Online Poker Spotlight: Alvin "citizenwind" Lau
Pokernews: Hey, Alvin! Thanks for taking the time to do the interview. Tell us, how has the WSOP been treating you so far?
Lau: It's been absolutely fantastic. This is my first year living in Vegas, and it's been everything I'd hoped for. I am living with a bunch of high-stakes pros, including two other CardRunners instructors. I’m getting into a lot of trouble at night, recovering from hangovers, occasionally playing some cards, and Naked Fish.
PN: Sounds like a helluva time! Are you living in Vegas for good, or just for the WSOP?
Lau: So far I've only made plans to stay through the end of the WSOP, but who knows. I think a bunch of people are planning on flying to Asia after this to go play cash games. I might go there, I might end up staying here, or I might go back home. It's likely not going to be the last one!
PN: Now that you are in Vegas, have you been playing more cash games or WSOP events? How have they been treating you?
Lau: I've been playing a mixture of each. I'm planning on playing as many as 6 max events as I can, but I've mostly been playing live and online cash. So far, I'm up huge in the live games despite playing pretty badly. I doubled my online bankroll in two days playing a new style I learned from my housemates. In tournaments I am a huge spewing donkey and suck.
PN: Lol. Please tell us this new style that you have learned from your housemates. Who are these incredible mentors of yours?
Lau: Ha-ha. I don't want to talk about it too much, but basically we've been focusing on the psychology of poker, playing less mathematically, and less stereotypically young-internet-grinder style. We've really been focusing on making people feel owned and destroyed, and then subsequently taking all their money. Right now, I'm living with Corwin "[vital]Myth" Cole, Eric "PeachyKeen" Liu, and Stephen "PoorUser" Costello, who all are great high-stakes players and have been showing me a lot.
PN: I like your guys’ mentality, and that is a sick group of players you are living with.
Lau: Yeah, I'm definitely feeling really lucky!
PN: What do you feel is the big differences between live and online cash games? What do you think is the key ingredient to success?
Lau: In live games, you get so much more information about an opponent, and get to develop a much more personal exchange with them from hand to hand. It makes everything more memorable because you can put an emotional imprint behind an action. It's no surprise that people can describe live hands very graphically, while a lot of plays on the internet get muddled together and forgotten. Strategically, as an internet player I have the advantage of understanding game theory and math more than the casual live grinder. When I add in live tells, the edge multiplies dramatically. I don't need to estimate someone's "Fold to Continuation Bet" statistic. I can see they're clearly uninterested in contesting a pot and are going to fold.
PN: Overall, do you prefer playing live or online, and why?
Lau: I really like live play more. In preparation for WSOP I pretty much took my whole bankroll offline to fund my live bankroll. I have been specializing in live since January. It's really fun. The social aspect makes the time fly by rapidly but so does putting on my headset and listening to “This American Life”. In terms of softness, I can easily play live games that are five or ten times higher than what I play online and show an increase hourly. So for now, I'll probably be sticking with live play, especially at the Rio where you can straddle your button.
PN: Very nice. Enough poker now :-) Alright, you said earlier you have been getting into a lot of late night trouble and been recovering from hangovers. What’s the craziest thing you have done so far while in Vegas ?
Lau: Well, I definitely had my first four figure strip club night, which was pretty blurry. It involved getting Pho with a very loud blonde. The rest of the details will be on my Cardrunner's blog. P.S.: I love you, Marianne, and no, I didn't sleep with the loud blonde.
PN: Any big prop bets yet between you and the CR guys?
Lau: Taylor (Green Plastic) mentioned something about giving him odds to not win a bracelet, but I don't think anyone went through with it. We've actually been pretty lame. No more than $10 has been majored on any game of Mario Kart, beer pong, or tennis. We haven't even had a credit card roulette loss of $500 yet! Apparently, we aren't ordering nearly enough sushi.
PN: Can I please get in the prop bets of all 3?
Lau: Yeah, I think these guys are pretty hardcore. Pooruser is a beastly Mario Kart warlord.
PN: I'll bet either of you three $500.00 I can win 2 out of the 3 events (Mario Kart, beer pong, or tennis).
Lau: DONE! You heard it here, ladies and gentleman. Cardrunners vs. PokerNews grudge match of terror.
PN: Alright, onto the "H2H" questions. When you are not playing poker, what do you like to do in your free time?
Lau: This sounds kind of crazy, but on the side I'm a professional poet. I travel the world performing at universities and poetry festivals. Most of my time goes into writing, performing or competing in poetry slams. I'm also working on a graffiti painting to put on the bottom of a skateboard to give to a girl for her wall.
PN: Post some pictures on your blog of the skateboard, so we can see your artistic skills!
Lau: Yeah for sure for. Usually I just post pictures of new shoes that I buy, but I guess I'll make an exception.
PN: How important do you feel it is to get an education?
Lau: It really depends. I came from a family that really demanded education, so I did the whole nine yards after high school. So many people I know both from the poker and art worlds are now really successful without a degree. As long as you don't drop out and work at subway all your life, I think you can get by without college.
PN: You just had a 500 k score, do you drive to Best Buy or Charles Schwab? Where is your first stop?
Lau: The Lamborghini dealership!
PN: Excellent choice. You are a huge MMA superstar, what poker player do you want to step in the ring with first?
Lau: Probably any player I've ever seen be an incredible douche on TV. Any of those guys would be fun to punch in the neck.
PN: Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
Lau: I'm working on a big poker-related project right now that might set me up for a very early retirement, so it's going to be travel related. I have plans on doing a lot of travel in the near future. I just bought a copy of Life's “Fifty Wonders of the World”. I want to see all of them within a decade. Who knows how long I'll keep playing and teaching poker. It's really fun, and it's opened a million doors for me, but it's the means to an end, not the end itself.
PN: Alvin best of luck to you in the future and thank you for doing the interview!
Lau: Thanks Ryan, it was fun!