KL: How did you get started with poker?
Robert: I was lucky enough to be born into it. I grew up around gambling and cards and different types of games. I was a gamesman and a card player from a very young age.
KL: Where do you play online?
Robert: I primarily play on Full Tilt, Ultimate Bet, and Poker Stars. Those are the three sites that I primarily play on. I also play on Bet21 a lot. That is the elimination blackjack site.
KL: How different is online play and how much do you have to change your strategy?
Robert: Online play is a whole other animal. Strategy wise it is more about plowing through deep fields. Usually you have a lot bigger fields than you would have in a live tournament so you just have to make the adjustments for the big fields. You have to take more risks; you have to really be ready to pay close attention to your opponents because you are constantly changing. Online it seems like you get shifted new tables a lot quicker than you do a live tournament. I'm sure that has to be correct because it has happened to me where I get switched around a lot more than if I was playing live.
KL: Tell me about finishing 4th in the FTOPS [Full Tilt Online Poker Series] main event last week.
Robert: I got a hold of a few chips early. I played pretty steady and pretty solid through all the early rounds and then any time that I felt like it was a time to gamble, I gambled. You either are gambling with a pair when I know for sure they had two over cards. Other times I got my money in with coin tosses and if I would have lost a coin toss I would have been out. I was pretty sure I was up against a coin toss. You have to take a few more chances in big field tournaments in general, not just online. Also, I played multiple games the entire night and even the first part of the final table I was playing at least one or two other games and even another tournament at one point. I was playing a blackjack tournament; it wasn't even a poker tournament! I finished 5th in the blackjack tournament that night too. It was a good night.
KL: How much did you take home for your 4th place finish?
Robert: After Clonie (Gowen) and Kate's (his wife) shopping trip or before that?! I made $89,000 and change. I'm not sure what the exact amount was, but $89,000 and change.
KL: How do you celebrate when you make a big score like that?
Robert: The next night we all went out to dinner. We all went out and had a real nice dinner.
KL: You are considered one of the best pot limit Omaha players in the world by all the top pros. Who do you consider a worthy opponent?
Robert: In pot limit Omaha there are a lot of really great players. In cash games, Patrik Antonius, David Benyamine, Johnny Chan, cash games and tournaments for that matter, but especially cash games. Then also Chau Giang, Chau is also a great Omaha player. Phil Ivey, pardon me, don't let me forget Phil Ivey. Another great pot limit Omaha player.
KL: What else have you been up to?
Robert: Well in January I went to the Bahamas and played in the PokerStars event, came back and played in the Ultimate Blackjack Tour and won the season two finale for that. I played in Tunica at the Gold Strike, the WPT event there, then I went from there to England for the Poker Nations Cup where I think we made a great recovery considering the preliminary rounds, I didn't think we did too well at all. I actually ended up winning my heat and then as a team we finished 2nd place and almost won. After that I came back and went to the Super Bowl. Then I went to the NBA All Star Weekend and I won the celebrity poker tournament, for Hoopology. It was for a real good cause so I was proud to be able to attend it, much less win it. I played in San Diego last week for Rincon after the FTOPS [Full Tilt Online Poker Series] tournament on Full Tilt.
KL: What are your future plans?
Robert: I am playing in an Ultimate Blackjack Tour event over the weekend; unfortunately it is going to cost me missing the main event of the Los Angeles Poker Classic. I think I am playing in the WPT Invitational in LA. I am an alternate for the NBC Heads Up tournament, so I am hopeful but not expecting. After that I will either go to Reno for the WPT or Monte Carlo for the EPT finals. Oh, in May I am headlining the first ever poker festival in South Africa, first one in Africa. So Kenna James and I are doing that. A lot of stuff to do before that in May, but that is a cool project I have coming up.