Name: Sam Holden
Age:  22
Hometown:  Canterbury, Sussex, Great Britain
Seat: 6
Chip Count:  12,375,000 (ranks 9th)
Profession:  Professional Poker Player
Years Attended WSOP:  1 (first year)

Question:  Please tell us a little bit about yourself, Sam.
Holden:  I grew up near a place called Eastbourne in Sussex, in the UK.  I did the usual stuff.  I went to school there and then I went to college.  In England, you then go to the university.  I went to the University of Kent, which is in Canterbury, which is where I now live.  I’ve lived there for four years now.  I graduated from Kent with a degree in forensic science in July 2010.  Since then, I have been playing poker full-time.  I played poker part-time while I was attending the university.  I sort of built my way up this year and managed to play in the World Series of Poker, and managed to make the November Nine, which is incredible.

Question:  So, your previous career goal was to work in forensics, such as a crime lab?
Holden:  Sort of.  I was always very good at math and science.  I considered going after a chemistry degree, but that seemed a little boring to me.  So, I wanted to get something more interesting.  I ended up completing a degree in forensic science.

Question:  Do you expect to eventually work in forensics or something like that, someday?
Holden:  Maybe one day I’ll go back.  I think now if I went into a career outside of poker it would be perhaps something in finance or real estate and property.  I wouldn’t go into forensic science.  I enjoyed getting my degree.  But it’s very much a nine to five job and very different from what I enjoy, that poker allows you to do -- the freedom and being self-employed.

Question:  Tell us about how your family reacted when you told them you would be pursuing a poker career.
Holden:  They sort of got used to the idea while I was attending university because I didn’t have a part-time job.  I would play poker instead.  Then, I said I was going to give it a go for a year and see how it went but about five months into the year, I pretty much made the decision that I was going to play for longer than just a year because it was going so well and I was enjoying the lifestyle.  They could see that I was happy and they can see that I’m doing very well.  Most of their worries tended to do with the success, because they don’t know anything about poker.  They were worried that I would go broke, really.  But they could see I was doing well and paying all my bills and not in financial problems and enjoying life which is certainly the main thing for them.  As long as they see that I’m happy, they’re happy.

Question:  What do you expect the reaction will be back in Canterbury when you return home as one of the November Nine?
Holden:  Oh, they’ve been incredible already through Facebook, through Twitter, through e-mails.  It’s just been outstanding the level of support I’ve had.  My parents are so excited I’m sure.  They’ve never really been able to follow me in a tournament before, because online it’s really difficult for them to follow.  They don’t really understand and I haven’t had any live success really.  Obviously, there is so many media here that they are able to follow me because of that.  I’m sure they’ve been much more nervous and much more excited than I have been the last few days.  All the way through I’ve tried to just stay focused and play poker.

Question:  The U.K. has produced so many outstanding poker players over the years.  Are any of the top pros close to you or have they given any advice?
Holden:  I’m good friends with David Vamplew, who won EPT London.  All the British groups sort of mingle together.  Neil Channing and the Blackbelt Poker guys, I’ve met them in Vegas and I’ve met them before on the U.K. poker scene.  So, it’s all very friendly between us.

Question:  Heading into the November Nine, which of your eight rivals do you fear and respect the most?
Holden:  I would say Pius Heinz.  I think he played really well.  I didn’t see him make any mistakes and I didn’t really see him show down too many hands, which is always a good sign that he’s making good decisions and not bluffing into a hand that he can’t bluff.  I didn’t play a lot with him, but when I did, he really impressed me.  But to be honest, everyone at the final table has really played very well and impressed me in different ways.  It’s a really tough final table.  It’s no surprise with the structure being so good in this tournament and for players to get through to this point.  I’m not surprised that these players are very good.

Question:  How many WSOP events did you play this year?
Holden:  I think I played three events -- two $1,500s and one $1,000 and I blanked them all.  Then I played some cash games and played another event elsewhere, which I didn’t cash anything.  It was a great experience playing in those.  Coming into the Main Event I felt quite comfortable in the surrounding and it seemed like just another tournament.  I think it was definitely valuable to play in those earlier events, even though I didn’t cash.  So, this was just my fourth World Series event, this year.

Question:  Which of the following is more true about the way you look at the game?  ‘Poker is fun’ or ‘Poker is business?’
Holden:  It’s certainly both, but I’d go with poker is fun.

Question:  If I were to make you a hypothetical offer, where you could take second place in the Main Event right now, would you accept it?
Holden:  I think it would be stupid for me not to -- because I’m ninth in chips right now (laughing).  I think the right decision would be for me to take it.  I’m very much a math guy with that kind of question, although there is like massive overlay if you win.  I mean that would be incredible.  I’m going to take it hand-by-hand and see.  It would mean the world to me if I won, but yeah, obviously second place and all that money would be fantastic as well.