This is Ryan Welch’s second World Series of Poker final table; the first happened back in 2010 when he reached the final table of The $ 3,000 No Limit Hold'em - Triple Chance Event. He ended up earning a bracelet in that tournament and has proven his skills on the felt to the tune of over $1,000,000 in live tournament winnings.
We caught up with Welch just as the final table was reached and the players were headed out to break as the tournament was being moved to the ESPN Feature Table. Welch talks about his journey to the final table, having “King Dan” Smith on his direct left and being a co-Diamondback fan with his friend, Eric Baldwin.
PokerNews: This is your best finish since your 2010 win. How does it feel to be back at a final table?
Ryan Welch: It feels good. I’ve had a few close calls in between, a 12th, a 14th and a couple of 20+ finishes. I have come close but it’s nice to be back, for sure.
How was your journey to the final table?
I came into day 2 in the top 10 of chips with like a 100K. Got down to 40K at one point and was able to explode back into the top 10 again. Kind of grinded that for quite awhile and then had a big double up with a set of fives that put me at about 700,000 and then aces vs. ace-king hand was huge putting me at about 1.4 million. From there, I have been sort of cruising.
You have been really observant of your table, have you been able to see anything that has helped or will help you along the way?
I think if you are at a final table with most, if not all, pros you have to try and pick up on anything you can. I don’t know if I have actually gained any specific information but at least watching what’s going on is helpful, if nothing else.
You have “King Dan” Smith on your direct left. Does that change your strategy at all?
I could have picked a better spot for him. Everyone’s tough so it is what it is. It doesn’t really change too much. He just lost that big pot that puts him in a 25 big blind range so he can’t do too, too much damage to me right now. If he had a similar stack as me, it would definitely change the dynamic. He’s tough player no matter what.
Any strategies you can share as the final table gets underway?
Not really. There is going to be a lot of laddering. I feel there are a lot of stacks around the 20-30 big blind range, so I am going to try and stay out of the scruff as much as possible and try to work my way to that three- or four-handed mark. Then it's time to make my surge and ship another bracelet.
I know you are friends with Eric Baldwin and he’s a documented Arizona Diamondbacks fan. Here you are sporting a Diamondbacks hat — did you jump on the bandwagon or have you been a long-time fan too?
We both played college baseball and we have been good friends for a few years. Since I moved out here, I would say Eric had something to do with it and I definitely jumped on the bandwagon. We are co-Diamondbacks fans for sure.