Who is #1PEN?
There were a lot of questions last night about the identity of #1PEN, the third place finisher in Event #2 of the World Championship of Online Poker. As the 18 final table finishers have already found, the PokerStars Blog is the one source for turning these players from faceless, nameless avatars into real people.
So, who is #1PEN?
He is Peter Neff, a college student from Irvine, CA. Here's how he responded to some of my questions.
PokerStars Blog: What was it like to make a final table at WCOOP and finish as well as you did?
#1PEN: It was fun to play for 12 hours with some of the best pl omaha players in the world and also nice to know that I could compete on the same level as them. I had a lot of friends over at my house watching and and even more watching over the internet so I did have some pressure on me, but I think I impressed most of them.
PokerStars Blog: Are you a full-time player or do you have a regular job? If you have a day job, what is it?
#1PEN: I go to college at UC Irvine but I play about 15-25 hours a day on poker stars, Ive considered poker my job for the last year or 2, never really had a real job.
PokerStars Blog: Do you have any plans for the money you won in WCOOP?
#1PEN: I told some of my friends that were over with about 200 people left that I would throw a BBQ party if i finished in the top 5, so Im sure they're gonna hold me to that.
PokerStars Blog: How long have you been playing poker?
#1PEN: About 2 years
PokerStars Blog: Is this your biggest win to date or have you had others?
#1PEN: Yes this is my biggest win, I did finish at a final table on the Sunday $215 a couple months ago and finished in 8th place and won about $10k
PokerStars Blog: What is your best poker game?
#1PEN: Limit holdem, I play 30-60 most of the time, should be able to play a little more 100-200 now though.
PokerStars Blog: Any particular moments in the tournament when you thought, "I'm going to make the final table?"
#1PEN: Yes, 28 people left, i won a 800k pot with aces, knocked out 2 people and became the chip leader, after that hand I would have considered anything short of the final table a dissappointment
PokerStars Blog: Any goals for your poker play?
#1PEN: I'd like to make another final table in this year's WCOOP, and just build up my bankroll before I turn 21 (I turn 20 on January 21st) so I can play in a lot of big events (WPT, WSOP etc.). Obviously I would want to win a big tournament like that, so I'd like to get to that point eventually.
PokerStars Blog: If you have a basic poker philosophy, what is it?
#1PEN: Well I could probably write a book about it, but basically tight-aggressive play, very rarely limping in when blinds get to be bigger and bigger. I tend to respect check-raises a lot, maybe too much sometimes, and when blinds are 30 minutes long I just try to never go all in without the nuts, or very close to it.
PokerStars Blog: Tell me a little about yourself.
#1PEN: I have lived in my hometown, Oak Park, California my whole life, I go to UC Irvine (going to start my second year in the fall), Im a math major and I do use a lot of math when I play. I played football and basketball in high school, still play them for fun, but not as competitive, never had a real job because Ive been making enough money playing poker for the last 2 years, all of my friends play poker and some are pretty good players, they just don't have the time and bankroll to play competitively.
PokerStars Blog: Any particular meaning or story behind your screen name?
#1PEN: Not really, PEN are my initals, and the #1 is kinda in contrast to a #2 pencil, and its kinda cool to be listed at the top or near the top at every tournament that I play in.
PokerStars Blog: Did you play with any of the pros during the tournament? How did you do against them?
#1PEN: I didn't play against any pros but did play against rabscuttle (obviously at the final table) and ackbleh who I consider top online players. I did very well against ackbleh, I reraised him a few times and took down a few big pots and then took him out with aces against kings, and I didnt really play very many pots against rabscuttle.
PokerStars Blog: How did you learn to play poker?
#1PEN: I started playing poker with my friends after seeing it on ESPN, and my friend justin moskowitz put together a couple tables at his house and we started playing there all the time. His dad, Dave who has played in several big tournaments, taught me about pot odds, implied odds, and table image. I have also watched him in several tournaments and that really tought me how to play tournament poker.
PokerStars Blog: Is poker a game that is played a lot in your family, or are you the only one who plays?
#1PEN: My dad has been playing pokerstars for about 3 months now, mostly playing $6.50 one table sit and gos. Im trying to teach him how to play.
PokerStars Blog: Is there a lot of live poker in your hometown? What's it like there?
#1PEN: Poker is growing very fast in Oak Park. There are plenty of home games all the time. I play sit and gos with my friends about once a week, but there are kids all around that are playing poker every day.
PokerStars Blog: Is there anybody you look up to in the poker world? Heroes?
#1PEN: I would say that I have the most respect for Brunson, Ivey and Lederer. They act with the most class while they're playing, they have been very consistant over the last few years and they're fun to watch.