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Steve Badger interview - Part 2: Poker Career

In 1999 you won the "Omaha 8 or better" event in the World Series of Poker, earning you $185,000 and the much coveted World Series bracelet.

Q: Looking back at your poker career, what do you consider your three best accomplishments and why?

A: In 1999 I won three of the four largest Omaha tournaments offered that year, plus two others. People tend to think a World Series bracelet would be a prime accomplishment, but winning those four other events that year was much more satisfying and difficult. Adding the WSOP win too makes it all the better. One thing I get a kick out of is I won a Legends of Poker Omaha tournament in 1995, 1997, and 1999. In '95 it was a $300 (with one rebuy event). In '97, it was the $500 event. In '99 it was the $1000 event. The darn Bicycle Casino though didn't have a $1500 event in 2001 so my streak had to come to an end.

Mostly though I don't consider winning tournaments as all that significant of an accomplishment. My most significant accomplishments are having encouraged myself to improve as a player over time, not going on tilt for even one hand in over a decade, and also to have made a career out of poker starting with no bankroll ($100 literally). Being a winning poker player when you have a deep bankroll is frankly not hard. A lot of successful players simply could never build a career from a small bankroll. It's much more challenging than being a day in and day out winner, or winning a tournament one day.

Q: Is it true that you don't play much poker anymore nowadays? If so, why and do you intend to start playing more again in the future? Are you going to play in the WSoP this year?

A: I seldom play anymore. Poker was and is just a job to me. Doing the website stuff is a lot more fun for me, and the commute is shorter. For the foreseeable future I plan on just playing the larger Omaha events in Los Angeles and at the World Series, maybe a few other events too.

Q: Omaha HiLo is your most successful game. What are the key differences between Omaha and Texas Hold'em, and can these explain why you are so successful at the former as opposed to the latter?

A: In my first seven years of tournament poker I finished in the money at almost exactly the same percentage in Omaha as Texas Hold'em. And, I would have considered myself a better Hold'em player than Omaha. However that isn't very important.

The important thing is most players play Omaha far, far, far worse than they play Hold'em, which leads to consistently higher returns. So I focused on Omaha. Also, Hold'em tournaments are boring to me. Limit Hold'em is a great ring game, but a lousy tournament. No Limit is the opposite, but it just bores me to tears. Hold'em is a game of small edges, where skill best shows itself over time. No Limit Hold'em tournaments have coin flip after coin flip. Snore. On the other hand, manipulating small edges in Limit Hold'em ring games, and pouncing on deep stack advantages in No Limit ring games, that is where skill really kicks in.

Omaha tournaments on the other hand are all about thinking on your feet, getting opponents drawing dead and switching gears. Coin flip confrontations seldom occur, while player and betting manipulation is highly important.

Continue with Part 3 of this interview: General Poker questions

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