Full-Ring Friends Series: GoMukYaSelf

How did you get started in poker?
Started playing poker just like everyone else, in the dorm, drinking beers and playing $5 and $10 tournaments with my friends back in ’04. A few of the other guys were doing decent online (who wasn’t in those days) so I decided to give it a shot and deposited $50 on Stars to play SNGs. I busted that and around 10-15 more $50 deposits mostly by playing way underrolled ($100 SNGs with little understanding of ICM, etc.) and eventually I decided that Stars must be rigged. I took my last $11 on Stars and entered into some huge 1500 person donkament and spun my $11 into $1500 by taking it down ($1200 if you take into account the $300 I spent at the bar that night). I was hooked. I started taking BRM more seriously and have not made a deposit on Stars since, other than to get a bonus.

Sophomore year some friends told me about this glorious place called PartyPoker where the players were (gasp!) even worse than on Stars. One Friday afternoon I really had the itch and deposited $300 on Party. I basically played for 60 hours straight and by the time I had to go to class on Monday I had over $20,000 in my account. The rest, as they say, is history. Those were the days, when poker was actually fun. I was so involved in school and had so little free time that I genuinely looked forward to being able to play. Party had this great tournament back in the day, a $33 rebuy that started at like 11pm. You could rebuy anytime you were all-in so the average person was in for $300 or so. At one point, I cashed this tournament 9 times in a row. I would bust around 4am, take a quick nap, and wake up for class at 7:30. Rinse, repeat. F the UIGEA =/

What led you to full-ring over other variations of the game?
In November of my senior year, I got my two five figure scores on Stars and had built up a nice bankroll. I decided that I had pretty much mastered tournaments (laughable, I know) and was ready for a new challenge. I had never played in a cash game online before, so I decided to give them a shot. I immediately started 12 tabling 1/2 FR on Stars. Full ring was the logical choice for me because I was used to the dynamics of 9 handed poker. Also, in my limited experience in 6 max I was a complete spewtard and I thought I could play a much more disciplined game at FR. Even today I run at an average of 40/30 in 6 handed games so not much improvement in this area I am sad to say =/. It took me a couple weeks to adjust to playing with deep stacks and develop pot control skills, but after that I was pulling in a steady five figures every month in my spare time.

Talk about your win in the Sunday Million.
Basically, I played lights out, mistake free poker and ran really well. I was able to accumulate a huge chip stack early on in the tournament and just pounded my opponents into the ground through raw aggression. As we got deep, I stayed away from major confrontation and picked up small pots fairly risk-free. I actually got 17th the very next week, which could have been pretty historic since both fields were in excess of 5000 people. [funny story: really blew up in this one… my friend was over sweating and I was yelling instructions to him since I had to take a serious #2 and had no laptop at the time. He says that button has raised and I have 45o in the BB and before I can process the information I have already told him to shove. I tell him to stop, I was just kidding, but it was too late. The satty fish times all the way down to 1 second and calls with AQ… oops]

I was already playing 2/4NL at the time of the tournament so it did not really help me move up in limits, but it was obviously awesome as my bankroll doubled overnight. I will tell you the truth though, it doesn’t feel nearly as good as you expect it to. I had gone to bed many times just wishing I could somehow win the Million so that all my wildest dreams could come true, but after the adrenaline wore off I felt exactly the same as I did the day before. Food still tasted the same and I wasn’t having rampant threesomes with Italian twins in a giant pool filled with money like in my dream. “This is it?” I thought to myself. If anything, winning the Million made me disappointed. It is disappointing to realize that in all likelihood you have reached the pinnacle of your poker career and it is not 1/100 as fulfilling as you pictured it would be.

What is behind the name GoMukYaSelf?
Pretty self-explanatory. Just a simple play on words that I thought was fun. It is good because I am easily recognizable but it is bad for the same reason, not to mention having to hear the same jokes from fish over and over. If I could go back, I probably should have chosen a random fish name like KILLER456 or something.

Poker and non-poker goals for 2009?
My goal coming into 2009 was to make $500k in cash games, but I am not too concerned with it because winnings are so volume dependent and I have no idea what I will be doing tomorrow, much less months down the line. My main career goal is to be successful in consumer advertising, so I guess my non-poker goal would be to continue to set myself up for that, so when the well dries up or I no longer enjoy poker I can hit the ground running.

Have you ever been coached?
Yes, I got a really respected coach a few months ago mostly just to see what all the hype was about. It was very helpful to get a fresh perspective on some of the plays that I somewhat took for granted as standard. I have recently gotten into coaching students myself and I am really enjoying it. It feels good to help people get better and it is a nice ego boost to see their graphs head skyward in the week after I coach them =)

What are the major poker epiphanies you’ve had to get you to the point of solid, winning poker?
No one ever has anything.
Push them until they fear you. And then push them more.
Figure out what your opponents are trying to get you to do… and then do the opposite.
No one calls their way to victory.
Poker is just like chess… always be one move ahead of your opponents.

What are some of your interests outside of poker?
I love going out and meeting people – just being spontaneous in general. I’m extremely competitive so any sport/game/challenge/etc is right up my alley. I’m a big movie buff, I’ve seen just about every mobster/conspiracy/heist movie that is out there. I also read a ton, right now my main topic of interest is behavioral economics. People are really fascinating.

What sports teams do you follow?
Anything Cleveland or Ohio State.

What are the best and worst aspects of being a poker player?
Best: daily freedom, opportunity to travel
Worst: can be very stressful/frustrating at times, public perception of poker as a “career choice”, harder to maintain active social life

What do your family (both immediate and extended) think of your poker playing?
It has been very interesting. My parents still do not fully understand what is going on (They still ask me “but how much did you lose?”) but they trust me and support me 100%. I get asked all the time by extended family and friends in the workforce “how is the job search going?” and I usually don’t have the heart to tell them that I haven’t been looking. Most of my good friends are so impressed by it and brag that they know me all the time but their comment is always “you are so lucky” and it is hard to get them to understand all of the hard work and dedication it took to get where I am now.

What kind of reactions do you get from people outside of poker when you tell them that you play? What are some of the funniest, ill-conceived, tilt inducing and fishiest responses that you get?

*at a party*
Friend: Hey (dude), this is Chris, the poker guy I was telling you about.
Dude: What’s up bro. So where do you play?
Me: Pokerstars.
Dude: Cool. I used to play there until I figured it out was rigged. Do you ever play for real money?
Me: Uh… yeah. I play for a living.
Dude: That must be awesome! You are so lucky! Do you ever play with DonkamentFish34? He wins like every tournament he plays.
Me: Uh… no sorry I play cash games.
Dude: Nice. I was playing $0.05/$0.10 with my friends one time and I was dealt the pocket AA…

Quick Quiz – Of All 2+2 $400nl+ full-ring regulars

Best avatar?
plyboy_binny’s fake bronze star avatar is so awesome. I wish I would have thought of that first.

Best strategy poster?
People post strategy on 2+2?????

Best trash talker?
Deldar182. Kid is a prodigy.

Best 24-tabler?
Kelistaan. If I played the kinda volume he has played for as long as he has, I would be surrounded by padded walls.

Ranka <3

rytoast… dude is a few chips short of a full stack if you know what i’m sayin

Most under-rated?
thenutspt has come a long way in a short time imo

Most over-rated?
Probably me, to be perfectly honest.

Who have you met in real life?
from the 2+2 crowd… Pterodactyl, SetzerMason, Kos, srkbigdaddy, Coordi, KakiTee, and the infamous WhiteWhale.

Most Tilty?
Among the solid regulars, fantasticcow/AGx19 probably

Least Tilty?
Pterodactyl6. Dude just plays solid, mistake-free poker.

Best table selection?

Best short stacker(lol)?
I plead the filth.

About the Author: Andrew Ferguson

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