Ding Dong, Wedding Bells are Ringing

Published on Mar 11th, 2012

It has been quite some time since PocketFives sat down with David Doc Sands Sands (pictured). Following Black Friday, Sands, an American poker pro, was forced to rethink his career. We caught up with him a week removed from his second place finish in the World Poker Tour's L.A. Poker Classic for $806,000, a tournament that featured a final table stacked with decorated poker players, while he was parading down the West Coast of the United States scouting potential wedding sites.

PocketFives: Thanks for joining us, David. Dan djk123 Kelly (pictured), a World Series of Poker bracelet winner, finished third in the L.A. Poker Classic for $521,000. Can you evaluate his live game for us?

David Sands: I played with him on three different days and he opens more than anyone else I played with. He is one of the best pre-flop players out there, loves to 3bet and 4bet, and plays a really good pre-flop game. He and I shared a strategy where we both min-raised. We wanted to keep pots small pre-flop. I'm a big fan of his game pre-flop and of how he thinks about poker.

His relative weakness is his post-flop play on turns and rivers. He plays close to perfect pre-flop and very well, but not perfect, post-flop. He plays super aggressive, puts pressure on his opponents, and leverages ICM well. He changes gears better than I thought he did. Back when he played online, it was all aggression from him, but now it's obvious that he's figured out how to change gears. He was definitely playing to win and at the final table, I thought he was my biggest threat to win the tournament.

PocketFives: Taking fourth in the L.A. Poker Classic was Noah fouruhaters Schwartz (pictured), who has nearly $1 million in tracked online cashes. What is your take on his game?

David Sands: Noah would tell you that he didn't bring his A-game. He has a really tight image, which it seemed like he likes to perpetuate; he likes to advertise that he's tight. We were six-handed, I had 35 big blinds, and I raised with queens. He 3bet the button, I 4bet all-in, and he thought for four minutes before calling with 9-9. That hand kind of raised question marks in my mind. Props to him for thinking about it, but I would have beaten me into the pot with nines.

Noah seemed to pick his spots pre-flop to 3bet. He seemed to recognize his image, played it up, and took advantage of it. He set lines really wide. He also liked to peel flops with pocket pairs. I thought he played quite well, but he obviously made some fairly substantial mistakes at the final table to go out in fourth.

PocketFives: What about the play of Jason JCarver Somerville (pictured), who took sixth?

David Sands: He crippled me with about 11 people left with kings versus my tens in a blind-versus-blind situation. He definitely played tighter pre-flop and liked to call more pre-flop than I do, but he seemed to play well post-flop. He also played very tight, especially pre-flop, and it ended up working out for him. He was the chip leader with 11 people left.

PocketFives: The L.A. Poker Classic Main Event boasted one of the toughest final 12 in WPT history. Besides the three PocketFivers we just asked you about, in the top 12 were the likes of Allen Carter, David "The Dragon" Pham, Stephen stevie444 Chidwick, Sorel Imper1um Mizzi, Jason TheMasterJ33 DeWitt, and Joe Hachem. What caused that?

David Sands: A couple of things. I was telling people from Day 1 that it was an especially tough field. It's such a prominent event and draws pros from North America and Europe. With 12 people left, there were eight players in the top 100 in the world. I felt fortunate to come into the final table with a decent stack. It was also a great structured tournament early on. It got fast at the final table, but up until then, you always had plenty of chips. That obviously benefits the good players.

PocketFives: Okay, enough with the WPT. Can you tell us your engagement story?

David Sands: Erika Moutinho and I got engaged right after the WSOP. We were super-happy. After the L.A. Poker Classic was the first time we've had a chance to look at wedding venues, so that's what we're doing now. We are in Southern California around the Newport Beach area looking at venues. Things are hectic.

PocketFives: What can you share about your wedding plans? When should we show up?

David Sands: We're looking at April or May of 2013, so we still have plenty of time to plan. What surprises me is how fast these venues fill up. Even though it doesn't seem like there should be urgency, there is. Once we get the date and venue nailed down, it'll be less hectic.

PocketFives: You and Erika (pictured) both drove deep in the 2011 WSOP Main Event, finishing 30th and 29th, respectively. Did the 2011 WSOP Main Event change your relationship in any way?

David Sands: I wouldn't say it changed our relationship. I knew I really liked Erika and vice-versa, but it was so evident on TV. That was Erika's first deep run in a big event. She went through the ups and downs of playing poker like I do. One of the most positive outcomes is that she's much more able to sympathize with what I go through as a poker player. Now, we can relate to each other more.

PocketFives: What has your poker career been like since Black Friday?

David Sands: I haven't played much online. I feel like my edge is bigger live now than it ever was online. I also enjoy live poker more. There used to be a time when I'd enjoy playing three or four days of online poker a week and that just doesn't happen anymore. I would play every Sunday if I could from the USA, but I like my core group of friends in Las Vegas, spend time with my parents in Arizona, and travel a lot. There isn't a lot of time to go to Vancouver or somewhere outside of the U.S. to play.

I feel fortunate that I'm not in a position financially to have to play online. One of the reasons I love poker is that I enjoy playing it. I'm not in it for any other reason, so there's no reason to go out of my way to play online right now.


  1. lol

  2. ^^^

  3. Nice article about real honest individuals once again. My former heros, Phil I, Erick L, Ferguson, H Lederer, Layne F, etc. are all disappointing low life who owe money to others, especially to FTP and thus to many of us who are honest abiding poker players unlike those guys. Hopefully they will all go to jail and play with themselves only.

  4. Doc, check out Cannon's Seafood Restaurant in Dana Point, overlooking the harbor. My daughter got married there in Oct, and it was a great venue for an outdoor wedding. Congrats.

    Edited By: RANDYPET Mar 12th, 2012 at 05:45 AM
  5. How romantic <3


    GL with everything in the future David and Erika.

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