Sam Holden
Same Holden
 
PokerStrategy.com: How old are you?

Sam Holden:
22-years old

PokerStrategy.com: What were you doing prior to poker?

Sam Holden:
I was in university learning to become a forensic scientist

PokerStrategy.com: Was it always a dream to become a forensic scientist?

Sam Holden:
Not really. After I had completed my A levels I wanted to do a degree and I was very good at Maths and Science so I just focussed on the things that I was good at.

The more I progressed with the degree - although I found it interesting - I knew a career would be quite monotonous, unless I found myself with a really impressive job. I then found poker and wanted to give that a shot.

PokerStrategy.com: So how old were you when you started playing?

Sam Holden:
I started to play live during my time in university. I then progressed to playing online.

PokerStrategy.com: What did you play?

Sam Holden:
I played tournaments mainly. I really enjoyed playing them and it wasn’t just for the money. The big scores and closing out tournaments is nice, but it was more than that for me.


"I chopped the Sunday Million for $88k just a few weeks before Vegas"

PokerStrategy.com: Did you have any big scores prior to your WSOP adventure?

Sam Holden:
I actually chopped the Sunday Million for $88k just a few weeks before I went to Las Vegas. That was my first big score.

PokerStrategy.com: So was that the start of your bankroll or did you have money before that?

Sam Holden:
I would say my bankroll was around $30k just prior to the Sunday Million success.  Before that, I had won the $22 Double Deuce on Full Tilt and also won a few $109’s…I grinded my bankroll slowly until the Sunday Million score.

PokerStrategy.com: Great timing, just before Vegas.

Sam Holden:
It really was. I was planning on going anyway. I had decided to put a package together and sell my action that way, but after the Sunday Million score I was able to play in a lot of the $1k’s myself and just sell for the main. It was also a lot more comfortable in terms of costs.

"It wasn’t just my first series but it was also my first $10k buy-in event"

PokerStrategy.com: Was it your first series?

Sam Holden:
It wasn’t just my first series but it was also my first $10k buy-in event. Before that my biggest buy-in was the UKIPT at Galway.

PokerStrategy.com: How much action do you have of yourself in the WSOP Main Event?

Sam Holden:
I only have 39% of myself.

PokerStrategy.com: So you go to the WSOP for the first time and make the Nov Nine! But you became the first post Black Friday Nov Nine. How do you feel about that?

Sam Holden:
I still feel very lucky. It is unfortunate that there is not lot of sponsorship money around like previous years, but the way I look at it, had there been another 1,000 entrants in the event I may not have even made the final.  


phil hellmuth
Sam Holden
PokerStrategy.com: Does Black Friday affect Sam Holden?

Sam Holden:
Well, the tournaments have certainly got a lot softer since Black Friday. There was a high level of good American tournament pros. So for the highest buy-in online level MTT’s those types of players had an edge over me.

So when you take them out of the equation I get a better deal, but eventually they will all return to the game – somehow.

PokerStrategy.com: So what was the Vegas experience like?

Sam Holden:
The best way to describe it is to say HUGE. I think it is run very well considering the scale of the event. I would like to think that I will always play poker at the WSOP, especially the Main Event.

PokerStrategy.com: Yeah, there certainly is a different buzz about the Main Event.

Sam Holden:
Definitely, it is interesting following the top players on twitter as they bust event after event. There is a resigned fate to it, but when you get to the Main Event it is so much different.

Maybe it is because of all the added value or maybe because it is just the Main Event, either way you can sense that there is a different feel about this one single competition.

PokerStrategy.com: Talk a little bit about your own Main Event experience.

Sam Holden:
I was very lucky with table draws in the first couple of days and that gave me a lot of confidence. I realised that I had an edge over my tables; I was super-deep and didn’t think I was going to be outplayed massively.

PokerStrategy.com: Were there any significantly difficult players that you encountered?

Sam Holden:
Not really. It certainly got tougher and tougher as the tournament progressed but I really ran good with table draws.

"The players games I respect the most are the online tournament pros"

PokerStrategy.com: Were there any players you encountered with big reputations, which you thought were a lot weaker than you expected?

Sam Holden:
Again, not really. The players games I respect the most are the online tournament pros, although I have great respect for the older players games.

PokerStrategy.com: You have Johnny Chan to your left at the moment (WSOPE Main Event). So you wouldn’t swap him for Chris Moorman, for example?

Sam Holden:
Exactly. The older players are really good at extracting value from the weaker players and their meta-game talents are exceptional but there games don’t worry me as much as a Moorman or Cody.

PokerStrategy.com: Do you believe any of them have advanced at all?

Sam Holden:
I listen and read about Daniel Negreanu and think he is one of the older players who have tried to improve his game. Not only does he want to learn, but he also admits he has to learn more about the changes in the modern game. He is a very modest guy. It is really important to continually assess your game irrespective of how famous or successful you are or become.

PokerStrategy.com: Do you have any particular memorable hands from your WSOP Main Event run?

Sam Holden:
I don’t actually. Everyone asks me that question but I don’t. It is actually a weakness of mine (not remembering hands).

PokerStrategy.com: Was there any particular time where you thought your WSOP Main Event dream was over?

Sam Holden:
There was lots of time I was short around the bubble and towards the end. I always had a nagging feeling that I could bust but not a particular moment. I tried hard not too think about it a lot because it would have affected my play.

PokerStrategy.com: At what point did the WSOP Main Event run become a free roll for you?

Sam Holden:
Probably when I cashed. Cashing was the difference between having a profitable Vegas trip and a non-profitable one.  I wasn’t looking at the pay jumps after that.

PokerStrategy.com: After the WSOP final table was sown up you were then invited to play at Late Night Poker and did really well.

Sam Holden:
It was all about confidence. Making the November Nine gives you a huge confidence boost and it really helps as you move on. I played really well during Late Night Poker and also ran very well. I won a lot of flips (a lot of which where I was behind).

by Lee Davy