I found out many months ago that writing a column every other week is
not an easy task. Trying to write something different, funny, interesting,
etc. is always a challenge. Since I’ve tried various techniques, I decided
to try the “interview” format. I knew I needed to interview someone who
was really nice and would not be too critical of my efforts.
I immediately knew who my victim, I mean choice, would be. It would be
Pat Flanagan, one of my best friends, who is a great poker player and a
really nice guy. So here goes.
For anyone who has been on the tournament circuit for any length of
time, my friend Pat Flanagan needs very little introduction, Pat has been
one of the top tournament players in the world for several years. Pat
has probably won more LoBall tournaments than anyone else. His wins
in Lo-Ball include the WSOP, Grand Prix, Super Bowl of Poker, L.A.Poker
Classic, California State Championship plus many more.
Vince: How long have you been playing poker, and how did you first get
Pat: I learned the game as a 7 or 8 year old kid, and by high school, and
my service time in the navy, I was good enough to win quite a little bit of
money. After the service a college friend introduced me to Gardena. I
have been playing in the So. California card rooms ever since.
Vince: You have been considered one of the top 2 or 3 low-ball player in
the world over the last few years, how has the reduction in lo-ball
tournaments effected your playing of tournaments?
Pat: I have not been to Las Vegas for a tournament in over two years. I
have spent more time playing side action lately. Without the lowball
tournaments, it has been less of a draw for me. Maybe I’m being a little
bit stubborn but it’s hard for me to support the Vegas tournaments when
we Lo-ball players supported all the Vegas tournaments for so many
years and then they cancelled the Lo-ball and kept lower drawing
tournaments when in fact with a little planning and rescheduling they
could have kept all the lo-ball players going to Vegas for the tournaments.
Vince: You have been successful in tournaments. What is your secret to
Pat: I’m not sure. I try to play well. I think observation and patience
are the two key factors. When I first started playing tournaments I
would tell myself “you will catch your share of good hands, but you still
have to be in the tournament to get them.” That’s the patience, the
observation pays off later when you’ve determined who is likely to put a
move on you and who you can put a move on without getting caught.
Vince: You seem to be one of the players who do equally well in
tournaments and side action. What particular skills do you think are
needed to be successful in both endeavors?
Pat: I’ve already mentioned patience and observation I’m not sure what
else to say. I could run off a list of good traits, but they’re in all the
books. Most of the players at the higher level know how to play. The
difference is that not all have the discipline to consistently play correctly.
It is basically a matter of keeping your focus when things get a little dull
or they’re not going your way.
Vince: How do you think the whole tournament scene could be improved,
concerning scheduling, Buy in’s etc?
Pat: If I could redesign the system, I would have more $300 to $500
tournaments with maybe 3 or 4 tournaments per year where buy-ins
were $1000 or more. I think they have way too many $100
tournaments. It has got to the point of overkill.
Vince: Who are some of the people that you respect in the poker world.
Pat: One person who I think embodies all the qualities that I respect in
a poker player is Jim Ward from Alaska. Jim is a great poker player who
always conducts himself like a gentleman. Jim is always personable and
unlike some top, high limit, players very accessible. Jim has a good word
Berry Johnston would be another player who embodies the qualities that
I respect in a poker player.
Vince: Thank you Pat, for your time and thoughts, and good luck.
Pat: Wait a minute, I hope we’re not through yet? Aren’t you going to
ask me what my favorite movies are?
Vince: Oh, by the way, what are your favorite movies?
Pat: Field of Dreams and The Mollie McGuires’
For what it’s worth ...
Chatting with a Friend
By Vince Burgio