over $4 million in Poker Winnings, David Williams
has become the fastest rising poker star in the
world. Proving he wasn't just lucky in the World
Series of Poker, he followed up his second place
finish with a second at the WPT-Borgata and won
his first major tournament at the 5 Diamond World
David sat down with PokerLizard to discuss
his evolution as a player.
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PokerLizard: How did you first become interested
in Poker? When did you first become serious about
David Williams: I played Magic The Gathering
on the Professional Tour. One day I saw some of
my friends playing Hold’em. I didn’t
know anything about the game but wanted to learn.
We played a little tournament, (limit Hold’em)
and I won. I was hooked. I went home, found the
underground games, and began going immediately.
PokerLizard: In the 2004
WSOP, you finished in 2nd place, winning $3.5
million. How has your life changed since the WSOP?
David Williams: I answer this question a lot.
Besides the money and the small fame, it really
hasn’t changed that much at all. I have
less worries about my future, I was able to take
care of my family and I know everyone will be
ok financially. I still do the same thing each
day. I sleep late, stay up all night and play
poker every day.
PokerLizard: The ESPN
broadcast played up your friendship with Marcel
Luske, how did you two become friends? How has
Marcel helped your poker?
David Williams: I met Marcel a few weeks before
the main event last year through my friend Noah
Boeken. I know him from playing on the Magic tour.
Noah lives with Marcel, they met at the Holland
Casino in Amsterdam, where they live. Noah introduced
us, and I saw what a great player and person he
was. I was fortunate enough to sit at his table
on 4 different occasions at last years WSOP and
after a hand, I would ask him what he had and
why he did what he did in the hand. He is such
a kind person, that he answered and that alone
gave me lots of insight into a great player and
ultimately helped me get to the finals.
PokerLizard: You followed up your success at
the WSOP with a 2nd Place Finish at the
WPT Borgata Open in Atlantic City and won
the $1,500 Limit Hold’em event at the Five
Diamond World Poker Classic. How satisfying was
it to prove to the poker community and public
that you have skills and weren’t just lucky
at the WSOP?
David Williams: It was very satisfying. The Borgata
runner up finish wasn’t quite enough in
my eyes. I was proud, but felt that I still didn’t
get far enough. I really felt that I played the
best heads up, and made one mistake. Winning the
Limit event at the Bellagio actually felt the
best. I was so happy to finally have a 1st place.
Nothing compares to being the last man standing
in a tournament, no matter how small.
PokerLizard: Are you going to pursue Poker as
your career or do you see it mostly as a hobby?
What career do you think you would have pursued
if not for your instant wealth?
David Williams: Poker is definitely my career.
I wanted to eventually open my own business of
some sort, and still do, but I have no idea what
kind. I had been playing poker for a living for
a few years already, and would have continued
it even when I finished school.
PokerLizard: Which is your favorite Poker game
to play and why (Tourney vs Cash Game/Hold’em
vs Omaha etc…)?
David Williams: I really prefer tournaments over
cash games. You can’t “win”
a cash game. There is no ending to it, you just
play until you are ready to stop. Because of this
, I never stop which is bad for my results. There
is an ultimate goal in tournaments, which is what
I prefer. I know what I am shooting for exactly.
My favorite tournament game is NL Hold’em,
but for cash games, I love Stud Hi/lo. I am not
sure why, I just have so much fun playing it.
PokerLizard: You qualified for the WSOP through
an online tourney on Pokerstars.com,
How difficult was it to qualify online? As a starving
college student, did you ever consider selling
David Williams: It was very hard for me to win
my seat online last year. I kept getting close,
like one spot away, and “dropping the ball”.
I think I was putting too much pressure on me.
I was never a “starving” college student.
I was going to pay the 10k last year and play
whether I won a seat online or not.
PokerLizard: How often do you play online? Does
your style of play vary significantly from your
live action play? What do you like about the online
David Williams: With the WSOP going on currently,
I don’t have much time at all to play online.
When it is not going on, I play on www.bodog.com
daily. I never seem to win online though, accept
in tournaments. I think my brain doesn’t
treat the money like it’s real, and I just
give it away. I have to work on tightening up
PokerLizard: Which Poker Books/Software have
you found to be the most beneficial?
David Williams: I am not a big fan/supporter
of traditional poker books and software. Although
I highly recommend Barry Greenstein’s new
book Ace On The River. It is one of the best poker
books I’ve seen.
PokerLizard: At the WSOP it seemed that you made
your betting decisions much more quickly than
other players, it reminds me of “speed”
chess players who need to have all of their opponents
moves thought out ahead of time and react quickly,
is that an accurate analogy? And do you think
this style helps to keep your opponents off balance?
David Williams: Acting fast is just something
I do. I never though about it or even noticed
it until I saw myself on TV. I have tried to slow
down lately, because I think I may make more mistakes
that way. Most of the time, I come to the same
conclusion as I initially had, but I think I may
catch something I might have missed otherwise.
PokerLizard: How strange is it to be recognized
out in public now? Who gets recognized from the
WSOP broadcasts more, You or your mom?
David Williams: I think it’s pretty cool.
I kinda always wanted to be famous, and even though
it’s not full blown celebrity status, it
feels good to have people recognize you. I am
not sure how much my mom gets recognized, I am
sure it’s a lot, but when we are together,
people really notice us.
PokerLizard: Other than becoming a millionaire,
What is the coolest thing you’ve done as
a result of your WSOP finish?
David Williams: Surprisingly, not much. I moved
to Vegas, although I haven’t found a house
yet. I play tournaments every week, so I haven’t
really had time to do much yet.
PokerLizard: Has winning that kind of money created
any problems for you? Anyone ask you to stake
David Williams:“Mo Money, Mo Problems”.
That’s what Biggie said, and yes it’s
true. A lot of people have changed since the WSOP,
and have started to ask or hint at needing things.
It’s really sad, but you learn who the true
friends are rather quickly. I get the stake request
a lot, but have a policy to be fair, and say no
to everyone. You do it for one person, and everyone
finds out, and thinks you have something against
them if you say no to them.
PokerLizard: How different is this years WSOP
for you? Is there any sense of pressure to perform
since you’re well known?
David Williams: The only pressure I feel is from
myself. I think that is why my results haven’t
been good at this years WSOP. I am in some weird
“funk” and can’t get things
going. I feel that I am playing well, but I am
doing something wrong I am sure. There is no other
explanation for my poor performance at this years
PokerLizard: Do you enjoy playing in the made
for TV events (Poker Royale etc…) or do
you see them more as a marketing tool?
David Williams: Both. I enjoy them, but they
are a marketing tool. I always try and have a
lot of fun on those shows, and don’t really
care as much about winning. As long as I come
across good on TV, I am happy.
PokerLizard: Do you think the WSOP main event
should stay at $10,000 or be increased to limit
David Williams: I am happy either way. If not
for the large field, I wouldn’t be where
I am today. I like high buyin tournaments also.
It doesn’t really matter to me.
PokerLizard: What advice would you give a young
player interested in turning pro?
David Williams: Don’t. It’s not really
something you decide to do, it just happens to
you. You end up making more playing poker, than
whatever else you have going on, and you phase
the rest out. That’s how it happened to
PokerLizard: Do the online railbirds ever get
on your nerves? When I played at your table on
Bodog the trash talk was pretty much non-stop
from people who never “sat down” at
David Williams: Nah. I know how people get when
they are behind a computer. I laugh at it mostly.
I am pretty thankful to be where I am, and a few
words can’t make me upset.
PokerLizard: You and Daniel Negreanu are “friends”
or at least “friendly”, what did you
think when he slow rolled those aces during the
WPT Borgata? Has he apologized for “showing
you up”, so to speak?
David Williams: We are definitely friends, and
I don’t think he really slow rolled me,
or intended to. I said it there, just to bust
his chops, and he did take his time, but I think
he was just being cautious, and was also surprised
when he realized he was about to win. I don’t
feel there is any apology necessary.
PokerLizard: Obligatory PokerLizard Question:
If you were Matt Damon in “Rounders”
how long would it have taken you to kick your
girlfriend to the curb and get with Famke Janssen?
David Williams: Famke was way hotter, and seemed
like she was “ready” , but I don’t
know how long it would have taken me. I have a
hard time dealing with problems, I just sorta
let them sit there and sort themselves out. So
I would probably want to kick the girlfriend to
the curb, but just would slowroll myself.
Thanks for your time and we wish you continued
success, see you at Bodog. You can find David
playing $3/$6 No-Limit Hold'em at the David Williams
table on Bodog.com. You can also check out his
personal website DavidWilliamsPoker.com he has
an excellent blog.
this and other interviews in the Lizard Lounge
Check Out All The Lizard Interviews