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Poker News | People in Poker | Poker Interviews

The Round Table – Yuval ‘yuvee04’ Bronshtein - By the Numbers

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He made records when he won two Full Tilt FTOPS events, playing 2 different games, all in 1 day. This now three time FTOPS champ is setting goals for future successes both online and live.

KL: Where are you from?

I was born in Israel and I moved to Atlanta at age 5. I grew up there and then went to the College of Charleston for two years and then I transferred to the University of Maryland. I went there for my whole junior year and had good grades and then I decided to leave school for poker a week into my senior year.

KL: And your parents reacted…

They weren’t happy, of course. My parents are very stereotypical Jewish parents. My whole childhood they told me they wanted me to be a lawyer. Then when I was in school I was studying accounting and they were happy with that. They are happy for me that I am doing really well but they want me to do something that helps society more and is more productive. They just want me to do more than just play poker. But they are happy for me and they are supportive. Every time I do well in a tournament I tell my parents and they are happy and congratulate me. I say to my mom, for example, ‘Mom I won two FTOPS today, I won $177,000.’ She says, ‘Ok great, so now isn’t it time that you go back to school and get your degree and get a job?’ I always tell her I have to win a bracelet before I even consider going back to school.
KL: What was your first WSOP?

I’m 24 now; it was when I was 22 years old. It was the summer of 2006. I only played the Main Event because I didn’t have a bankroll and I won a seat online. The summer of 2007 I came to Vegas with a decent bankroll, enough to buy into the tournaments I wanted to, and that was when I got 3rd place in one of the events. The next day after that I played another tournament and I was chip leader of that one at dinner break but I ended up getting 30-something. That event that I got 3rd, I really thought I deserved to win it. I was really short stacked right when it got into the money and by the end of day 1 I ended up 3rd place in chips. Day 2 I took the chip lead the first hour of the day and held onto it all of day 2.

During the final table I played my A-game and held onto the chip lead the whole way. There were 3 players left and I had 1.2 million, the other 2 guys had about 800,000. Basically the hand that screwed me…the guy that ended up winning the bracelet moved all in on me on a Q-10-8 flop with A-9 and I had K-Q and instacalled him and he rivered an ace on me. The very next hand I went all in with pocket sixes and he called me with A-10 and he made broadway. I was completely heartbroken and it’s going to haunt me until I win a bracelet. That was my 2nd summer playing the WSOP and this summer was my 3rd.

KL: You said you went there with a decent bankroll, what is that?

It was decent for me; a lot of poker players probably wouldn’t consider it that much. At the time I was 23 years old and I had maybe about $200,000 to my name so I was pretty happy with that.

KL: Even though you took 3rd at the WSOP you had a little consolation in the form of double FTOPS wins in the same day this year.

I am really proud of that, but I would definitely trade all of my FTOPS titles for 1 WSOP bracelet! It was great, though. The FTOPS events are some of the strongest fields in the world, excluding WSOP events. All the Full Tilt pros and all the major online players play in the FTOPS so I am definitely very proud of that.

KL: Who would you say was your toughest opponent throughout the events?

Honestly I can’t really think of any. I was just focused on my play and my cards. I didn’t even look around to see who my opponents were, honestly. Even at the final tables. When I was in London for WSOPE several people came up to me and told me, oh I played with you. One guy told me he was at my H.O.R.S.E. final table and he told me his screen name and honestly I didn’t even remember him or his screen name. I was just paying attention to the cards. I was really focused.
KL: When did you realize you could win both?

When I was at the final table I said to myself, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m not going to let it slip away. I just really wanted to play my best and I think I did.

KL: After something like that what are other future goals?

The number 1 goal is to win a bracelet. I know I am going to win one soon and I expect to win 5,10, 15 bracelets during my career. I think when I win my first bracelet it’s going to be probably the greatest feeling of my life to date. It’s also going to make it easier to win more bracelets after that. That’s my number 1 goal right now, to win a bracelet. I just can’t wait to go to Las Vegas this summer and hopefully do it.

KL: You are very confident; do you think that helps you at the tables?

I think you have to be confident to be a successful poker player. This might sound arrogant, but anytime I’m at any poker table I think I’m the best player at the table and I’m going to outplay everybody. Whether that’s true or not I think that really helps me play my cards confidently and aggressively. Aggression is very important in poker and when you expect to win, I think the other players at the table see that in you and they get kind of intimidated and it makes them play more passively. So yeah, I am very confident and I think it’s very important for any successful poker player to be that way.
KL: Would you count aggression into your general style, both live and online?

Yeah, everyone knows me as a very aggressive, unpredictable player. I think it’s one of my strengths. I am really good at reading people and I go with my reads. It enables me to win a lot of pots when I don’t have the best cards.

KL: What do you think about the concept that no limit is a dying game?

I have to say I agree with that. I used to play pretty much only no limit hold ‘em and I did pretty well at it but then ever since I decided that my goal is to win a bracelet I decided it would be better to focus on other games because right now everyone plays no limit hold ‘em and your average no limit hold ‘em player is really good. So that makes it very hard to win first place in a tournament. You have to play the best and you also have to have the cards go your way. You have to get lucky because at the end of the tournament you are just going to be putting your money in on coinflips a lot and it’s important to play well and get lucky.

I think in other games, especially the fixed limit games, H.O.R.S.E., stud hi/lo, and also, although it’s not fixed limit, Omaha hi, those are games where you can control where you go in those tournaments. I think that’s why I have had a lot of success in those tournaments. There isn’t that much of a luck factor and there is a better chance of winning a bracelet in one of those events. Being good at one of those games gives you a better edge over the field than being good at no limit hold ‘em.

KL: What do you think you would be doing if you weren’t playing poker?

I would probably be an accountant or maybe some kind of entrepreneur.  

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