Name: Eoghan O'Dea
Hometown: Dublin -- IRELAND
Chip Count: 33,925,000 (ranks 2nd)
Profession: Professional Poker Player
Years Attended WSOP: 4
Note: Eoghan O'Dea was interviewed prior to the Day Eight session when 22 players still remained. All other interviews in this series took place after the November Nine players had been determined.
Question: Many people here at the WSOP know and respect your father, Donnacha O'Dea. Tell us more about your dad's influence on your poker career.
O'Dea: Honestly, when my dad used to come out here to Las Vegas and I was a child, I thought he was coming here in order to do more betting -- than playing poker. But I do remember when he won the gold bracelet though, because he came back home (to Ireland) with it. I didn't really know too much back then about poker, because I was too young. I didn't play or anything until much later.
Question: So, what was it that ignited your interest in poker?
O'Dea: It was "Late Night Poker" (the U.K. version). When I was 16 or 17 and I saw poker on television, it really got me into it. After that, I started to play a little bit. Then, my father won a big tournament called the Poker Million (Isle of Man), which I remember well because a few years later I made a final table at the Poker Million, too.
Question: What kinds of poker games do you play in mostly?
O'Dea: I did pretty good in cash games 3 or 4 years ago, but it's been more of a struggle lately. Before, I was playing $25-50 (blinds) and $50-100 PLO online. But now the games are a little tougher and things have changed a bit. So, now I am playing more $10-20 (blinds). The games always change. You have to remember that. Nothing stays the same. And there were times when I didn't realize that and I didn't change my game to suit it. So, some of the times I ran bad it was because I was not making the adjustments I needed to make. So recently, I have been playing in more tournaments.
Question: You are here now competing not just for prize money, but for a gold bracelet. If you have to say what's more meaningful, which would it be?
O'Dea: When I was younger, I would have said the bracelet. But now, I would say the money. Maybe. Of course, it's a dream to win the Main Event, which is different. I guess in some ways it's about even. I think it meant more a few years ago to win a bracelet. But there are many more of them these days. There are now like 50 or 60, which is much more than in the past. But it would still be huge because the Main Event is just one per year.
Question: Your fellow countryman Noel Furlong was the only Main Event winner in history from Ireland. Do you know him?
O'Dea: I know Noel. I have played with him a few times in the past. He's pretty funny. I think the first time I played with him, he limped in under the gun with (pocket) threes. There were a couple of callers and then a raise. Well, he moved the whole stack in with the threes pre-flop, up against ace-king. I was thinking at the time that he knew he was coin flipping for his stack. But after playing with him a few more times, I think that was just Noel being Noel. He plays a pretty aggressive game. But he does have an incredible record for someone who doesn't play much, not just the Main Event but in the Irish Open.
Question: Talk about how things have gone so far in the Main Event (through Day Seven).
O'Dea: I felt really good during the entire tournament. But today, I didn't feel as good. I came in feeling very tired. I have not been getting that much sleep. It's tough playing a 12-hour session every single day....I think I have been somewhat lucky a few times to get dealt some nice hands. All the tables I have played on, there are really good players. But each time I found a nice spot and picked up a few hands.
Question: Are you able to relax when you leave the tournament room? Or, are you constantly thinking about the game?
O'Dea: No, no, no. I really don't think about poker at all (when I'm away). I have a couple of beers and then try and go to bed.
Question: Let's go back to your dad, Donnacha for a moment. Is there a friendly rivalry now in the O'Dea family?
O'Dea: It would be huge to beat him for sure. At least fifth or better would be nice (Note: Donnacha's best Main Event finish was sixth place, in 1983).
Question: Has Donnacha spoken with you since you made your deep run in the Main Event?
O'Dea: Oh yes, many times. He mostly sends me texts. There, he just texted me again (ringer goes off). He's given me a few bits of advice. Like, they are showing the hands on ESPN (semi-live coverage). It's a half-hour delay. So, he's been texting me some things that he saw and that helps a lot actually. I remember thinking back on a few hands, and I thought 'There's no way he's bluffing there.' And sure enough, I found out he really was bluffing. So, that has helped me.
Question: What do you think of the quality of competition here, versus who you normally play with?
O'Dea: They are really good, that's for sure. Ben Lamb always seems to know where he's at. I saw him do some things that were pretty impressive, like when he was holding pocket kings against two aces. He lost some chips, but any other player would have lost a lot more or would have doubled his opponent up. Ben played it just right. There are some other good players, too.
Question: I notice you have a beer in your hand. What's your favorite beer?
O'Dea: I started drinking Corona on this trip. I really think it's Corona at the moment. I usually drink Heineken at home. But I might change it now.
Question: Next question -- what kind of car do you drive?
O'Dea: I drive an Audi A4 convertible.
Question: Final question -- so, what will you do if you win $8.7 million and the world championship?
O'Dea: Play bigger, probably.