"Now, Let's Play Poker!"
by Linda Johnson
I caught up with my buddy Robert Williamson III at The Bicycle Casino during the recent World Poker Tour championship event. Robert and his three sisters were born and raised in Houston, Texas. He got a B.B.A. degree in finance from Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas, and a B.B.A. in real estate. His past jobs include restauranteur, real estate developer, and consultant.
Robert is one of the kindest, most generous, and most fun-loving players on the tournament circuit, and he has a tremendous sense of adventure that makes him fun to hang out with. At 32 years of age, he is living a very happy life and enjoys traveling all over the world to play poker. His words to live by are, "Carpe diem ... seize the day!"
Linda Johnson: What is your earliest poker memory?
Robert Williamson III: I've been around gambling all my life. My dad used to have a game and I ran sandwiches and drinks for the players when I was about 5 years old. I actually started playing when I was 10 or 11.
LJ: Who do you consider to be your poker mentors?
RW: My father is the one who really got me started, but I would have to say Russ Hamilton is the player I have learned the most from.
LJ: What is your favorite poker game?
RW: For side action, I prefer triple-draw lowball, but I also play mixed games in the range of $100-$200 up to $400-$800. I also enjoy $50-$100 pot-limit. When it comes to tournaments, I prefer pot-limit Omaha.
LJ: Yes, I know you won the $5,000 buy-in pot-limit Omaha tournament at the 2002 World Series of Poker, and the pot-limit Omaha tournament at the 2003 World Poker Open. What other titles have you won?
RW: I've won tournaments at the Mid-America Classic and the Costa Rica Classic.
LJ: What is your position on deal-making in tournaments?
RW: Well, it's not usually to my advantage to make a deal, but I am not against doing so if it feels right.
LJ: Which players would you put in your most respected category?
RW: I respect players who have a good table demeanor - for example, Russ Hamilton, Berry Johnston, and Mark Gregorich.
LJ: How do you prepare for a final table?
RW: Two hours prior to a final table, I develop my schedule, which depends on many factors, such as the type of event it is, my chip position, how well I play that particular event, and so on. I try to customize my strategy depending on those factors.
LJ: What do you think would improve the poker world?
RW: I think everyone should treat dealers and their fellow players with respect. This would make it a much more pleasant environment, which would bring in more recreational players.
LJ: What is your ambition?
RW: I want to win many more World Series bracelets. I love the World Poker Tour and would be proud to win some of its events. I think it is the best thing that ever happened to poker.
LJ: You are literally half the man you used to be, having lost more than 200 pounds since your bariatric surgery. How has that affected your life?
RW: I am much, much more vibrant these days. I used to need 10 to 12 hours of sleep a day. Now, I sleep about six hours, so it has given me more hours in the day. My energy level is incredible. The surgery gave me back control of my life. I was missing control in that one area of my life, but now I have control of all areas. I can play longer hours because I have more stamina. I am happier with my life and confident that I will be around for a long time.
LJ: That is a great gift to all of us. Good luck, Robert!
See Robert Williamson III Gallery
Editor's note: Written and supplied with permission from Linda Johnson www.CardPlayerCruises.com
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