Interview: Nate McNiterson
This week, Nate McNiterson of the legendary McNiterson vs. Degenerito showdown was able to take a break from the daily grind to have a few words with us.
PokerTips.org: Thank you for taking the time to speak with us, Nate. First of all, tell us about how you started playing poker.
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McNiterson: During one summer home from college, a few of my buddies and I got a little devious on "guys' movie night" and started up a poker game while Men In Black played in the background. It was a dealer's choice game, but we mostly stuck to hold'em and 7-card stud. One of my crazier friends was trying to get us to play no-limit, but my motto is, you can't lose what you don't put in the middle. Anyway, I walked away the big winner from that game with $8. Since then, I've increased my poker skills and bankroll bit by bit.
PokerTips.org: So what do you do with your poker winnings?
McNiterson: I used to stupidly keep my money in my local savings account, making only 1.5% yearly interest. Recently, I learned about Orange online savings accounts where now my money gets 3.5% interest. When it comes to investing your money, you have to be willing to roll the dice from time to time, which is I was willing to do with an online organization like Orange.
PokerTips: Tell us about your most memorable and profitable session at the poker tables.
McNiterson: Haha... well I wouldn't advise anyone attempt this themselves, but one night I was watching Rounders. When Matt Damon's character had that line, "but then I learned that, if you're too careful, your whole life come a frickin' grind." Right then and there I was inspired to make a run for it myself. My bankroll at the time was $4,000, which means the highest I would ever play was $1/$2 limit hold'em homegames. I made a trip to a local poker parlor. I had been there once before, but immediately left after realizing their lowest stakes are $5/$10 limit. With 10% of my bankroll in hand, I bought into the game. Well, I don't want to brag or get all congratulatory towards myself, but let's just say my bankroll looked more like $4,250 by the time I left.
PokerTips.org: Wow, Nate. That sounds like it was quite the rush. You seem to be a pretty big stickler for bankroll management though. How did you feel the next day about making a Rounders-inspired run for it?
McNiterson: I woke up the next morning and literally felt sick to my stomach. I mean, I had eaten some chili the night before which might have had something to do with it. But as I sat on the toilet, I was just racked with guilt about my poor bankroll management. I've learned that you can't be results oriented in poker. Yes, I might have won during my "Big $5/$10 Run" (as my mother calls it), but that doesn't mean it was a smart decision. Thank god I didn't lose. If I had, I might have had to drop all the way down to $.50/$1 or try to organize a rare $.75/$1.50 game, which are my favorite stakes by the way.
PokerTips.org: Do you have a job? If so, what? What are some things you enjoy doing while not working or playing poker?
McNiterson: I am a software engineer. Away from work, I mostly just focus on building my bankroll and getting an adequate amount of sleep each night. I am a big proponent of what I call the "Nine for Prime" approach to sleep. Quite simply, my belief is that adults need at least nine hours of sleep each night to function at an optimal level.
PokerTips.org: You mentioned playing in home poker games, but do you ever play online? If so, where and for what stakes?
McNiterson: Play money at Party Poker. I am too concerned about the legality of online poker in my area to risk playing for real money. I also worry that the "random" shuffle might not be as random as they say. If there's one thing being a software engineer has taught me, it's that computers can be tricky things. I also read a lot about artificial intelligence. Am I saying Party Poker's random shuffler might have developed consciousness? Let's just say that if it has, it would make sure you could never prove it.