WCOOP 2013: Stevie444 floating, tanking, and calling his shot
Stephen "stevie444" Chidwick wasn't even sure he believed it himself, but he did it anyway. When he started played the WCOOP Badugi event earlier this week, he turned to his roommate (PokerStars players know him as ImaLucSac) and made the boldest of predictions.
Chidwick looked up from his computer and said, "Dylan, its 10/20, I have 8k chips, and I'm calling my shot: I'm gonna win this Badugi thing."
It was a brash and unlikely prediction from a man of Chidwick's demeanor. But he said it. Right there in front of his similarly talented roommate. Chidwick declared he was going to win a WCOOP bracelet.
"I'm not sure either of us really believed it for several more hours," he said.
To understand this, you have to understand where Chidwick is coming from. And you have to know that when he talks about floating, he's talking about a lot more than taking a card off after a less than favorable flop.
If you know anything about Chidwick, you know he's been supporting himself playing poker since the very second he reached legal age. For a lot of people, that could result in some quick burnout. Not for Chidwick, though. It's hard to burn out when you spend so much time in the water.
See, Chidwick is into sensory deprivation. Specifically, so-called flotation tanks. If you have never heard of them, this is how Chidwick described them for us.
"They are space-age looking pods with about a foot of super-saturated salt solution allowing you to float effortlessly," he said. "After you close the lid, you are plunged into complete silence and pitch blackness."
What's more, while Chidwick is in the tank, the water and air are heated to his exact body temperature, so he and fellow isolation tank enthusiasts feel like they are floating in midair.
"The complete lack of external stimuli encourages your brain to operate on a different frequency," Chidwick said. "It goes from emitting alpha and beta waves to producing theta waves, which is also the change observed in Buddhist monks during deep meditation."
Chidwick attributes his time in the tank to both physical and mental improvements, and he's surprised more people don't know about it.
"One day I would like to open a floatation tank business in Vancouver and try to contribute to a more widespread use of this incredible tool," he said.
If you're a doubter, you need to consider Chidwick isn't a fanciful new age guru. He just won a WCOOP bracelet. He has a SCOOP title. He's been playing professionally for years. He's traveled all over the world. He's exactly the kind of poker professional who knows how to stay in the game without burning out. All of that despite being exactly the kind of person who could have easily gone off the edge.
"I have a diagnosed mental disorder that results in me having very rare but quite severe manic episodes," he revealed. "Luckily throughout my travels I have become close friends with a number of amazing human beings who are always by my side through thick and thin and who I couldn't be more thankful for."
That's Stephen Chidwick, a humble kid from a small fishing town in the South of England, a kid who has won more money than most people can ever dream of, and a kid who looks up to his contemporaries (On Dan"djk123" Kelly: "At a very young age, he has become one of the most accomplished and respected players both live and online in every game. He's also one of the most humble guys you will ever meet, and is always down to fire up a game a of backgammon or Chinese.") Moreover, he's a kid who--after all of it--can still get excited about winning. After he hit his called shot in the Badugi tournament, he celebrated.
"I have always been highly motivated by wins and accolades moreso than money," he said. "So, to capture my first WCOOP bracelet was a great feeling. I was dancing around my computer when the final pot got shipped my way."
What's next? It's impossible to say. After winning a world championship, a lot of people might think they had reached a pinnacle. Chidwick has other plans. But don't ask him what they are.
"They are too ambitious to tell you," he said. "Lets just say I don't plan on slowing down any time soon."
Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging