2007 World Series: Rob "Vaga_Lion" Akery Aches for the Big Score

Supernova Rob "Vaga_Lion" Akery from Bristol, England has moved from the microstakes of PokerStars to the biggest games anywhere.

Rob's first passion was Age of Empires, where he is known as Vagabond_Lion. He was an expert player, made instructional videos, and played tournaments. "I was sixteen and won a tournament for $1,000. It was a big deal then. I was on top of the leaderboard a couple of times, but it was hard to stay on top. That's about the time I found poker."

"I started player poker probably three years ago," he said. "But I really started concentrating on poker about a year and a half ago." Rob turned 21 in March, and this is his first World Series of Poker event. A friend of Rob's transferred $5 into his account. "I got down to $0.50 before I built it up to $4k, all playing limit. I dropped back down to $1k then quit for a bit. A friend of mine suggested I play no-limit, and I fell in love with it."

Rob pushed the $1k up to $95k, ultimately turning his $5 transfer into $95k in less than a year. I asked him about the connection between gaming and poker, as some other top gamers have a background in AOE, StarGate, and other games. "I think for me it trained me to sit in front of a computer. I got used to sessions up to ten hours, and multi-tabling came very easy to me."

His core game is $25/50 NLH, but he's jumped as high as $500/1k NLH. It hasn't all been perfect for Rob. "Yeah, I lost $250k in one day. I think I got about two hours of sleep that day as I just continued to lose. My online bankroll was down to $13k, and I dropped back to $5/10 NLH then jumped back up to $25/50 NLH and got it back to $100k."

I told him I once got banned for posting a hand about him on a popular poker forum. "Oh, that was you!" he said with a laugh. "I had aces and EmpireMaker came over the top all-in with 4-3. And he flopped trips."

Rob had moved up to 70k in the 1s then doubled up Travell Thomas in the 2s on a tough hand. "I had kings and raised, and he called. The flop came 9-7-5 rainbow, and I made about a pot-sized bet, and he called. A queen came on the turn, and I bet about three-quarters of the pot, and he called. A king came on the river, and I just couldn't put him on 10-J." He had Jd-10d to double through Rob.

He's made it to the dinner break with 33k, with blinds moving to 200/400 with 50 antes. He's still in great shape to make a big splash in his first Main Event.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in