Brent "Broberts85" Roberts kicked off the latest Full Tilt Online Poker Series with a big win in Event #1, a $200 no-limit freezeout with a massive field and a cool $164,000 for first. With that victory, Roberts, who plays on PokerStars as "Astrolux85," became one of few players to earn two FTOPS jerseys along with WCOOP and SCOOP wins. His multi-table tournament accomplishments are even more remarkable because Roberts doesn't put in high volume on the online tournament felt. He considers himself a pot-limit Omaha and six-max cash game player rather than an online MTT grinder.
"If I played online tournaments on a consistent basis, I would probably want to quit poker very quickly," Roberts explained. "By playing very sporadically, it keeps me interested and happy." He started his poker career in 2003 playing six-handed limit games on PartyPoker. "I enjoyed the grind back in the day. I played a ton because I was addicted in a sense. That feeling kind of died down as the years passed."
It was several years after the Party days before his online MTT career took off. He largely restricts his online tournament grinding days to a few times a year during the major series. Even then, he only plays a handful of days during each event.
If you combine his light grinding schedule with his impressive list of big scores, it seems like he wins a tournament every time he plays. "I'll take credit for that," he joked. "But more-so I'm just running really well over a small sample." Roberts also attributes some of his MTT success to learning consistency in six-max and PLO cash games.
His first FTOPS victory came in 2008 in a PLO tournament that won him $75,000. Next, he won the WCOOP $500 no-limit hold'em six-max rebuy in September 2009 for $230,500. He said the WCOOP score was most up his alley. "It was a great structured six max, which I'd had a lot of practice in of course." That tournament was just what Roberts needed, he said. "I was struggling a bunch at that time. PLO cash wasn't going well and my PokerStars balance was super short. I had a few horses at that time and thought I'd have trouble even getting them WCOOP Main Event buy-ins. The score came at such a great time, and it was a testament to my six-max prowess."
His next big series win came in the 2010 $2,000 SCOOP heads-up PLO event, which he said was both softer and smaller than you'd expect in other tournament scenarios. "I don't really play all that much heads-up PLO, but I'm betting I still had a pretty good edge over the rest of the field. It also only had 200 runners or so."
His victory over the giant FTOPS field, which had over 4,000 runners, was "probably pretty fluky," although "the field from 50 down was extremely soft." Winning his second FTOPS jersey was extra special "since it was in such a big field. I'm not sure if I've ever had a win that big of a field," Roberts said. "Now I'm in a small group of multiple FTOPS winners. Pride is cool."
The success doesn't make him want to play more tournaments, however. He says he'd still "really rather play cash games online. I don't keep a consistent schedule with playing. One week I can put in 15 hours at cash, and zero another."
He said he was "much more addicted" when he wasn't as good. "Partly because I wanted to improve my game. When I begin a new hobby I always put a ton of time into it." And thanks to that addiction, Roberts was able to turn poker from a hobby into a career. "When I was in college, I knew that I was going to play poker for a living somehow, even when my hourly was much smaller and it was more like a shot in the dark." Now, he tries to keep a balance between poker and other activities and enjoy the freedom such a career provides.
"My next goal is to become a live MTT baller. I haven't had a big score in almost two years," said Roberts, who won the World Series of Poker Circuit event in Atlantic City in December 2008. He hasn't put in much volume on the live circuit since then, so he's headed to Europe at the end of the month to play Cannes and then all of the tournaments in London. That will make it harder for Roberts to put in a solid WCOOP schedule, but that doesn't bother him at all. He'll just have to pick his few days very carefully to take down another title.
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