Poker News Daily: How did you get started in poker?
Rheem: I’m Asian and gambling is in most Asian people’s blood. My dad hosted home games when I was young. When I was 18 years-old, I went to an Indian casino. While I was there, I met the Mizrachi brothers, Michael and Robert. Poker is fast money and the competition is something that I immediately latched onto.
PND: How has playing poker changed your life?
Rheem: With regards to the 2008 WSOP Main Event, poker has changed my life a lot. If anyone wants to make a final table in any tournament, this is one the one you want to make. Since the final table doesn’t occur until 100 days after it’s determined, it’s obviously all very new to me. If I had made the final table in 2007, it would have been different. It’s the biggest accomplishment of my poker career. Making the 2008 Main Event final table has changed my life financially and has allowed me to get endorsement deals. It’s a lot to take in all at once, but it gives me a great deal of pride and satisfaction.
PND: What advice do you have for people starting off in poker?
Rheem: Gamble responsibly. It really helps to be able to manage your bankroll properly, especially in tournaments. There is a high risk factor that you’re not going to get a return on your money. It’s not easy to make money in tournaments. Being a good poker player is not just about being a good card player. My best advice for a newcomer is to be a smart poker player overall.
PND: What is a good guideline for bankroll management?
Rheem: I’ve been known to buy into a tournament for my entire bankroll. However, my advice for other people would be: if you’re going to buy into a tournament, you should do so for no more than 2-3% of what your bankroll is worth. It’s especially important if you’re going into it without an expectation to win.
PND: Did the Mizrachi brothers serve as your mentors growing up in poker?
Rheem: As far as learning the ins and outs of the game, it was the Mizrachis. They taught me a lot about poker. I picked up the game really fast. For advanced plays that I make now, I give them credit; they taught me things like inducing bluffs and helped me fine-tune my game. As time goes on, you make key mistakes when you play. When you talk about it with friends, it helps. I’m fortunate to have successful friends in poker, so I take their criticism seriously.
PND: What area of your game are you looking to improve?
Rheem: I’d have to say the tilt factor. I can go on tilt by losing one hand. At any given moment, I could be the chip leader and then tilt all of my chips away. I also need to work on not paying people off on the river. If I know I’m beat, I’ll call to see the hand anyway. I’m good at formulating what the person has, but I wish I could let my curiosity go more often. If I could fine-tune both of them, it will make me a lot better.
PND: Whose game do you respect the most?
Rheem: Barry Greenstein is a phenomenal player and his accomplishments in poker go without saying. That’s why Barry is who he is. He understands what’s going on in every hand. He has the ability to cut his losses in every hand.