Let's meet Max Steinberg. He's among the chip leaders at the End of Day Three in the 2013 WSOP Main Event.
No matter what happens, Steinberg has already enjoyed a very successful WSOP. He's cashed four times, and made two final table appearances, including a second-place finish. Steinberg also finished in second place the week before the summer series, taking the runner-up spot in the WSOP National Championship, which was played in New Orleans. Steinberg previously won a gold bracelet last year.
Steinberg enjoyed the most dramatic day of any player. He began Day Three with 39,000 chips. However, many things went his way, including one of the day's more memorable hands when Steinberg managed to knock out nine-time gold bracelet winner Phil Ivey. He ended the night ranked among the top five.
Following Thursday's action, Steinberg gave this short interview to WSOP.com on the tournament floor.
WSOP: You started this day on the ropes, and then ended the day nearly on top. Tell us what happened.
Steinberg: My game plan when I had just 39,000 in chips was – I'm probably out of here. It's way more fun playing with more chips. My short-stacked game plan to was get more chips. And that's what happened.
WSOP: What does it mean to be among the chip leaders at the end of Day Three?
Steinberg: It has a little meaning. I don't think it means anything in terms of how far I'm going to go. There's still a long way to go. I'm hoping I can pull a 'Joe Cada' (who ran wire-to-wire after Day One all the way to victory in 2009). But there's still 700 people left. We'll see what happens. I'm just happy that I had a day that players dream of, from such a short stack to now such a big stack.
WSOP: You've had two second-place finishes this year in gold bracelet events. Does that now give you added motivation?
Steinberg: I'm so thankful that I even got that far to get second. One of the second place finishes was very unfortunate at the end, but if I'm going to complain on getting two seconds, then come beat me up, because that's something that a person in my position has to realize how fortunate they are.
WSOP: “Max Steinberg: 2013 Main Event Champion.” Does that sound good?
Steinberg: It does, but you are getting me ahead of myself.
WSOP: How do you approach the session tomorrow, particularly early on before we hit the money?
Steinberg: One of the pitfalls is that when you have a big stack and you are near the bubble, you sort of want to get to the bubble. The bubble time is such an advantageous situation for someone with a big stack. I can pick up a lot of chips without really doing anything. I think the pitfall lies getting too loose and aggressive and then running into a cooler. I can go into tomorrow and raise lots of hands. I assume I will pick up lots of chips unless I run into a cooler situation.
WSOP: You've been in this situation before, coming into a high profile event under lots of pressure, but the Main Event is different, isn't it?
Steinberg: It was funny because I have been to like 6 or 7 final tables in my lifetime, which is more than many people. I've been on some televised tables, too. One would think that like today, when I was moved the the ESPN feature table, it would be a walk in the park. But there is something different about this – having Phil Ivey to my left, it's the Main Event, the lights are blaring, there's all this buzz, all my friends are following. So, it was different. I found myself a little more nervous than I thought I would be, but by the end, I was in a groove. This experience is so much different.
WSOP: You are known for wearing a dress shirt and tie at the final table. That's become your trademark. When might that come out?
Steinberg: I didn't know I was going to be on the feature table today, but tomorrow I will wear something nice. We'll see.
WSOP: Right now, if you were offered ninth place in the Main Event, would you take it?
Steinberg: I would take the money, but I would want to keep playing [laughing]. Seriously, it's been such a great experience. It would be hard to turn that down, but I have really been enjoying this experience. I don't even want to answer that. It's too crazy. It's so amazing to be in this position. It's a dream come true. I just hope to continue and make it to Day Five, Six, Seven, or the Final Table.
WSOP: One last thing. What do you think about Doyle Brunson's deep run over at the next table?
Steinberg: I have so much respect for Doyle. He was the poker player who before there were coaching sites, he figured out how to play poker well, by himself. He created ideas that lasted years and years. He didn't have computer programs to tell him anything, like hard math. I have all the respect in the world for him. He has a lot of chips. If I get out, I'm cheering for Doyle.