combination of fixed limit, no limit, Sit & Go's and MTTs. If had had to pick a favourite, it would have to be 6 seater Sit & Go's and $16k guaranteed on Betfair Poker.
In an average week, how many hours of poker do you play?It's certainly more than the wife would like! In total I would say probably 4-5 evenings plus at the weekend - maybe about 30hrs a week.
A fair amount then. Congratulations on recently winning one of Betfair Poker's new Passport Stamps - what do you plan to do with it? I think I won the first passport stamp available and at the time planned to collect as many as possible. Unfortunately my total though is still one : ! I'm going on a boys holiday to Vegas next month and will use $1k of it to buy into the weekly event at the Bellagio, and then the other $2k I'll use to play the UKGPT when it comes to Newcastle.
Two rather different tournaments and locations then! What do you think of the new Passport Stamps as a promotion? I think they're a great idea as it gives people the opportunity to play in events that they would otherwise not usually enter. Also, the flexibility that they can be used almost anywhere is very attractive, and means a player can either aim to earn more, or take what they have. It's also great that if you use it and then reach the final table of a tournament, you qualify for a Threedom pass and receive a package to that tournament from Betfair for the next 3 years.
Yes, the passport stamps and Threedom passes have proved rather popular. Other than what you've already mentioned, do you play offline much and if so, where?I do but I tend to mainly play online as I can play multiple games at a time. There are a few good events in Newcastle these days at the Aspers and Grosvenor casinos and I sometimes go but nowhere near as often as I should. (I need to be more sociable, though I did put up a thread up recently to see if UKGatsby or Azimut, who are both from my neck of the woods, fancy a visit!). I do though intend to play a lot in Vegas next month.
What's your biggest win on Betfair Poker so far?In terms of return, it would have to be winning the $16k guaranteed; it's been a good tournament for me and I've also come 2nd and 3rd in it. The passport stamp has been my other notable victory, though I also recently won the $4.5k GTD.
So is the $16k is your favourite tournament?It would have to be, although rather ironically after I won it I had a spell where I couldn't make the final table for about a month. I put a thread on the forum saying if I donated in it one last time that was the end - of course I then cashed that night! Lately I've done very well in it - I've cashed in 6 of my last 9 attempts with 5 final tables, although unfortunately these final tables have mainly been 5th to 8th so just outside the big cash and the big leader-board points.
Very impressive. Have you thought of entering any bigger ones, eg. the 50k?I've only played the 50k once, but I'll certainly try and qualify via satellites in future as the structure is great. I also recently came 2nd in the Irish Open qualifier final and 3rd in an EPT qualifier, so a few close shaves but not quite good enough.
What do you think of the Betfair Poker leaderboards? I have to be honest on this one - I have mixed feelings about them. In principle I think they're a good idea but I'm always dubious as to how much they can be manipulated by anyone trying to pull a fast one - e.g. one player deliberately losing to another to gain leaderboard points. However, I also know that I am doing pretty well this month in the Las Vegas Sit & Go leaderboard and any bad beat hurts double the amount it does usually!!!
To help set your mind at rest, we do investigate the play of all the players that cash in the Leaderboards before payments are made. So, are you a fan of Betfair's other products, such as the Sports Exchange, Exchange Games or the Casino?Yes, I do use it for sports betting, which as everyone knows has revolutionised the industry. I tend as far as possible to not use the exchange games and casino as these rely on luck whereas I can convince myself that poker and sports are skilled pursuits. : I love the fact you can trade sports in running and 90% of my sports betting is now on betfair.
What do you like about Betfair Poker compared to other sites?The structures of both the Sit & Go's and MTTs are probably the best around. After the software change there were some teething issues with the site, which was frustrating at the time as most players could see that the format of the games themselves was great. Many of the issues have now been resolved though - resulting in more players and not quite as much value in the MTTs. Isn't it about time you upped these GTD limits??
Lol. There is still great value in all our guarantees we assure you! Do you have a particular favourite when it comes to the Pros on the circuit?I think Hatchem has gone on to prove that his WSOP victory was no fluke and impresses me almost every time I see him on TV. Phil Ivey is an obvious contender and of course any pros that beat Hellmuth in the high stakes cash games and then give him a taste of his own medicine with the verbals afterwards!
That's certainly great to watch! Buzzer, Ben Grundy and Bengt Sonnert - Who's the toughest opponent?I have really only played against Buzzer in the six man Sit & Go's. From what I have seen on TV then I've been very impressed by Bengt so he would get my vote.
On a similar note, Scandinavians vs Americans - Who are better?Scandinavians are the best donators according to my forum friends! I don't play cash too often but their mega aggressive style can be both a gift and a curse, and eventually they can get picked off.
Apart from the big pairs, are there any hands that seem to be lucky for you?Big pairs can only be unlucky not lucky - they either hold up or they don't so I wouldn't say either of those anyway! TJs was always a favourite of mine and I've hit quite a lot with it. Yes, it can be a good drawing hand. How do you see poker evolving over the next five years? I think a lot depends on legislation issues, and whether the US ban will get support elsewhere. Poker is getting more and more exposure so unless legislation changes happen then I don't see poker getting any smaller - if anything it'll continue to grow. As technology advances and people start playing on mobiles then it could get even huger.
How did you first get involved with the Betfair Forum? A couple of my friends used the forum for horse racing and soccer, so I started having a look. I then got involved posting on the racing ante-post forum and in the last year or so have really begun enjoy the poker forum. I have not met anybody from the forum but have some great banter on the site with many laughs and feel like I have many good friends.
And which forumite would you most like to play heads up against?I know who I wouldn't and that's KingHawko. Why? because a) he's better then me and b) even if you get your chips in ahead he's golden so he'll win anyway! Who would I play? He'll kill me for saying it but I have to vote for Keith. He keeps coming on the forum saying he's crap at heads up, who wants to take his cash etc. - and I've obliged a couple of times! He's actually a good MTT player though and won some of the bigger GTD tournies.
Lastly is there anything else you would like to add?Yes free the Dibble one! Also though I think I would like to see some of the Betfair pros posting more on the forum and joining in the virtual community. Pro's like Ariston, Dubai, SmartMoney & Kinghawko etc. are regular posters on the forum and can have a laugh both at others and their own expense, which I think would be a good example to follow. Of course people will post stuff trying to shoot them down but, in the main it's just a laugh. Finally, if you ever see my chat putdown of nh coco after I have had a bad beat then please don't take it personally!