An Interview with David Eller
By Randy Glover
You might remember David Eller from previous articles on Pokerpages.com, where I write about the NLHE tournaments I play on the Sun Cruz Casino. I'm the guy struggling with my little pile of chips, trying to eek into the money. David's the guy with the mountain of chips, scaring the heck out of the rest of us by constantly pushing chips into the pot, challenging us to guess whether he has a hand or not. Let's meet David Eller.
RG: David, tell me what has happened since your win at the 2001 WPO Omaha Eight or Better Hi/Lo Split tournament?
DE: Unfortunately, I have not been able to travel to out-of-town tournaments as much as I would like. I am self-employed, so it makes it very hard. Fortunately, there are two weekly tournaments I am able to play in, one in Port Canaveral, about an hour drive for me, and one in my hometown of Daytona Beach.
RG: How would you describe your basic playing style?
DE: I consider myself moderately aggressive. Most of my opponents consider me extremely aggressive. I seldom enter a pot without a raise, especially in a tournament. I learned the hard way that it is much more profitable to be on the offensive.
RG: You mentioned to me that after playing Huck Seed one time in a tournament, and having him push his chips at you time and time again, you changed your style. Can you elaborate on that?
DE: Improving your skills is a never-ending task. When I played my first 6 or 8 tournaments on the road, I noticed that the final two tables were typically comprised of the more aggressive players. I decided to apply this style to my weekly tournaments, where I found immediate success. I could not wait to take my new playing style and give it a try at a major tournament. So in April of 2001 I went to the World Poker Open in Tunica, Mississippi. This was my second trip. With my new style and a whole lot of luck, I was able to win the $500 buy-in Limit Omaha Eight event.
RG: What is your favorite game?
DE: Omaha Hi-Lo without a doubt. And it's not because I won that event at Tunica. It just seems to be the game that the weaker players play the worst. Hopefully, this will turn into more winning sessions for me.
RG: David, in the few months I have watched you play, I have seen you win a tournament more than 4 times. What set of skills do you feel like you possess that enables you to finish on top so often?
DE: On the Sun Cruz Casino and in my area, we have a pool of what seems like 100-125 regular players. When you play tournaments and live games with the same group, you obviously pick up on their style and tendencies. I think that is my biggest strength: the ability to pick up on tendencies and then act on those tendencies in the correct way given the situation.
RG: Could you give our readers a little more information about your progression from small-stakes player to your win at the 2001 WPO?
DE: Like a lot of players, I started at a very young age playing family and friends for nickels and dimes. About five years ago I started playing $2-$4, and $5-$10 games and realized that if I improved my skills I could potentially make a small profit at something I loved. So four years ago, my goal was to make enough money locally to finance 7-8 major events per year and perhaps parlay that into a big win and a big payday. I surprised myself when it happened so quickly. I really appreciate being able to do that, since there are a lot of very good players out there who have yet to achieve a victory in a major event.
RG: What was your first major tournament?
DE: I played in three events at the WPO in 2000. I placed in the top 20-30% in all three. That gave me an initial boost of confidence that I could at least compete on that level.
RG: Any books that you have read that have helped your game?
DE: I have read a few books, but I do most of my reading on PokerPages.com and Card Player. I highly recommend reading poker-related material as it will improve your game no matter what your skill level.
RG: Are there any players that significantly shaped your game?
DE: Not really. I observe every player's style and try to learn something from each.
RG: Do you enjoy ring games or tournaments more?
DE: Tournaments seem to satisfy my competitive cravings more than ring games. There is much more to think about than just playing good hands. You have to make more accurate decisions based on stack size, position, limits and time left until the next round.
RG: Do you keep a journal of your wins and losses? Do you think this is a must for players?
DE: Absolutely. I know where I stand in all games at all times. I recommend that all players at any limit or skill level maintain accurate records so that they will be able to evaluate their performance. As much as I love playing, if I was not a winning player I would move on to something else. The only way I know to do this is to keep honest and accurate records.
RG: What are your views on Internet poker?
DE: Unfortunately I love it. Sometimes I spend more time than I should playing. I have had moderate success in the on-line tournaments, but I am not doing so well in the ring games.
RG: What are your hobbies and interests outside of poker?
DE: I enjoy golf and softball. I sponsor and coach my stepson Scott's baseball team and get a tremendous amount of satisfaction from that.
RG: Any special preparations for the 2003 WPO?
DE: Practice, practice, practice. Between my weekly tournaments and the Internet, I play 4-5 tournaments per week. I did not finish in the money in the 4 events I played in the 2002 WPO, so I am looking forward to getting back to some final tables.
RG:David, thanks so much for taking the time for this interview. I believe that the readers of Pokerpages.com will be able to learn a great deal from your responses.
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