Jenny Woo Does Dan Michalski of Pokerati.com

Written by:
C Costigan
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Even though it's all about football right now, nobody can forget that the WSOP was just a couple months ago and the final table will be here before we know it.  I had the opportunity to sit down with a Dream Team Poker player who gave me his take on team poker events.  Dan Michalski from my favorite website after Gambling911.com and Swingular.com, Pokerati.com, was on the winning team, Team Tao, along with Paul McGuire and Lana Maier.  

JENNY:  How was it playing in the first WSOP Dream Team Poker event? 

DAN:  Good times.  Seriously, it was a well-run tournament (by the WSOP staff), and I'm a big fan of the team-poker concept.

JENNY:  Have you played in any team poker other than the DTP recent events?

DAN:  Actually, yeah.  The WSOP tourney was my third Dream Team event, and a couple years ago I played in some preliminaries for the (now defunct) US Poker Bowl.  The rules there were a bit different, but I was no stranger to the concept.  Pauly (Paul McGuire) and I played together in the Caesar's Dream Team event, and he also played (with different teammates) in the WSOP media event a few days earlier -- and made the final table there. Lana (Maier), our third teammate, also played in the media event -- her first time -- and actually won the team competition there too.  Like any tournament, Dream Team events have their own unique feel, and some slight alterations in strategy and game plan come into play.  So I dunno, maybe experience counts for something? Either that or we just got lucky.

JENNY:  Will you be playing in more DTP events?  And if so, will you be staying as a team?

DAN:  Definitely.  I am sure Pauly and I will continue to play together on various incarnations of Team Tao of Pokerati, but I also don't see this being the only team I ever play on.  

JENNY:  How do you like the overall concept of team poker?  And do you think this will be the new craze of poker?

DAN:  Like I said, I'm a big fan.  These events are always a good time, and appropriately challenging with desirable prize pools. New "craze"?  Definitely not.  But I do see it becoming a more standard tournament variety -- not unlike heads-up events.  I also think it could make for some great televised poker, but who knows, maybe the Dream Team folks are already working on that.

JENNY:  You seem to be getting a lot of praise for looking out for the team versus yourself when you folded pocket K's.  Did you see members of other teams not grasping onto the DTP concept by looking out for themselves versus the team?

DAN:  Well it was just one hand, and what they don't tell you is that I stupidly limped with pocket 6s a few hands earlier only to be forced off of them when Kenna James raised me off of them with a laugh -- knowing that I could know he was raising with any two cards, and yet would probably have to lay down Aces there. I got greedy hoping to flop a cheap set with the 6s -- and put me in contention for some big individual money, too -- and that left me in a position where I had to think about the team prize and essentially be blinded down into first place.

I won't say that I saw other teams not grasping the team concept, but there are definitely spots in the middle of the tourney where you technically might have the odds to gamble, but if your team is still doing well, you stand to win more money by staying alive no matter what to improve the teams overall finish.

JENNY:  Do you have any pointers when playing in a team event?

DAN:  Haha.  Yes, get lucky on the river.  In general, play for the team prize early, and worry about the individual prize later.  I'd say everyone should play tight so your whole team finishes in the top half of the field or better, but I think there are also situations where, say, one player has a monster stack, and another player is hurt early ... and in those situations it probably pays for the smaller-stack player to gamble it up, and the big stack to see how that works out before shifting into a certain gear of aggression.

JENNY:  Did you guys celebrate?  And if so, what did you do?

DAN:  Actually not too much, because we were all still working the Series and they were getting to the final days of the main event. We bought our media friends a few rounds of drinks then the next night at the Gold Coast bowling alley bar.  Lana still owes Pauly and me a nice dinner!

JENNY:  Did any of you play in any other WSOP events?

DAN:  Lana cashed in the 2007 Ladies event, and finished 10th in the 2009 $1,500 HORSE event.  She was supposed to be our ringer!  But she went out early ... and yet still banked $11k.  Not bad for finishing three hundred and twenty somethingth.  (Haha)

JENNY:  What's been the most memorable moment for you at this year's WSOP?

DAN:  Oh, I'm gonna need a little scotch in me to tell you that ...

JENNY:  Thanks Dan!


Jenny Woo, Gambling911.com Senior International Correspondent 


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