1) Eric Baldwin - 6,994 pts
2) Cornel Cimpan - 5,934 pts
3) Yevgeniy Timoshenko - 5,509 pts
So w/329 entrants into “WPT 5 Diamond Doyle Brunson Classic” it meant the CardPlayer POY FT points were distributed as follows;
& left Cornel & Yevgeniy needing 3rd & 2nd respectively to catch Eric. I 1st met Eric at the “Rio All Suite Casino & Hotel” during the 2007 WSOP playing $2/$5 NLH & was an absolute 1st class guy & when I told him I had launched FTP he was more than happy to spare a few minutes to answer a few questions regarding his recent success.
DT "TY for your time Eric & VWD on joining the likes of Men “The Master” Nguyen (1997, 2001, 2003, 2005), T.J. Cloutier (1997), Daniel Negreanu (2004), & other of poker’s elite who have won this prestigious award, how does it feel to be mentioned in the same breath as these superstars & be crowned 2009 CardPlayer POY?"
EB “Winning this honor means the world to me. I don't think the significance has really sank in yet, but it will be something cool to tell my grandkids about.”
DT "Yevgeniy “bballer88” Timoshenko & Cornel Andrew Cimpan pushed you all the way to the end of year event “WPT 5 Diamond Doyle Brunson Classic” & IIRC from your interview w/Kristy Arnett on CardPlayer TV they needed 3rd & 4th respectively to over haul you out front in 1st place. Unfortunately you bust out this event early so I can imagine you sweated them both, what were the celebrations like from the rail when Yevgeniy went bust & you had wrapped POY up? I assume you drank your fair share of “Miller Lite”?"
EB “Both guys that had a chance to catch me are incredible players, so I was sweating it pretty hard. Cornel had already won two WPT title this year and Yevgeniy won the WPT Championship and the largest online tournament of the year. It was tough getting eliminated from the tournament because I no longer had any control over the situation. I have a lot of respect for both players so I didn't want to celebrate right away, but once they cleared out of the tournament area I started buying rounds for all my friends and we had an awesome celebration.”
DT "During the “WPT 5 Diamond Doyle Brunson Classic” you were on table 58 which was being quoted as the toughest table in history & considering table included;
1) Dutch Boyd
2) Eric Baldwin
3) Phil Ivey
4) Todd Terry
5) David Chiu
6) Hasan Habib
7) John Juanda
8) Yevgeniy Timoshenko
9) Tom "Durrr" Dwan
Not many would disagree but fortunately Phil Ivey didn’t show & had his stack removed, I can imagine this was a relief for the table but nevertheless a table full of talented individuals. Did you adjust your approach to cope w/this talented table? Would you consider this the toughest table you have played at?"
EB “What an amazing table. The only bad player at the table busted and they put down Phil Ivey's entry receipt and stack. I was actually looking forward to him sitting because he's one of the few players I haven't had the chance to play with. My strategy at that table was to only be opening premium hands, so I wasn't overly concerned with possibly having Phil on my left. Apparently the dice were too hot for Phil at the craps table and they picked up his stack. This was likely the toughest table I have ever played at, and it was tough to find good spots to accumulate chips. My plan was to only open premium hands, but to reraise the active players on my right to put them in tough situations.”
DT "I understand you went bust from “WPT 5 Diamond Doyle Brunson Classic” w/AA vs. the 74h of online phenom & newest member to “Team Full Tilt” Tom “durrrr” Dwan but have no hand details, can you explain the details of the hand & your thoughts on both your’s & Tom’s line?"
EB “I started the hand with 105k at 800/1600 with a 200 ante. Tom had me covered. I opened two black aces to 4000 and got called in 4 spots, including Dwan from the big blind. With 22k in the pot we saw a flop of J42 with two spades and Dwan led 15,800. With 3 players behind me that could easily have a set here, I decided to raise small to 38k to give myself an opportunity to get away from the hands if I heard any noise but to go with the hand if Dwan reraised. I do not expect him to lead a set here, so I figured he had a big draw and would reraise me all-in on a semi-bluff attempting to get me to lay down a big pair. Tom surprisingly just called. The turn was an offsuit 4 and Dwan checked. I had 65k left in my stack and the pot was around 95k. I was going to call a river shove by Tom anyway, and the pot was big enough for me to happily take it down if I had the best hand and he played a draw this way. I moved all-in and Dwan called with 47 of hearts. I believe Tom led the flop because it takes a really big hand to be able to reraise him here. He was looking to just take down the nice pot. When I raised him, he looked for another way to pick up the pot. He likely put me on an overpair and was going to represent any Ace, six, Jack, or spade that hit the turn. He also figured he had 5 real outs with the fours and sevens. Tom incorrectly assessed that I would fold my hand if a scary card hit the turn and he shoved as a bluff. He actually only had 5 outs to win this pot. If one of his 'fake outs' hits the turn and he shoves, I call and am a huge favorite to win a huge pot.”
DT "When & how did you get started playing poker? Did you have any inspirational poker players, books, moments, shows, etc that were instrumental in you turning professional?"
EB “I started playing poker during High school for fun with my friends. I discovered I had a talent for it and could make money at it. When I went to college I discovered online poker and began to play regularly to pay for partying on the weekends. I didn't really want to do anything with my degree in psychology, so I decided to take a shot at playing professionally upon graduation. I did a lot of learning from books. The Harrington on Hold'em series was particularly influential on my game.”
DT "How does winning CardPlayer POY compare to winning the WSOP 2009 #34 $1500 NLH & capturing your 1st WSOP bracelet?"
EB “Both accomplishments are special in their own ways. The bracelet was an intense feeling when I realized I had won. It was pure joy. The POY award is satisfying because it took a lot of hard work over a longer period of time. A tournament can be won by being very lucky over a short period of time. Winning the POY takes playing well over a much longer time and is really satisfying.”
DT "What does the future hold for you, what’s your schedule for 2010? Can we expect to see Eric Baldwin in the 2010 POY race? I for 1 would like to wish you continued success as it suits you well."
EB “In early 2010 I plan to play a lighter schedule than I did over the second half of 2009. I was playing and/or travelling daily, and it will be nice to have a little downtime. I will play a lot of the major events still. After the 2010 WSOP I will assess my chances of making another run at the title and make a decision from there. It would be tough to not chase after defending my title if I have a legitimate shot. 2009 was just too much fun to pass up on an attempt to repeat.”
DT "Finally TYVM for your time Eric, I hope you & Mary have a merry Christmas & a happy new year."
It’s brought me great pleasure bringing followers this interview & I really hope you all enjoyed it. Eric really is both 1 of the nicest guy’s I’ve shared a table & 1 of the best players I’ve ever played. I for 1 would like to wish Eric continued success & all the best for 2010.
Ladies & Gentleman 2009 CardPlayer POY Eric Baldwin