Interview With WSOP Runner Up Paul Wasicka, Part Two
In part one of my interview with Paul, we discussed his path to get to the WSOP, and how his life has changed since he won $6.1 million dollars for second place in the Main Event of the WSOP. Today, Paul discusses what his future looks like, and why he thinks Jamie Gold doesn't necessarily deserve all the criticism he gets.
PN: At this point going forward, what is your play going to look like? Are going to focus on bigger cash games. Are you going to focus on tournaments, or a mix of both?
Paul: I am going to talk to some of the sponsors and see what they have to say. I think mainly, for the next year, I am going to be playing in tournaments. I'm going to be doing an appearance or two on High Stakes Poker. I've talked to the producer of the show; he said he would love to have me on. I might play there a couple of times but mainly I'm going to focus on live tournament play, and maybe just to get back to my "normal lifestyle". I might play online cash games like I was doing before, just to feel like I am getting back to normal.
PN: Are you going to stay in Colorado or have you any plans to relocate anywhere?
Paul: I love Colorado, so I don't know if I'll move per se, but I'll definitely be getting a home in probably Vegas and try to establish some residency there. But, I will spend most of my time travelling, or in Colorado.
PN: Let's say there are fifteen high prestige 10K World Poker Tour sort of events coming up in the next nine months, what percentage of those do you think you would play?
Paul: Probably 100%
PN: Ok. So, if you can make it into the schedule you're going to play it?
Paul: If I have some outside factors like family issues going on or something like that, obviously not, but ideally I'd like to travel and squeeze all of them in. In fact, I'm planning on going to Europe and playing in some EPT events and then Aussie Millions.
Paul: I've had a chance to travel in Europe twice in the last three years, and I absolutely loved it, so I can't wait to go back.
PN: Let's move onto online poker versus live poker. What do you think can be improved? And, what are the pros and cons of both.
Paul: I think there is pros and cons to both online and live. Online you can get disconnected sometimes, and lose a huge pot as a result of that Internet failure. My biggest loss of a pot as a result of Internet failure is $4,000. It's all relative, but it was quite a bit of money for me at the time, but that's the risk you take. But I still choose to play on the Internet even with that risk. For me the convenient factor is if you do not want to be around with people or you want to stay in your pajamas or whatever, you just wake up go to the computer and play. You have all the power to change things like muting chat, all the way down to changing the color of the deck.
PN: Make the experience what you want it to be.
Paul: Exactly. But, live game play is fun as well. It can be a little bit monotonous at times, because a lot of us online players like to play multiple tables. I play four or five tables if I'm playing short-handed; up to eight tables, if I'm playing a full ring game. So going to play one live table with people making tough decisions, where they have unlimited time within reason to act, versus only a certain amount of time to act on the Internet. It can be pretty boring at times to play live, but it can also depend on the stakes you are playing for.
PN: Let's shift gears now. That's a great segway. Let's talk about this poker tournament called the Main Event you played in a couple months ago. From a stamina factor, I assume you've never played for that long, continuously each day. Would that be a fair statement?
Paul: Yeah, in the WPT championships I played for five days, which was the longest tournament stretch for me. [The main event] was definitely a mentally wearing, especially when you're playing ten, fourteen-hour days. It can get pretty long, for sure.
PN: Did you ever find the fatigue affecting your play?
Paul: It's hard to say. Initially I would say no, but I think inevitably it affects everybody's play. It's just a matter to what degree. I don't think it has affected my play as much as maybe others, but I think it affects everybody's play when you're out there for that long. That's part of the game. You wake up, you have to get good sleep, it's just a matter who wants it more if you ask me. Obviously, there is a lot of luck involved and all that, but a lot of times people make dumb plays maybe out of frustration or whatever, including myself, but a lot of it boils down to intangibles, not just the power of your skill but who can control the outside factors.
PN: With all the crap that Jamie Gold has had to deal with since he won, is it, in a weird way, a good thing that you finished second? Have you ever considered that?
Paul: [Laughter] I have thought about that, but at the same time, I don't know what could of resulted [if I had won], maybe somebody accused me of not giving them a certain percentage, I did have people that had percentages of me, and I paid them off. I don't want to speculate, but I believe things happen for a reason. For me, maybe getting second was what God had in store for me. I heard Jamie was going to give a percentage of his winnings to his father's Lou Gehrig's disease research. Maybe that was more important in the long run than me getting another six million dollars, or the title. I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason. Maybe I would have gotten overwhelmed with the publicity, or I don't know what.
PN: Do you feel a certain sort of bond with the other final table players? I was talking to Andy Black a while back, and he said: When you go through all that and you wind up at this table with nine guys, there is a certain bond that just kinda sticks with you. Do you feel that? Do you feel like you're going to be talking to some of these guys for a while? Did you make friends?
Paul: Yeah. I really respected and enjoyed the company of the final table. And not just the final table, but a lot of players that I played with throughout my trip to the final table. I think there is a bond. In fact, Jamie and I have exchanged a few phone calls. I know a lot of people out there don't like him, but I think he's a great guy. I hope this whole scandal gets resolved and that things work out for him. I do feel there is a bond. When you go through something as life changing as that event was for all of us, I think inevitably you form bonds. Along with that, as I was saying, here are the guys I have been playing with leading to that event. It's just awesome to watch their progression. You watch their game go, they watch your game go, all the posts on the forums and all that. You get a lot of support from those guys. That's just great to have them writing about you, like "This guy is playing really good, watch for him" and all this stuff.
PN: Other than playing tournament poker, what are you going to treat yourself to over the next year with this great prize you won?
Paul: I'm definitely going to be investing most of it, but a car is in order. I have a car that got a bunch of dents all over because I bought it with hail damage. It's been through two hailstorms, it has roll up windows and no power locks. I am definitely going to be getting a new car.
PN: Thanks for the time, Paul
Ed Note: Play at Pacific Poker to win your way to many different live tournaments.