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More poker talk with professional player Joel Casper

18 April 2007

My interview with 27-year-old Chicago-based professional poker player Joel Casper continues today with more insight into what it takes to compete successfully:

The Thrifty Gambler: How do you cope with the pressures of the game?

Joel Casper: It helps to be emotionally stable because in this game there's going to be ups and downs. I'm not going to lie to you; I've had days where I've lost a lot of money. It comes with the territory. It takes a strong-willed person to come back from losing a couple of days in a row and be able to keep your head up and start winning again. Some people get really frustrated when they start to lose. It's a vicious circle. They start to play worse and when they play worse they're losing more. That's the kind of thing I try to avoid and I think I've done a pretty good job doing that.

TG: When you're in town, where do you usually play?

JC: I try to play in the No-Limit cash game at Resorts East Chicago two to three times a week, usually anywhere from eight to 16 hours. There are probably 20-30 regulars there. We're friends away from the table but in a game everybody's obviously trying to win. Every once in a while some unknown person will come along who doesn't know what they're doing and will lose a lot of money to the rest of the table, which is the best we regulars can hope for.

TG: Do you ever watch poker on TV?

JC: If I see poker is on TV, many times I'll record it. It's entertaining and kind of neat to see the top pros and how they play their hands. In this game you learn a lot from experience and reading articles and books, but if you pick up one little thing here and there off of what someone did on TV, it helps you develop your own style. I think televised poker has helped a lot of people tweak their games.

TG: How important is it to a poker professional to win a gold bracelet at the World Series of Poker?

JC: Winning a WSOP bracelet is like winning an Oscar, an Emmy or a Grammy. It's a great honor that not too many people can experience. There are a lot of people who have played for years and years in many WSOP tournaments who haven't won a bracelet. It's very difficult. These days some of the fields for the events are 500, 1000, 2000 players strong. I don't expect to win a bracelet. The best I can hope for is to go as far as I can and to make all the correct decisions. In order to win a bracelet you have to have everything go your way for an entire tournament.

TG: Have you had success in past WSOP tournaments and will you be playing this year?

JC: I played in three events last year and was able to cash in one of them. I'll be back this year, but I'm only about 50-50 for the main event. I have a good friend of mine who's getting married during the tournament, so I have to look at my schedule to see if I can do it. But I will definitely be out there to play in a handful of events. I'd really like to figure out a way to play in the main event to see if I can parlay my recent success into something even bigger.

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John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp