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Poker News | People in Poker | Poker Superstars

The Round Table – Brandon Cantu on Taking Down Bay 101

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He already had a bracelet, a million dollars in live cashes, thousands in online cashes and on March 14th 2008 he added a World Poker Tour title to that mix, along with a cool million dollar pay out. 26 year-old Brandon Cantu is high off of his recent win up in San Jose and isn’t letting off the gas anytime soon.

KL: Do you always play bay 101?

Brandon:
No, this was actually my very time first time.

KL: Why did you play this tournament?

Brandon:
I am on a mission for 2008. This year I made a New Year’s Resolution that I was going to completely refocus my game. By sticking with this Resolution, I knew that I was going to put myself in a position to win a major tournament this year. I have been taking all of my tournaments very seriously, and I am going after that coveted Player of the Year honor.

KL: What are your thoughts on the bounties and the end of the day chip leader
$10,000 bonuses?

Brandon:
I just like the tournament in general. I enjoy how it is so diverse from other tournaments and it suddenly became my favorite tournament of the year.

KL: Does it change game play at all?

Brandon:
Yes, especially when I had a lot of chips and the Bounties had low chip stacks. I would call their all ins with by far the worst hand, because for me, it was worth it to gamble for the $5000 bounty. Also, it didn’t hurt my chip stack detrimentally.

KL: What were crucial hands for you the first day to give you the chip lead?

Brandon:
This was one of the most memorable hands, and biggest turning points in day one. I had John Juanda to my left in the small blind and I picked up 3-3 on the button. It folded around to me and I raised about 3 times the blind. Juanda thought about it for a minute, and re-popped me and he had a large chip stack as well. The big blind folded and it came around to me, and I after thinking it through, I figured he was trying to make a battle of the blinds move and so I pushed all in. He went into the tank, and finally called with A-K. I was honestly surprised he was that strong, but my 3’s held up to win the biggest pot of the day.

KL: Which day was the toughest for you?

Brandon:
Day 2 was the toughest as I found myself with so many chips. We were still in the early stages of the tournament and I wasn’t quite exactly sure how to play things out. I ended up making one really big error on a hand that I shouldn’t have initially been involved in. I felt I had to be really patient and it was a very long day down to 36.

KL: Who was your toughest opponent throughout the tournament?

Brandon:
No question, it was Steve Sung, who ended up finishing second. I played with him from 18 players on down, and he is a very solid opponent.

KL: Do you like the six handed play?

Brandon:
I love it! All six handed tournaments are my favorite and I actually wish there was four handed tournaments.

KL: Does this give you any advantage for your style of play?

Brandon:
Yes, because you can play a more wide range of hands, and that definitely benefits me.

KL: Tell me about the final table. How much does it help to come into it with a chip lead? Does it give extra confidence?

Brandon:
It’s a HUGE advantage in WPT’s to have the chip lead with the prize pool structured so top-heavy. With the shorter stacks playing to move up in the money I feel in control and comfortable controlling the pace of the game.

KL: Any crucial action at final table?

Brandon:
I would say the biggest hand of the entire final table was with myself and Mike Baker, who at that time, had the 2nd largest chip stack. Mike raised under the gun, and I picked up pocket aces and subsequently re-raised him. He thought about, and put in a 3rd raise. I took my time and eventually put in a 4th raise, so the pot was obviously huge. He then went into the tank and eventually flat called. The flop came out Q high with two diamonds and he checked and I then pushed all in. Again, he went into the tank for some time and finally called and showed K-3 of diamonds, the last kind of hand anybody thought he would turn over. My pocket aces held up and my chip lead became that much more dominant.

KL: That was a tough final table. Did you do anything to prepare?

Brandon:
I just tried to stay relaxed and not over think things.

KL: How did you celebrate?

Brandon:
After everything was said and done, it was pretty late. My friends and family and I went into the Casino bar and did a little celebrating, and then we all just spent time together in one of the rooms. It grew late very fast and things tend to shut down in San Jose, versus being in Las Vegas. I was happy, though, to have an intimate gathering amongst those closeset to me.

KL: What are your future plans?

Brandon:
Playing every tournament I possibly can right now. I am definitely going to travel to Reno and play in the upcoming WPT event later this month. Like I said, I’m on a mission. I want to remain focused and I am eager to play as much as possible.

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