Poker News Daily: You finished as the runner up to Ryan “Daut44” Daut in the 2007 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, banking $861,000. Critique Daut’s play during that tournament.
Haxton: I thought he played really well. Going into the final table having played against all of those guys, he was the one who I knew the least about and was the least concerned with. He seemed to be playing pretty tight and straightforward and continued to do that until we got heads-up. I think he’s maybe a little bit too ABC in terms of playing, but he knows what he’s doing and played well.
PND: How did you get started in poker?
Haxton: The first time I played poker was with friends in high school. I started going to the local casino in upstate New York, Turning Stone, and played a bit in some home games in college. Then, I started playing online. When I put money online, I started taking poker more seriously.
PND: Was there a moment you realized that poker could be more than just a hobby?
Haxton: I started taking it seriously because it was something I could make money doing. I took a summer to play full-time. In that period, I moved up from playing $3-$6 Limit Hold’em to $30-$60 and occasionally bigger. I ran really well. In all honesty, I wasn’t good yet and I don’t think I’d be beating $3-$6 with that kind of skill level today. I thought I would get my degree, go to graduate school, and become a professional academic. I changed my mind about three years into college.
PND: Have your parents been supportive of your poker career?
Haxton: They have been supportive. It’s mostly been one less thing to worry about. It’s nice to have the support of your parents regardless of what you’re doing. I know a lot of my friends have to put up with a lot of crap from their parents who think they’re wasting their lives being professional gamblers. My parents understood it right off the bat. They’re both bright, mathematically inclined people. They had no trouble understanding that skill predominates in poker and the best player is a big favorite to make money in the long-run.
PND: Whose tournament game do you respect the most and why?
Haxton: All of the standard answers I agree with. In terms of players that people might not have heard about, there’s a guy who has been crushing $25-$50 on PokerStars, Deldar182. His real name is David Eldar and he’s from Australia. He was a teenage Scrabble champion and has been killing PokerStars over the last few months. Phil “Jman28” Galfond would also be near the top of the list.
PND: What advice do you have for beginners?
Haxton: Don’t go broke. Almost no one practices good bankroll management when they start out in poker. That’s why most of the professional players I know were very successful in the first six months when they started playing. In small-stakes games, you should have 40 buy-ins for a No Limit Hold’em game and 500 to 600 big bets for a Limit Hold’em game.
PND: Does being computer-oriented give you a leg up on the competition in poker?
Haxton: It’s helped. I have a reputation as a math guy that I don’t 100% deserve. It’s not like I’m sitting in front of my computer running simulations and crunching numbers all night. I play as much by feel as just about anyone else does, but at the same time, I think I understand the math more than my peers.