Joe Cassidy is one of the younger players on the circuit and has been called one of the best no limit players by the top pros. He has cashed for just under a million dollars in tournaments in the past few years, but his real focus is on the live games. Joe discusses how he started playing, and his involvement in the world of high stakes cash games.
KL: How did you get into poker?
Joe: I was playing in college on the weekends. The first time I played my uncle took me to an Indian casino in Colorado. I went back the very next day, and he had one of David Sklansky's books I read it, went back the next day and I had my fake ID with me. I was like 18 years old and I got arrested the 2nd day I played poker but I won like $200 before I got arrested. Then, my whole next semester in college was spent pretty much on the weekends driving to Atlantic City from Washington DC, playing on weekends and neglecting schoolwork basically.
KL: What do you think it was that made you good at the game?
Joe: I kind of learned to approach it academically, like I said my uncle always taught me to gamble with an edge. I used to play in little home dice games with him when I was in high school and he would always teach me the odds of a certain number coming up before a seven, or a seven coming up before another number. He would teach me what the proper odds were to bet on a certain number. With that kind of perspective I guess I always approached gambling as something to be done as a moneymaking proposition, not a way to have fun, addiction, nothing like that. And I don't have the type of personality that I get beaten down when I loose or overly excited when I when. I think I am always on an even keel, which I think is important.
KL: Since he taught you proper betting on dice do you play any other casino games besides poker?
Joe: Yeah, to screw around. I don't really play anything really regularly. Like I said I have always liked having an edge when I gamble and when you play in the pit you don't really have an edge, unless you are counting cards in blackjack, which to me is way too tedious. When I play, I do count a little bit, but when I play I am usually drinking and having fun, so I'm easily distracted, but I try to vary my bets a little bit based on the count.
KL: What are you most proud of?
Joe: Probably the respect of the people I respect, most of the people who I think are great players have some esteem for my ability. I think that probably means more to me than any tournament or any particular success that I have had.
KL: What are your thoughts on Daniel Negreanu saying you were one of the best no limit players?
Joe: Yeah, he said that awhile ago and if you asked him now I don't know if he would say the same thing! I really haven't had any good results in no limit tournaments, so it is really nice to hear that from someone like him. Whatever, I guess maybe my results haven't really validated what he said.
KL: Do you think your strength is in cash games over tournaments?
Joe: Yes, for sure. I have always been a pretty successful cash game player. It is hard for me to focus for long periods of time in tournaments. I just kind of lose sight of it because I could be playing a live game for the money right then and the stakes that I play are quite a bit larger than most of the tournaments that I could enter.
KL: What stakes do you play cash games?
Joe: Lately I have been playing like 1000/2000 a lot on the internet. When I play live I usually play 400/800 and higher.
KL: What is the difference of the caliber of players online versus live? You play a lower limit live is that because of the players?
Joe: I would actually like to play higher live games, but when you are playing on the internet it is faster so there is more money being exchanged per the limit you are playing. If you are playing 1000/2000 on the internet it actually plays pretty similarly to 2000/4000 live game. There really aren't very many live games between the 1000/2000 limit and 2000/4000 because a lot of the guys are playing 3000/6000 or 4000/8000 and a lot of the times I am not that comfortable with the mix of games they are playing in the live games at that limit.
KL: Who do you think are some of the best online high stakes players?
Joe: I guess I would say Patrik Antonius, it depends on the game a lot also. Overall I would say Patrik and Phil Ivey. David Benyamine also plays really well online. If you are talking about specialists, I forgot his real name but his online name is ‘sbrugby' (Brian Townsend) he's a really good no limit hold'em player online, but he doesn't really venture into the mixed games that I play in.
KL: Which do you think is your best game and which is your favorite game to play?
Joe: I think limit hold'em is my best game. My favorite game to play kind of depends; I like no limit hold'em and limit hold'em.
KL: When you play online where do you usually play?
Joe: FullTilt Poker and PokerStars.
KL: What are your thoughts on the UIGEA?
Joe: I obviously hate it. I think that it's a law that was tacked onto something that had nothing to do with it. I think that it was enacted pretty sneakily and it's definitely a problem with lobbying. I think that it's wrong that we can have state lotteries and horse racing is permissible online but a game of skill like poker would be deemed just gambling is kind of ridiculous.
KL: What are your plans for the World Series this year?
Joe: I always say I am going to play as many as I can in the beginning, but then I end up getting on a weird sleep schedule and playing live games too late and then deciding to skip some of the smaller tournaments. I plan on playing everything and trying to do it right and get on a good sleep schedule and get up early.
KL: Any WSOP predictions? Field predictions?
Joe: It is going to be interesting to see what happens with the fields this year, there probably won't be as many online qualifications as there has been. I guess we will see what happens. You never know what players are going to do well before the tournament. With these huge fields it could just come down to luck. There could be people like Jeff Madsen or Bill Chen who do well and no one had ever heard of before the tournaments then they pop up and win a couple tournaments each. It seems like there are new people who do well every World Series.
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