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Poker News | People in Poker | Poker Interviews

The Round Table – Peter Neff – Number 1 Player

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Peter Neff has only been playing poker full time for a couple years and he has made more than a name for himself. He’s cashed for almost $1.5 million dollars online and live and recently took 36th at the 2008 WSOP Main Event. You can find him playing online in the biggest tournaments under the moniker number1pen.

KL: How did you get involved with poker?

Peter:
I originally started in high school with friends playing home games and stuff like that. From there I put money online and tried that out. I have been playing for about five years now.

KL: Where do you play?

Peter:
I play on all the different sites. I play on PokerStars, Full Tilt , Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet. I used to play on all the other sites too, Paradise Poker and Party Poker. I had all my money spread out on all the different sites.

KL: What do you usually play?

Peter:
I play 90% multi-table tournaments. I used to play sit-n-go’s and cash games a lot and I guess I have been in a tournament phase. I have been playing tournaments pretty regularly for about two and a half years now.

KL: There are a lot of people struggling to succeed in online poker and you have obviously found a way to do it. What combination of things do you think brings you to be able to do that?

Peter:
I have always been pretty good at math; that was my strongest subject throughout high school. I always had a knack for it and did really well. I also think patience has a lot to do with it. I tell my friends they could do it but they say they don’t have the patience to do it. I guess I do have the patience. It just comes easy for me to be able to take poker seriously and try to make a living out of it.

KL: Do you read books and study the game?

Peter:
I have never read a book or watched a poker video. The only thing that I have ever done that I would consider studying is I used to watch the high stakes cash games online and I would watch players play multi-table tournaments that I thought were really good at the game. I would watch and learn. In the poker videos you are allowed to see the hole cards so watching the high stakes cash game you kind of have to guess what the hole cards are and when you do get to see them you learn something. I guess I had to do it the hard way without knowing everyone’s hole cards.

KL: When did you start playing the live circuit?

Peter:
Right when I turned 21. I actually played the Bahamas when I was 19 and 20. Right after my 21st birthday I played the Borgata tournament and I have been doing it for about a year and a half after I turned 21, just playing as many 10k buy-ins as I could.

KL: Is the Main Event one of your favorite tournaments?

Peter:
Yeah, it’s a great structure. Its 2 hour levels which you hardly ever find in any other tournament. They added a bunch of blinds and different levels to make it a slower tournament. It’s also the biggest prize pool because so many people play in it. The combination of all those things definitely makes it my favorite.

KL: You had a good run at this year’s Main Event. How was it from the start?

Peter:
The first day I was at a really tough table. I sat down and I was with David Benyamine, Roland de Wolfe and tsoprano, they were all at my table and I was like you have to be kidding me. The first table I was just kind of grinding. Roland was playing out of line. There were a couple guys at the table that weren’t as good as us but you couldn’t get too out of line or else those 3 guys were going to pick you off.

The first day was really tough and I was just grinding till I got off that table. I was able to get up to about 29,000 because I had aces against queens with Roland de Wolfe and there was no way he was getting away from it. I was just grinding the first table and then I got moved to another table. As soon as I moved I was able to maneuver around much better and pick my spots much better.

I remember there was one hand where it was a 5 way limped pot and I flopped bottom 2 pair. The flop was like A-5-3 and I was able to get the person all in when I knew they had an ace. The person had A-J, it made perfect sense and I knew they weren’t going to be able to get away from it. I had 5-3 and there are hands like that where I had no business being in the pot but the person limped and let me see a flop and I was able to get all their chips. I was able to get up to about 55,000 after day 1.

KL: Would you say there was 1 specific opponent throughout that you battled against?

Peter:
Oh yeah, that’s easy it was sloppyklod [Chris Klodnicki] he was at my table day 2 and then I was at his table day 5 for about 4-5 hours and then all day on day 6. He was to my left twice and to my left another time. We kept going at each other and couldn’t avoid it. We were just raising and reraising each other. I would honestly say he got the better of me but I think he got the cards to go with it too. He was definitely the toughest opponent throughout the Main Event. We were at the same table for hours and hours.

KL: The Main Event lasts over a week and you play for so long, how do you handle getting so close and then busting short?

Peter:
I wasn’t as disappointed as I thought I would be. I was frustrated because I knew there wasn’t going to be 1 thing that took me out because what I was doing the entire tournament was playing small pot poker. I would check and try to trap people and I wouldn’t necessarily make big value bets because the whole tournament I was playing as many small pots as I could. I tried to avoid being all in. I was only all in once before I got eliminated. I won a coin flip with 8-8 to A-K. That was the only time that I was all in and that was on day 5. I went 4 days without being all in. From doing all that and knowing that it wasn’t going to be 1 big hand I wasn’t too disappointed because leading up to getting eliminated I had queens to aces in a big pot, I lost A-Q to K-10 and I knew that I was going to have to get lucky to win the tournament.

Everyone is going to have to get lucky to win. I got lucky for 5 days and then my luck ran out. I was hitting flop after flop and had aces and kings more than other people. I think I got lucky to get there. It would have been nice to win but I wasn’t too disappointed because I know its part of poker. I won $193,000 and that’s my biggest score and I was very happy about it. There are no complaints; I just know you have to get lucky to win.

KL: What do you have coming up next?

Peter:
I think I am going to go back to playing online for a little bit. The next big live tournament is Legends of Poker and so I think before that I am going to take some time off and play online as much as I can. I have been playing live since April, since the WPT Championship I have been playing straight through. The next month I am going to take a little time off and then play the Legends of Poker in late August.

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