TCOOP: Ten questions with Toby Lewis
Toby Lewis may look like any other young poker player, but he stands out among his peers. Reserved, appreciative of his success, and modest, the man known as "810ofclubs" on PokerStars stands apart from the young balla set from which the younger champions ofte come. His biggest success to date was an EPT Vilamoura title, but most recently, Lewis won TCOOP Event #16 for $68,676.
We asked Lewis to answer a few questions for us about his recent success. Here's what he had to say.
PokerStars Blog: For those people who don't know you yet, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Toby Lewis: I'm 22 years old, and was brought up in Southampton, England. I've been living in London for about three years now and love it. There's so much to do each day. I'm quite simple. I love playing sport and competitive games and have realized now that time away from poker is very much needed to sustain playing well and a good lifestyle.
PokerStars Blog: We've met a lot of poker players over the years. More often than not, there is something about them that is a lot more interesting than their poker game. What is that thing about you?
Toby Lewis: I haven't come from a money background, so I think I really appreciate the opportunities I've been giving by poker. I think I have a lot of knowledge and experience gained by visiting so many different places and cultures whilst only being 22.
PokerStars Blog: After such big wins in your past, what does your TCOOP championship mean to you?
Toby Lewis: My TCOOP win is great. I've been grinding MTTs for a couple of years now with good success, but never won a SCOOP, WCOOP or TCOOP. It's great to knock this one off the list. I never considered winning a 12k runner turbo. But whilst playing a bunch of other tourneys at the same time, I didn't notice it until I won a massive pot at the time and got to 1.7 million. So, I made it bigger on my screen and focused more thoroughly on that.
PokerStars Blog: We know you're a fulltime pro. How did that come to be?
Toby Lewis: Poker is my full time job and has been for nearly four years now. Hopefully I don't have to consider anything else anytime soon. I've been playing for about six years and signed up for PokerStars in early 2008. I've been fortunate to have a EPT title from Vilamoura in 2010 for €480,000. My biggest online score is $170,000 from the 2011 $10,000 SCOOP Main Event (6th place).
PokerStars Blog: How did you come to start playing in the first place?
Toby Lewis: I learned poker through playing, watching on TV, chatting with friends about strategy, etc. Some of them were more influential than others, but there's still far to many to name. I would say the best learning tool is just playing and learning how to deal with different situations that arise.
PokerStars Blog: TCOOP's format is, by definition really fast. In your normal life, do you like things fast or more slow-paced?
Toby Lewis: Slow paced. Definitely. I'm a pretty chilled-out person, although I do like to keep busy doing different things each day.
PokerStars Blog: Why did TCOOP appeal to you?
Toby Lewis: TCOOP appealed to me for various reasons. I'm not the biggest fan of turbo tourneys as a rule, but I think this series brings a lot of runners and a lot of value. It also brings more players to the other MTT's which is helpful.
PokerStars Blog: Talk a little bit about your goals for the future.
Toby Lewis: I'm constantly setting new goals for my game. Lately I've been focusing on thinking better through hands and not just auto-pilioting as I've found myself doing this at the end of last year. Another key is preparation for a session. If it's live, preparation is having breakfast, reading the news, or going for a workout (the latter is hopeful usually). Online, it's the same really, just later in the day. So, I make sure I've done everything during the day and there's nothing to distract me whilst grinding in the evening.
PokerStars Blog: Have you had any change in philosophy that's helped your game?
Toby Lewis: A good friend of mine told me to keep it simple and think methodically, which is very true from my experience. Keep a clear head, and you can't blame yourself when the cards don't fall your way.
PokerStars Blog: Finally, the screen name. Where did that come from?
Toby Lewis: The name "810ofclubs" was just my favorite hand at the time. I've had some awful screen names on other sites which I won't disclose. Aces is now my favorite hand, funny enough