Sam "tr1cky7" Trickett is a 25 year old poker professional from the UK who is both a formidable tournament and cash game player. He is not a typical young player who grinded up the stakes online but instead is more of a live player and has had remarkable success in that format. His tournament record is phenomenal and last year, his total winnings were over $4.5 million. He has also had remarkable success in the cash games in Macau where he plays the biggest games with the likes of Phil Ivey and Tom Dwan. HighstakesDB have been able to speak to him recently discussing his rise in the game, experiences in Macau and his plans for the future.
Sam Trickett Interview
When and how were you first introduced to poker?
I first played poker in 2006 when a friend of mine introduced me to the game. He ran home games and asked me to come round and showed me how to play.
How have you risen through the ranks to become where you are today?
I gradually made a name for myself on the UK circuit by winning a few local tournaments and then I had a decent result in Vegas in 2008 for $250k. As you may already know, I went broke during the 2009 WSOP. I subsequently moved to Cape Town and worked extremely hard on my game. This helped me a lot and results started flying in for me. I have been a consistent winner in tournaments and cash games since then.
Have you had any major downswings, and if so, please elaborate?
Yes, in 2009. I dusted off a £150k bankroll in the space of a few months, which left me flat broke and unable to play without backing. It was caused from playing in high stakes PLO games when I was still learning the game and I had a bad habit playing roulette and blackjack which is where I lost a lot as well.
Who have been your toughest opponents live and online?
I have played against a lot of tough players now but one that comes to mind is when I played Isaac “Ike” Haxton in the $25k 6-max tournament and he was on my direct left. He made life very difficult for me and I respect his game a lot. The toughest player I have played online is Rui Cao who is an amazing heads-up PLO player (although not so good in 6-max games).
Do you prefer playing NLHE or PLO, and HU or 6-max online?
I like to play huge high stakes NL live games but if I play online I only ever play PLO. NLHE has become very boring online with most of the players being too nitty and I prefer playing a loose style. I prefer games where the action is!
Which sites do you play at online and at what stakes?
I mostly play on PokerStars because I think that they have the best software and I used to love FTP software as well so I also played there a bit. I will play PLO 6- max at $25/50 and above.
Do you regard yourself as a better live player than online?
Yes as I put a lot more effort in to my live game; I’m always looking for information and trying to adjust accordingly. In regards to playing online, I tend to just click buttons sometimes and not really think too much whereas the dynamics of live games are much more suited to my style.
You have an amazing tournament record, but do you prefer them instead of cash games?
I hate day 1s of tournaments as I find it really boring and tedious. I do however love being deep in tournaments because decisions are crucial and its important to keep making good ones. Nevertheless I most enjoy playing high stakes cash games where I find hands are a lot more interesting and challenging.
You have been fairly active in the biggest games in the world in Macau. How did you get into them and what stakes do you play there?
The game used to be HKD $5k/10k but it has recently been playing bigger. The last time I went it was HKD $20k/40k and I played a few sessions in that game. I have done well in Macau but I still feel that I should be doing a lot better. In terms of getting into the game, they are private so you need to know someone from the game but I have become good friends with the guys there.
What has been the biggest pot you have ever won, and please could you explain details of hand?
It was approximately HKD $16m. It was versus other professionals in a short handed NL 10k/20k game but I can’t say too much more.
What has been the biggest pot you have ever lost, and please could you explain details of hand?
It was approximately HKD $20m in which I flopped top set but the opponent rivered a bigger set.
Biggest winning session and biggest losing session?
Biggest winning session is HKD $15 million and biggest losing session is HKD $13m.
What is the toughest cash game table you’ve been on?
I can’t say all the opponents but I will say Ivey was playing and Dwan was on my direct left.
What are your plans for rest of year and future?
I intend on playing more cash games and play all the bigger tournaments including the $1m WSOP event.
Did you play a lot on FTP and have a lot of money on the site? What do you think of the scandal there?
Yes I played a lot there because the software was really good. I have $30k on there so I feel pretty lucky not to have had more stuck. I am more disappointed than anything about the whole scandal because I really liked the site and the events they organised. I also feel sorry for the players who had big proportions of their bankrolls on there.
What gifts have you bought yourself after a winning trip/session?
I bought a Range Rover Autobiography for my girlfriend and an Audi R8 V10 for myself! I also have a nice collection of watches now and I like to treat myself to a new one when I get a big result.
Are you involved a lot in staking, and how has it been for you financially?
I have only staked people that have been close to me before I was successful but financially, it’s been a total disaster and I have done my balls. :(
Do you think that it’s important to discuss strategy with other poker friends, and who do you often talk to?
Yes I think it definitely is and I do it a lot; maybe a little too much because I always end up playing with them and now it becomes a big head scramble.
You have played in televised cash games in the past including the Aussie Millions cash game and the Party Poker Big Game. How have they been for you and do you like the TV fame as such?
Yes I enjoy playing on TV and I like to watch the shows back so I can analyse my own game. They are normally pretty good games as well and I do quite like being on the TV. It makes me feel successful because I used to love watching poker so I hope that people enjoy watching me play.
How did you feel when Mike Sexton said that you are the best NLHE player of 2011?
It felt great as it would be nice to hear that sort of statement from my mum and dad let alone from someone who has watched so many of the greats play and has such a high level of respect in the poker community.
Has the game in Macau become harder than it was when you first started playing there?
Yes all the games in Macau now are really tough and have gotten worse but hopefully they will pick up again soon.
Do you play a lot live when you are in London as the cash games are nowhere near as big as the big games in Macau and Vegas?
When I play in London it is more to socialise now. The games in Macau are so significantly bigger that it would be a waste of time to grind the cash games back home.
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