Virtual Felt: susie00

Virtual Felt: susie00

Saturday, 2 March 2013

An unfamiliar name breaks into the UK top five. Snoopy speaks to up-and-comer Martin Malone.

Who is 'susie00'?

I have no idea where it came from, and I didn’t realise it would become such a big part of my life. Susie has since become the name of my fictitious second girlfriend... It’s a long story.

You also use ‘OMG-’ monikers (eg ‘OMGDannyRudd’), but who do you consider as your inspirations in poker?

I have two “OMG-” screen-names and it was just a joke between friends and a take on Phil Galfond’s “OMGClayAiken” alias. When I first started playing I remember being impressed with Daniel Negreanu and Phil Ivey and I still look up to them now.

I’m very lucky to be friends with a bunch of very talented poker players. They’re all heroes. Chris O’Donnell is one of my closest friends, as are Morgan Sorfleet, Chris Brammer and Noah Vaillaincourt. They’re all sickos, but very successful and I’ve learnt a lot from them.

Who, in your opinion, is the best online poker player in the world at the moment?

I’m a little biased towards the UK boys, but obviously Chris Moorman is unreal, and it would feel wrong if I didn’t mention Toby Lewis and Chris Brammer. I think volume is one of the major factors in being the best, and playing consistently well at the same time. These guys have awesome endgames and know how to close out MTTs. They’re also good at talking to other players and actually listening to feedback so they can continue to improve.

Why are you currently in Canada?

I left England around 18 months ago to go travelling with my girlfriend and Canada was one of our destinations. The hours for online poker are the nuts as it frees up my evenings and allows me to do other stuff. We love it here and we hope to stay longer.

How important is it to do other stuff and get out and about?

I love travelling and have been fortunate to get so much out of it. I think it’s really important to have a life beyond poker if you want to be successful, not just as a player but as a person too. Poker can consume you and take up all of your time, and the swings can affect your mood. You need a healthy balance.

Tell us about that iPoker win on Christmas Day.

[Martin won the $200+15 weekly major on Christmas Day, then made the final again a week later on New Year’s Day.]

Sigh at winning it when it was $100,000 guaranteed instead of $200,000 [laughs]. It was pretty smooth over all, although the final table was tougher than I expected. There was a huge jump from second to first, around $15,000, so it was pretty sick playing heads-up for double the prize of second and, in the back of my mind, I couldn't help but think that if I finished in the runner-up spot, I’d have to replay the whole tournament and come second again just to win the amount I was currently playing for.

It felt great to win. I think I shouted “boom!” quite a lot. The missus was eating breakfast at the time having already had a full night's sleep. It's a strange world, all this poker stuff…

How did you manage to find time to play on Christmas day?

Playing Christmas Day was fine. I had warned the missus and my family that it was Sunday, and that meant I would be grinding. Also, I felt the fields would be softer and smaller than usual. There were just 725 players in the end, which was obviously the first thing my friends brought up when I won.

You're fourth at the moment in the UK in the Pocket Fives Rankings. What's the secret?

Volume. If you’re playing and talking more, you should keep improving and feeling more confident about your game. I’ve a few new friends in Canada and I talk to people back home via Skype. I probably have a reputation for being a nit reg but having spoken to players like “dirty.brasil” I’ve adjusted my game and I’m sure that has helped me in recent times.

How important are the rankings to you?

I hadn’t really taken much notice up until now, but that may be because I haven’t been this high before. Obviously, I’d like to be number one; when you look at the players who have been in that spot you can tell how tough it must be. People like Moorman and Brammer are phenomenal players capable of putting in monstrous volume.

Do you have any ambitions to conquer the live circuit?

I love live tournaments but haven’t played many. I played the Series but with little success and I only have the one live win of any note, at the Monte Carlo at DTD. It was only a small event but it felt great to ship it. I’d really love to play more and I’ll be looking to go to any festivals I happen to pass, but they’ve been few and far between recently.

You're a backed player. How does this work?

I play for a backer who funds my buy-ins for 50 per cent of my profit. Having a backer makes things very easy, and as long as there is trust between player and backer it’s great for both parties involved.

I’ve had conversations with people about what point you’d play for yourself and I’m still unsure as to the answer. For me, I’d have to win quite a lot, as the swings at the stakes I play can be huge, and so you need to be very well rolled to cope with the emotional and financial roller coaster.

Are you interested in sponsorship with a poker site?

Sponsorship would be great but there aren’t too many deals knocking around. It was great to see Jake Cody sign with PokerStars, but, alas, I haven’t won an EPT, WPT and WSOP. I just want to get my head down, improve and try my hardest – that’s about all I can do.

What is the weakest part of your game?

The simple things can be the biggest weaknesses for experienced players. Personally, I’d like to improve my mental game, such as controlling tilt. Tilt doesn’t have a huge effect on my game but it’s something we should all look to work on. I’ve just bought The Mental Game of Poker by Jared Tendler and I feel there’s a lot to learn regarding that side of the game.

What advice would you give to aspiring players?

Practise as much as you can and do whatever it takes to improve your game, whether it’s watching training videos, analysing PokerTracker or reviewing your hands – whatever works for you. It takes a lot of commitment, dedication and pain, and you have to be ready for the highs and lows. Avoid being results-orientated and have the confidence to try new things. If you think it’s the right play, go for it. Second-guessing and doubt are a poker player’s worst enemy.

Tags: Martin Malone, susie00, interview, Adam Goudling