Interview: Peter Eastgate
Hometown: Odense, Denmark
Biggest Cash: $9,152,416
Best Known For: Winning the 2008 WSOP Main Event
Amidst an exciting and hectic time of his life, Peter Eastgate was gracious enough to answer a few questions for our readers. Two weeks ago, Peter became the youngest World Champion in the history of poker when he defeated Russian Ivan Demidov heads-up for the title.
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PokerTips.org: How long have you been playing poker and what are some of the things you credit with helping you become a good player?
Eastgate: Four years. The main reason I got better and became a winning player is due to all the hours I've put into the game. I wished I initially approached the game more seriously in terms of reading books and paying a lot more attention to the very educational forums out there. After two years of hobby playing, I finally paid off my tuition money and started to gain money from being a breakeven player. I kinda learned by the concept of you burn your hands by putting them in a certain spot. You instinctively learn in time that it is causing you injuries, so you develop ideas on how to avoid or damage control those situations.
PokerTips.org: Do you recall how many all-ins (where you were the one all-in and called for your tournament life) you had to survive during the Main Event?
Eastgate: I was all in twice during the tournament. Shortly after the bubble burst on Day 3 with Aces vs. AK and once on Day 4 with Queens vs AK.
PokerTips.org: Tell us what the four month wait before the final table was like. How did you pass the time?
Eastgate: I passed the time by traveling a lot, playing poker, hanging out with friends and family and doing my normal routine of being lazy.
PokerTips.org: What's it like to be from a small country (Denmark has close to 6 million people) and have won the Main Event? Has there been a lot of excitement for you back home?
Eastgate: From what I've heard Denmark is going crazy. I've been all the front stuff on all the major newspapers. My phone has been ringing nonstop and basically everyone just want to get in contact with me. My friends and family have been very supportive as they were both before and during the play, and I feel confident about the future challenges of being a World Champion.
PokerTips.org: How did you rate your chances of winning prior to the start of the final table? And how did you rate them before starting your heads-up match against Demidov?
Eastgate: I've been playing professionally for more than two years, which probably made me one of the most experienced even though I was youngest player at the table. I felt confident about my game, I had discussed strategy with a numerous amount of pros, but basically superficial stuff. I have a good idea of what poker is all about, which is to adapt to your opponents. The main thing is to get into your opponents head and get a feel of how they are thinking and thereby counteract accordingly. Even though many situations seem similar you always need to beware of the recent history, sequences, dynamic, tells etc....
I regarded my chances against Demidov exclusively to the chip count as I thought we were evenly skilled.
PokerTips.org: The difference between first and second was about $3.3 million. Did you and Demidov consider making a deal?
Eastgate: Don't know if Demidov was, but he did not approach me and I wasn't thinking about it.
PokerTips.org: Is it true that the Main Event was the first live tournament you ever played in the U.S.? What were the circumstances that led to you playing in the tournament?
Eastgate: Yes, I heard about the great value in the tournament but I had never been to Vegas before. Like many people, I had seen the ESPN broadcasts from previous years and thought it could be cool to make it there myself. So I decided to try it out ;)
PokerTips.org: What are your plans for the next few months?
Eastgate: Play live tournaments and enjoy life everyday.
PokerTips.org: Finally, what advice could you give to our readers who hope to follow in your footsteps and become next year's World Champion?
Eastgate: My victory is a proof of how quickly you can progress if put a lot of effort in analyzing and be serious about your game. Always be open to new ideas on how to play different situations. Evaluate each session by picking out critical situations and think of how you could play differently (rest assured sometimes you did the right thing, but it simply wasn't your day). You should evaluate each session as it's possible to have a winning one despite playing terrible.
And even though you probably won't become the next world champion, keep in mind that poker is about making the right decisions and having fun, so be cool no matter if you are on a winning streak or a losing streak.