Jenny Woo Interviews Poker Pro Steve Paul-Ambrose

Written by:
Jenny Woo
Published on:
Steve Paul Ambrose

Jenny Woo here to talk more poker after this year's WSOP has come to an end - until November that is.  Steve Paul-Ambrose sat down with me the other day to discuss his experience at this year's WSOP and what's coming up for him in the next couple of months and for the possible future.

JENNY:  You seem to have gotten your start during the Moneymaker craze after his WSOP win in 2003.  What were you thinking when you saw an average Joe like Moneymaker win such a huge event?  And what is it about the game that you love and makes you keep coming back for more?

STEVE:  I think it's what everyone gets in watching Moneymaker win is the idea that anybody can win and anybody can compete with the best players.  I guess that's what I like most about - anyone who's willing to put in some work can fairly quickly become a competent player and then eventually become a pretty good player and have a lot of success.

JENNY:  How was your experience at this year's WSOP?

STEVE:  I had a pretty bad World Series for the second year in a row actually.  I didn't play in many events this year.  I think I played ten - maybe.  I just had the one I cashed in - a $1,500 No Limit - so not a very successful World Series.

JENNY:  Was there anything you would have changed?

STEVE:  Nothing in particular.  I feel like I played reasonably well.  In the main event maybe - I kind of find when you're running it's easy to press and look for spots to try to get a lot of chips.  I probably could have been a little more patient I guess.  But I'm happy on how I played.

JENNY:  Do you do anything to prep for a tournament?

STEVE:  Mostly when I'm at big tournaments - the main thing I try to do is keep up a normal schedule of some kind.  It's kind of hard when you're playing 10 - 12 hr days to still lead a normal life but I try to sleep well; I try to get some exercise when I can and eat well which is hard to do when you're traveling.  That's my main approach.  For preparing poker wise - not really.  I try to keep up my normal studying and going over numbers.  But nothing in particular for a tournament.

JENNY:  During tournaments - do you play a lot online?

STEVE:  Generally I don't but during the World Series I usually do because I'm sharing a condo with an online guy or two.  When we bust out of tournaments we'll usually play online.  I played a lot of Sundays on PokerStars and some other tournaments.

JENNY:  What's your game of choice online and live?  And what would you say is your style of play?

STEVE:  I like to play exclusively tournaments and sometimes I'll play cash but very rarely.  Online, I mostly play the Sunday tournaments.  As far as style, I kind of changed that recently (haha).  I use to be fairly aggressive and play a lot of pots.  That's changed over the last couple of years.  Now I would say that I'm generally one of the tighter players at the table.  Still aggressive in the hands I play but - I guess - more selective.

JENNY:  What's next for you?  Are you playing more upcoming tournaments?  Are you going to go relax a bit?

STEVE:  I'll probably take a little time off.  It's always nice to get back to a normal life after the World Series.  (Haha)  But the next set of tournaments I'll definitely be playing is the WCOOP - the World Championships of Online Poker in September (http://www.pokerstars.com/wcoop/).  I'm actually really excited about that.

JENNY:  How long do you see yourself playing?  Do you see yourself going back to the normal work field in the future?  Or do you want to play as long as you can?

STEVE:  That's always something I've taken year by year.  It's kind of hard to tell with poker.  It is a game and it's a thing that I think a lot of people sometimes lose the desire to play.  I still enjoy playing and I'm still doing well.  So as long as that's the case - I'll keep playing but every once in a while I kind of look over the last year (haha) and see how things have gone and make a decision on whether I'll keep playing.  So far it's been a pretty easy decision.

JENNY:  You have a degree in Business and Science - correct?

STEVE:  Yes.  I graduated two years ago from Waterloo.

JENNY:  What do you think you'd be doing now if you weren't playing poker?

STEVE:  Towards the end of my degree I kind of got over the whole Science thing.  I was a lot less interested in that.  If I were to stop playing poker I probably would go back to school in something like economics or something like financial advising.  

JENNY:  Are there any players out there that you admire or have admired?

STEVE:  I think right from the start I remember watching the 2003 World Series and I was immediately drawn to Phil Ivey who I think basically everyone who plays idolizes.  So I guess I would say him.  More recently - no one in particular.  It's kind of interesting to watch guys like Daniel Negreanu or someone who's more talkative at the table and play is a much different style than mine.  Those are the kind of guys that - you know - that I kind of admire and that they're able to play a much more orthodox style and still be very successful.

JENNY:  Have you had any other pros or even some pros from PokerStars give you any words of advice to keep your spirits up after a not so successful year?

STEVE:   Yeah, mostly it's just recognizing that tournaments have a lot variance and you're going to have rough months or rough years.  You just have to consistently go over your play and making sure that you are playing well and just caring on.

JENNY:  What key advice can you give someone who's just getting their start in poker?

STEVE:  I think it's important to find people who ideally are better than you but at least they're also playing poker who you can talk hands with.  That was really important when I was starting out.  My roommate was playing; my brother was playing; my uncle was playing.  So I always had people to talk about hands with and talk about general strategy with.  And I think having that - both - makes it easier to play because people surrounding you are also playing and easier to improve because you have people to talk strategy with. 

JENNY:  Thanks a lot Steve.

STEVE:  You're welcome.

Steve Paul-Ambrose represents PokerStars.com 


Jenny Woo, Gambling911.com Senior International Correspondent


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