Exclusive Poker Portal Asia Interview
We first encountered Australian Oliver Speidel at APT Asian Series Manila in August last year but only really formed an impression of him when he came back to the Philippines and played the APT Accredited Manny Pacquiao World Poker Event in December 2011. Hosted at the now closed-down Asia Poker Sports Club in Malate, Philippines, the tournament wasn’t the biggest in terms of buy-in (PHP 50,000) but featured the usual local talent and a number of visiting pros.
Speidel was friendly but had a quiet demeanour, preferring to let his actions on the felt speak for him. He was among the chip leaders for the entire tournament and ended up crushing the final table for a PHP 2,202,000 (USD $50,691) win. We watched him mix up his game, three-betting light at the right time, calling down bluffs with bottom pair and just seeming to be switched on at the table. At the time we congratulated him and made a mental note to keep an eye on him in the future.
It didn’t take long for the 26-year-old Melbourne local to appear on our radar again as the following month he scored a second and sixth place in a couple of hometown Aussie Millions side events for AUD $25,479 and AUD $16,472. We thought, gee that’s nice for him, and then… bam!
All of a sudden Speidel had taken down the AUD $10,000 Aussie Millions Main Event for AUD $1.6 million – the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest poker title – and is rolling around in his life-changing pile of money in an apparent impulsive post-match celebration. It was an amazing moment and one that most poker players fantasise about more than they care to say.
But the virtual overnight success story of Speidel in fact took three years. That’s when he gave up a job in risk management and decided to concentrate on poker. He previously found some success in the 2011 Aussie Millions, winning the AUD $1000 NL Hold’em side event for AUD $100,595, but there’s now no question that the gamble has paid off handsomely and he faces a bright future in the game.
What’s more, Speidel seems to like it out here in Asia and we will probably be seeing much more of him. Having just played the Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) Seoul event where he started out well as a chip leader but failed to cash by just a few places, his next port of call will be Manila for the Asian Poker Tour (APT) Philippines tournament on April 19-25, 2012.
In anticipation of his arrival in Asia, we emailed Speidel a few questions and here’s what he had to say for himself…
Congrats on your massive win at the Aussie Millions, you must have been pretty happy with it?
Yes, very happy, of course. It’s a dream come true.
We loved your celebration of rolling around in the cash afterwards…
Actually before the start of the final table the TV director suggested the winner do something dramatic like jump on the table so it was really his idea. It also felt like the right thing to do after such a big win for me. Hopefully it makes for good TV.
Prior to the Aussie Millions you won the APT Accredited Manny Pacquiao World Poker Event in the Philippines in December 2011. How was that experience and did it give you the confidence going into the Aussie Millions?
It was a great experience – poker is always a lot more fun when you’re winning. The win definitely gave me more confidence in my live play so it was a great thing to have happen just before the Aussie Millions.
So what have you been up to lately? Has your life changed much since the win in Melbourne?
I just finished playing APPT Seoul, which was the first live poker I’ve played since Aussie Millions but finished just out of the money unfortunately. Before that I was really busy with interviews and stuff for 48 hours or so after my win, but since then I’ve had heaps of free time. I’ve just been relaxing, reading, hanging out with friends and eating out a lot here in Melbourne. I haven’t played much online poker; since the Aussie Millions my motivation to play has gone down a bit but I’m sure it will come back again soon.
Do you play much cash games and have you upped the stakes at all now considering the size of your new bankroll?
I considered myself mainly a cash game player. I played mainly mid-stakes NL online where I’ve kind of been stuck at the 5-10 level for a long time due a lot to bad games and also bad table selection on my part. NL cash games online at this level are really tough these days it seems to me. I don’t think I’ll be depositing more money online to play higher but I’d definitely be interested in playing bigger live cash games now.
We also hear you’re coming back to Asia for the APT Philippines tournament in April. What made you decide to attend it?
I’ll be in Thailand around that time anyway so Manila is just a short flight across from there. Also there is APPT Cebu just a short flight away right after the APT, which is a bonus.
How did you find playing in the APT previously?
So far the APT events I played were all in Manila. I love playing there; Filipinos are really fun to play poker with. I thought Resorts World Manila did a very good job hosting the APT event last time I was there.
Do you have any favourite places to visit or things to do while in Manila?
I like to hang out at places where there is live music and where you can just relax and eat/drink and enjoy a nice atmosphere. Filipinos are very talented musicians.
So do you now have plans to play poker around Asia more?
Yes, I’ll be in Cebu as I mentioned earlier. I spend a lot of time in Asia anyway so I’ll be playing more around there for sure.
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