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Poker News | People in Poker | Poker Interviews

The Round Table – Travis ‘TravestyFund’ Rice Gets Real

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25 year old Travis Rice is a very well accomplished online and live player. He’s won over $1.1 million live and over $500,000 online.

KL: Give us some background on yourself.

Hi my name is Travis Rice I am currently 25 years old, living in Fort Worth, TX. I grew up in Houston, where I really never played much poker. I played with personal money for my first real time during my sophomore year in the frat house.

We played a $10 to 20 buy-in mixed game. After a few times I realized I was better than everyone and I kept winning. When a friend of mine told me of a “big” game in Austin which was $1/2 no limit about a 30 minute drive away I couldn’t be more excited. We would end up making this drive together twice a week for the next year.

This game was held in an apartment right on the campus of University of Texas. It was comprised of all students, mostly with very secure financial upbringings. I learned a lot from playing there including the inspiration to start my own game.

Soon After, I transferred to a private school in Fort Worth, Texas called TCU. I found an apartment that was good for setting up a game then I bought some clay chips, some chairs, and built a couple of poker tables. After training myself to deal I found other students who needed part time work and trained them to deal. The game was a great success.

Around this time, I was also playing cash games in a couple underground card games in Dallas. I met a few guys who were starting a new game and they invited me to be a part time dealer for them. I accepted and began to deal some 2/5 and 5/10 NL and PL games earning great income and developing contacts.

My college game would still run 2-3 times a week, now without me even having to be there. I met a few younger guys at some games that played mainly online. I never really had any experience online but these guys were intriguing to me because I could see how much better they were than everyone, including me. We all got to be pretty good friends over the next few years. I ended up living with 2 of them; which helped me a lot in my development. I still live with one of them today.

Now a few years later, if you are abreast of the online poker scene, you should recognize the names David Benefield (Raptor) and Mario Silvestri (Pwnasaurus). Pretty solid group without even mentioning wildly successful live player Gavin Griffin, all of us attended TCU around the same time.

I began with one-table tournaments, receiving great coaching from Mario who has always been regarded as one of the top sit n go players around. I was living with David at the time and I would also sit in on some of his sessions and badger him with questions whenever he wasn’t too busy. They were essential to my relatively quick rise in poker along with my intense work ethic. About 2 years later, I am here today without ever having a losing month online, placing 12th in 2007 player of the year race, and head tournament instructor for

KL: What is your greatest skill at the poker table?

I would say I have a very strong psychological edge on almost every opponent I face. Attributes such as endurance, experience, and focus all play a big role in my success as well.
KL: How has playing online helped your game?

Playing online is indisputably the most efficient way to gain experience and learn about the game. Typically, online players will be fundamentally better than live players simply because they have much more experience. There are some live issues that online players transitioning will most definitely have problems with. But, fortunately for me with a big live background I did not have many problems adjusting.

KL: What do you play online, where? What games do you play and what do you think your best game is?

I play at all the US sites, pretty much. In order from most to least played; PokerStars, Full Tilt, Ultimate Bet, Absolute Poker, and Cake Poker. Lately, I play a lot of Multi-table tournaments. As well as cash, 3/6 NL to 25/50 NL, depending on games and how many tables I am playing. I also still play sit-n-go’s, PLO cash, and the step qualifiers. Right now, my best game is probably tournaments. But I still feel profitable in most 5/10 NL 6-max games too. I have the least experience in online cash. I know I am not as good as a lot of the tough online grinders so I try and table select pretty well and I am constantly studying and learning. Keep in mind; I have more respect for cash players than tournament players. In general, they will be fundamentally better poker players because they typically play more deep stack which allows for multi-street action, often rare in tournaments.

KL: What was the transition to live like?

It wasn’t too hard for me to get the hang of the nuances of live tournaments. My 3rd live poker trip was to last year’s Commerce for the LAPC WPT. I played about 10 tournaments while I was there and ended up winning a 1k event. The fields there were so ridiculous it helped me to be way more confident, which is very important in my opinion. I was with a great friend of mine Alan Sass who actually made me go on this trip. Alan and I discuss a lot of poker together and he is probably my favorite person to ask about hands still to this day (tournaments or cash). Funny enough, he ended up winning a Wynn 3k event in the same trip. In our room at the Wynn we had 2 trophies sitting on our mantle.

KL: Tell me about the Aruba tournament.

Aruba was obviously unforgettable for me. Things were not easy though during this tournament. I played day 1 and day 2 below average or short stacked. I started day 2 with the second shortest stack of 3800 with blinds at 200/400 + ante. I remained below average throughout most of the day. I was playing on a very aggressive table and my chip stack was up and down. After being moved to another tough table towards the end of the day I won a huge coin flip TT v AK to put myself in serious contention with about 60 left. When we got down to 36 players we broke to 6-max tables. This is where I began to dominate, virtually maintaining the chip lead until I won. I have a substantial edge the shorter handed we are and playing 6-max is right up my alley with my online cash background.

KL: What are your future poker plans?

I just signed with the largest poker training site in the world, CardRunners. My first video is up now and I will be writing my blog there too, come check it out at! I am also very excited about moving to Vegas for 2 months at the end of May. I will be playing 20+ events this summer. There are 15 of us living in a huge house there. We did the same thing last year and it was, to say the least, one of the best times of my life. I am very excited about this year’s WSOP. I am confident it will be larger than last year, which would be incredible. Last year, I made 2 final tables, so if I could do any better than that I will be very happy.

KL: How do you handle the swings in poker?

I pride myself in handling variance. I tend to take breaks and not play as much when I feel like my confidence isn’t up to status. I also try and live a balanced lifestyle that includes working out 4-5 times a week and traveling to see friends for non-poker related social trips.

KL: If you could change one thing about the game what would it be?

If I could change one thing it would be the US legislature’s naivety in regards to poker. I am hoping they will see the light soon and realize what a great opportunity they could have to regulate this industry. I really want this to happen.

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