Interview With Patrick 'pads1161' Leonard

There are very few people in the game of poker who have combined high-level play, running a huge stable, taking on an ambassadorial role for one of the biggest sites in the world and finding the boundless energy to do all this with enthusiasm and verve – but Patrick pads1161 Leonard is just such a man.

The bitB staking guru, highstakes online MTT specialist and now partypoker ambassador took time out from his very busy schedule to chat to HighStakesDB about all these things and more besides, and if you want to know who he rates as the best – and worst! -  online MTT players in the world right now, read on!

Q: You must have had offers from many poker sites. What made you seal the deal with partypoker?

I had a lot of offers through the years but I was really more focused on just playing and learning. I worked with a lot of sites as a full time job, I was a consultant (official title was poker ecologist) helping poker rooms make good decisions for the long term health of their site.

A lot of people who offered me deals were sites that were preying on the weak and giving pros 100% rakeback deals etc, I couldn't sponsor a site like that. I had just started speaking with a major site and the night that I got the email offering me the role I got a phone call from Rob Yong, I think it started off with "what structures would you do in this tournament" and ended with "done" we will have it done by the morning. I met the guys in London the week after and it was really exciting.

I said from day 1 I didn't want to be a "sponsored pro" travelling across the world, I wanted to make a difference and have a say in important matters. I had been very vocal about guys picking up paychecks and doing very little, so it would be too contradictory for me to do the same.


Q: As a big staker do you encourage your players to play on partypoker?

Of course, partypoker tournaments are great, Powerfest is $60m, WCOOP last year was $60m. I told partypoker from day 1 that my players would all play on other sites too, it’s important to keep a difference between partypoker and bitB, my players don't get preferential treatment and partypoker don't get exclusive access to my players rake. It's very important for there to not be a monopoly in the poker industry, I love when I see other sites trying hard and pushing us.

Q: What is your favorite event held on partypoker?

I like playing the $530 PKO's, they get really big bounties, the bounty side isn't raked, a lot of recreationals play them and they usually play 6max and with a smooth structure which is perfect for the PKO format

I also like the $2600 Sunday Super High Roller, it’s a great mix of people, top pros, businessmen and satellite qualifiers. Its usually similar people each week so a lot of dynamics build and you're able to work off the table against different people and their tendencies.

Q: How hard is it juggling being a player, staker and now representative of such a massive site?

Very difficult! My day usually consists of a lot of moaning! I wake up, if I check social media then I have people tagging me asking why this isn't to their liking or that isn't to their liking. People come up with the most ridiculous suggestions. Poker is like a rapid, dangerous game of Chinese whispers.

Regarding staking I deal with 100+ professional poker players, all of whom will have real life and/or poker problems, so there's a lot of messaging and trying to identify problems even if they don't declare them to me, and then the disgruntled player who didn't pass the application stage of getting into the stable.

I really, really love playing poker and competing at the highest level, but both staking and being an ambassador definitely holds me back a little bit, I would be lying if I said it didn't, but partypoker in particular are very, very positive with me, they know that I mostly want to be the online face of the company rather than travelling to play events around the world like the majority of players.

Q: You missed the WSOP and went to Russia... happy with this decision?

Absolutely. It was up there with the top things I've ever done in my life. I saved a really cool like video compilation and I'm sure I'll watch it in years to come.

Q: Will you be jumping into any of the nosebleed online Trickett games?

I'm not sure. I think honestly there are players on partypoker who grind regularly and give a lot of action who deserve a seat ahead of me. It's the biggest online game in the world and everybody wants to play, I'd feel a little bad and entitled rocking up to play. Never say never though!

Q: If you could create an online tournament now what would the buy in, structure and format be?

I would have five buy in levels, so everybody could play. $2600, $530, $109, $22, $5.50, start with 100 big blinds, no reason to mess around playing insignificant pots, 1 hour 40 of late reg, no re-entry, 8 max until the bubble then 6 max to conclude. Hey, this sounds like something on partypoker!

Q: How many of online poker players do you think are actually winners? (%)

Most players don't play close to enough volume for them to be winners or losers, they are playing and chasing big scores, which is cool, that’s part of the appeal of playing. Everybody buys in, and the luckiest guy will generally do the best.

Q: How many horses do you now have?

It's complicated, because there's a lot of different game types, lots of different countries that are separated etc. I would say 50 that I'm extremely close to and 150+ that I don't come into as much contact with.

Q: Are you going to travel to LIVE events? If so which?

I'm most likely going to go to UK Millions, but not 100%. I have a lot of online commitments, both with partypoker and bitB but also with myself. I have very ambitious study targets that I make sure I do before anything else. My old priority and goal was to play in SHR's all around the world, but I won 3 in a week and then this year only played 1 week’s worth. My goals change pretty frequently, so maybe I change my mind again, but I doubt it!

Q: When will partypoker cash games overtake Stars in terms of traffic?

I have been working with the security and game integrity team to not only detect and ban everything that shouldn't be there, but also agree on rules for the site. Things like buttoning, things like minimum play before you can leave etc. I think the gap will close but not brave enough to set a date on it.

Q: You work hard with partypoker of redevelopment of their software... what can we expect to see and when?

A lot of new changes coming in around 1 week, mostly designed around the new table. It looks sick! I think a real game changer.

Q: Top 5 online poker tournament players?

C.darwin, elmerix, European, romeo, bencb.

Q: Worst online tournament players?

Worst? Haha, I can't get into that. Let’s just say I think that a lot of people I stake for $50 MTTs are not far off the skill levels of players playing super high rollers. Relative to the buy in, the SHR's are probably the softest buy in level. It's a little bit like the old cash games, I think they always said the second biggest cash game in the room is always the toughest, the biggest is always full of pro's who can somehow find a backer and then people who get the game to run.

And with that Patrick was off and running to check on his horses, do some partypoker work and maybe even get a game of poker in himself!

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