With Mel Judah, World Poker Tour Winner at Legends of Poker
PP: Mel, How long have you been playing poker?
Mel: Since I was about 14 yrs watched father play 5 card draw poker. He was a technical player and I learned at an early age starting hands to play in what position, so the knowledge I accumalated helped me in my poker career. The most important thing he ever told me about poker was lose the minimum and win the maximum
PP: What attracted you to the game in the first place?
Mel: Played for fun in the early days, my wife and son went to Australia for a couple of months to see her family and my friends asked me to go to the Victoria Sporting Club in London where they played poker. My proff poker career started at The Victoria Sporting Club and from there I went to private games and never looked back.
PP: How did you learn poker? Did you read books or have a mentor? Or did your poker skills just come through experience?
Mel: Learnt the basics from my father and the rest adapted myself without reading books. My hairdressing career helped me with the phycology of peoples minds. Read books very late in my career just to see how their minds work
PP: You have won many tournaments in different forms of poker. What would you say is your strongest game?
Mel: My best results have been in 7-Card Stud, but have won a tournament in every type of poker game my favorite games to play are Hi/Lo Omaha and Hi/Lo Stud.
PP: You have been on the poker scene for some years now. Is it more difficult making a name for yourself as a player to fear and respect in amongst all these new faces?
Mel: It is much harder to achieve good results because there is so much more information available written in books and on the internet. Young interlectuals can master the game within 12 months because of the information and mathamatical odds available to them. The only thing they lack is the experience of the game.
PP: Have you had to change your game and strategy recently to compete with new players
Mel: Yes depending on what type of buy-in and structures.
PP: What, in your opinion, is the biggest skill a poker player must have to compete at the top level?
Mel: For tournament play patience, and having the ability to change gears when necessary. In side action it is having control your bankroll.
PP: If you were to pick the top 5 poker players in the world you most respect, who would you pick?
Mel: Scotty Nguyen, T.J. Cloutier, Chris Ferguson, Erik Seidel, Howard Lederer.
PP: How often do you play these days, and how many tournaments do you clock up in a year?
Mel: I have cut down on my tournaments and concentrate on the major events.
PP: What is your favourite tournament in the poker calendar and why?
Mel: The World Series of Poker because all the best players in the world are there.
PP: If you were to give advice to young players starting out what would it be?
Mel: Don't let success get to your head, cause you are only as good as your last win.
PP: You won the championship WPT at Legends last week taking home over $400,000 prize money, is this your largest single win?
Mel: Yes it was
PP: Please can you give us all details of the winning hand that you played against Paul Phillips.
Mel: Most of the hands I raised and Paul passed. There was one hand we went to the river on and I was not called. The final hand he raised before the flo9, I called with 7 9 offsuit the flop was A 6 3 with two hearts it was check check the turn was a five check check again and the river was a black four. I moved all in and Paul took a long time and finally called with the bottom end of the straight.
PP: Did you find the media attention at the final table of WPT Legends and the filming unsettling in any way? It must be huge pressure playing under those conditions, or did you find this to be a benefit.
Mel: No I did not find the media attention upsetting I just played my normal game
PP: Ok Mel, many thanks for taking the time for this interview and I wish you all the best at the tables. Great to see one of the nicest guys in poker win.
Mel: The WPT is doing a lot for promoting poker. My pleasure,
PP: Thanks, Mel