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11 Questions with Alex Loon

Posted by : ikelos on Monday, May 31, 2010 permalink
Alex Loon

While 2009 was indubitably the year of ‘Major’ Ricky Foo, 2010 is shaping up quite nicely for Alex Loon, the unassuming Singapore Management University under-graduate who has been quietly making waves in the Asian poker scene. Fresh off his runner-up finish on the online reality-TV series The Asian Poker Showdown, Alex recorded a mightily impressive side-event run in the recently concluded Asia Pacific Poker Tour stop in Macau. Alex final-tabled a whopping six events, posting one win, three runner-up spots, one third, and a fourth. caught up with Alex in the midst of the hottest streak of his young poker career, which he hopes to carry forward into the upcoming World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.

First of all, congratulations on a fantastic year so far. What does it feel like to be you right now?

It feels awesome. I am definitely very blessed to be running and playing so well for the APPT Macau 2010. I am feeling very confident now and confidence is very important when it comes to form and playing well. It is essential for a poker player to be able to trust his own instinct and be sure that he is doing the right move all the time. Right now all I hope for is for me to continue playing and running well in the upcoming tournaments.

Do you have any plans to turn professional?

I most definitely do. Since I just graduated, I feel this is a perfect time for me to try to make a living out of playing poker. I would not want to start working only to quit half way knowing that I should be at the tables.

The Asian Poker Showdown has brought you some degree of celebrity. Have you enjoyed the media exposure so far?

It was definitely a lot of fun doing the APS and it was pretty well received by the general public. I must say the show really helped me get to know many key people in the poker industry around the region and vice versa. That is one of the major benefits of the media exposure I have enjoyed from being on the show so far.

Has it always been tournaments for you, or do you also grind big and small volumes of cash games?

Since day one, I have always found tournaments a lot more fun to play. I grind cash games online exclusively. If I do play a live cash game, it will be more of having a friendly session with my usual group of friends and not a grinding session where I would be more concerned with grinding a constant profit. Grinding live cash tables also tends to get a little boring for me after while due to the slower pace of the game as compared to online.

Do you prefer live or online play? Why?

I have to say I prefer live play for tournaments due to the general interaction and dynamics that live tournaments provide. I prefer grinding cash games online due mainly to the ability to multi-table. With multi-tabling you will be able to extract the maximum value from your edge as well as lower the variance of your game. However, undoubtedly, your edge would be smaller online due to tougher opponents.

Tell us about an interesting hand you played recently.

Well, since the APPT Macau Main Event was just over, the hand which is still stuck in my mind is the last one I played. UTG+1 limps and when he did that I already thought he might have a pocket pair as he has done that before and he is a pretty straight forward player. In middle position I raised to 3.5 BB with aces leaving myself with about 25BB. Big blind calls and limper calls. Flop comes T 4 3 two clubs. BB bets half pot and UTG+1 min raises. I did not give it much thought before shipping it in with my aces only to find myself against a set of 44s. BUSTO

Why did you play the hand this way? We would love a glimpse of your thought processes on the hand.

I played the hand the way I did probably because I was getting short and blinds were climbing up. The pressure of big stacks at the table got to me as well. I unfortunately did not give it much thought before shipping the rest of my 25BB stack or I probably would have folded. Due to the UTG+1’s image and history being a straight-forward player, I really was not beating anything there. Oh well, a mistake made is a lesson learnt.

What’s great and what’s crap about being a poker player?

What is great about being a poker player is definitely the joy of being able to do what you really love and being able to live off it. I think not many people can be really proud of that fact. What is crap would be that you are probably never as good as you think you are and of course that damn thing known as variance.

Is poker more a game of skill or chance?

Undoubtedly skill! I would prefer blackjack or craps if it was a game of chance.

What do you think regulators in your country need to know about poker?

Regulators most importantly need to understand the true nature of the game more. Just because the game we play involves cards does not mean it is pure gambling per se. Of course, poker involves some form of chance but it is due to several skilled aspects which allow players to edge out over others and thus makes it deviate away from the pure gambling games which we see on the casino floors.

How supportive has your family been in your choice of past-time?

My parents are traditional in the sense that they believe gambling is bad and that if you gamble you will get addicted and lose your friends family and ultimately commit suicide (AKA in the movies). However, they are also liberal in the sense that they allow me to do what I want in life. I am fortunate enough that they believe I have the judgment to be able to choose the right thing to do and thus are able to accept me playing poker for a living. They are not completely supportive but I intend to slowly change that as I educate them about the game.

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