Q&A: Bill Chen

JUNE 6, 2009 - 10:32:41 PM EST   |  

Q&A: Bill Chen
What have you been up to since 2008 World Series of Poker?
I work in finance 10 months out of the year, so I'm mostly doing that. I played in two tournaments to kind of warm-up for this one. The PCA and EPT in Italy. I've played in six tournaments and cashed in one so far.

How many tournaments are planning to play during 2009 WSOP?
 
I played 32 last year. I think I'll play 30 this year, but it depends on how it goes. If I go deep in some then I'm not going to play as many. I'm really looking forward to the HORSE Event this year. Last year I got about 30th out of 200 players. I go up to a million in chips but then Doyle Brunson beat me three hands in a row.

At least you lost to a great right?
 
Yes. Doyle is a great player. He is so sharp given his age.

So are you focusing on other games besides Hold 'em this year?
 
My bracelets are all in Hold 'em but I really like the other games. I just played the 10k Mixed and I think that is a great event. I feel I'm a pretty strong mixed player. A lot of the concepts I have are general poker concepts, but I havn't spent thousands of hours on any one game.

You have already authored one book, can we expect to see any more books by Bill Chen?
 
We are thinking of writing another book but it is going to be much less technical. It will be sort of 100 hands according to Mathematics of Poker. More of how to put the concepts into practice.

I heard that when you were playing in the Bahama's you were working with a personal trainer everyday, are you still doing that?
 
Not here, she couldn't make it out here, but I need to get in shape. She was actually helping me train for a 10 mile race in Philadelphia, which I was able to run in under two hours.

What made you decide to start working out?
 
I was watching Poker After Dark and I thought wow, I know the camera adds ten pounds, but still. But being healthy helps me think clearer and feel a lot better. I've gotten into yoga. I do Bikram yoga a couple of times a week.

Do you find yourself thinking about poker while you are doing yoga?
 
Yes, but you shouldn't think about poker like 'ok I raised under the gun with aces.' But it really helps you center yourself and focus I think. You get perspective so you don't get to caught up in what is happening. A lot of people, I would say, after they lose a hand, not necessarily go on tilt, but they behave badly. They call other players donkeys and idiots. I think in general that is bad.

Are you more of the calm and quiet type at the table?
 
Yes, if someone tries to go at me, I'll say something back. But I think you should be respectful, you are representing the game. What other game is it acceptable to curse somebody out, especially a total stranger. I really think it effects your play.

What's the worst experience you've had at a table with that sort of thing?
 
When someone starts using racial slurs. You hear everything at the poker table. I've heard women player's who say they have heard far worse. You have to have thick skin, but you also help the situation by not letting it bother you.

What is your advice for not letting things like that bother you?
 
You just have to keep things in perspective. You have got to say 'are you kidding me?' Poker players have it pretty good now, so you just have to keep that in mind.

As your career continues in poker, do you plan to work less in finance?
 
In finance I basically do the same thing I do in poker. Finance is just like poker, except the bets are bigger. I'm a quantitative analyst, and those are the guys that some people blame for the economy crash. Finance is just like a bigger game, and sometimes you lose a few billion.

What do you do in Vegas when you are not playing poker?
 
I'm playing poker most of the time. But I'm staying in a house with five other pros, and when were not playing poker we do fun stuff. We just took a Jiu-Jitsu class together, and I try to do as much Bikram yoga as I can. My roomates are threatening to film me. In Bikram you are basically naked, you have little shorts on but you are shirtless. T

hat could make a good YouTube video right?
 
Well there is already a video of me doing a strip tease in Monte Carlo.

Is that your craziest moment yet?
 
I do a lot of crazy things. People don't expect me to 'cause they think 'oh he's just this math geek guy.'

So can we be expecting any crazy showings from you during the WSOP?
 
I don't plan on doing anything crazy, but sometimes it just kind of happens.

 
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