As the wheels of the poker circus roll ever closer to the PartyPoker Premier League, it’s only natural that our thoughts will float back to last year. It proved to be one of the most exciting shows in the history of the game and it had everything to do with the calibre of the competition. One of the online qualifiers – a player who won a $125,000 seat for a pittance – was the 24-year old Canadian Ben Wilinofsky.
We caught up with NeverScaredB to find out what he has been up to one year after his Premier League debut.
What does your typical schedule look like?
I wake up around 9am, have a shower, take my dog for a quick walk around the block so he doesn’t go crazy and start playing at 10am. I play on all of the bigger sites including PartyPoker and also a few of the lesser known European sites as well. I will play pretty much anything $50 and over. The number of tables largely depends on my mood, but I rarely get above eight these days. I generally play Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and then occasionally Fridays and Saturdays and take Weds Thurs off.
What’s your view on mass multi-tabling?
I am happy playing between eight and ten tables on a non-Sunday. When I started playing I played SNG and I would 24 table the 45 & 180-man’s. Since moving to tournaments it has been a gradual scaling back to where I am more comfortable playing e.g. 8 -12 table range; but I will go up to 18 tables on a Sunday. I started to cut out some of the lower value tournaments in favour of having more energy and focus throughout the day. Any less than 8-10 tables my focus tends to wander and once I get over 12, it takes a lot more of my energy to do so.
I think mass multi-tabling is a really tough skill to acquire both neurologically and mentally. There are a lot of poker players who use substances to help them deal with it, both during and afterwards. A lot of players abuse alcohol or weed. Anything to help them come down. Your brain gets so fired up at the end of a Sunday. I commonly have trouble sleeping from being so wired by the end of the day and feel blown out mentally. It is a tremendous amount of processing to do in a tremendously compressed amount of time, and as such it must be really stressful on your neurological system. I respect people who can do it every day, for hours on end and do it well. I think it is a really tough skill to build, but it’s not something I would look to do myself again because I don’t think it is healthy for me.
What is your set up like?
I have a 24-inch Samsung monitor that I have had for years. I run it through my laptop and then when I get down to fewer tables I will go down to just the laptop, and move around a bit so I don’t get too zoned out. I recently got a wireless mouse and I find it is helping my wrists, as they don’t hurt like they used to. I am trying to get into the process of adjusting to playing with a HUD. It’s not something that I have really done before and I think it is a great source of information. It seems wasteful for me not to use all the resources available.
Has this been a successful week online?
I have won a couple of tournaments this week, and have been playing well for a couple of weeks now. I did have a blow out in the Super Tuesday that I was not very happy about, and took some much-needed deep breaths. I took a couple of days away and when I came back I won a few tournaments, including the $500 on PartyPoker on Sunday. So it’s been a good week from both the running well and playing well perspective, and I am much happier with that than when I was building giant stacks and they were going nowhere.
Do you ever just quit early due to a setback like the Super Tuesday for example?
I have walked away from tables still running but it has been more anxiety than a lack of focus that can lead to bad play. It’s been more health related than it has been just not feeling like it. I generally enjoy playing poker, there are times when I have not been feeling it and things don’t go well and I just don’t feel in the zone and I have decided to cut back. I think it’s a better long-term strategy than forcing myself to play.
Coming Up In Part 2
In Part Two, Ben Wilinofsky talks more poker, including his biggest learning point of the week.