In recent weeks, Nick PureCash25Rampone (pictured) took down the Full Tilt Poker $250,000 Guaranteedafter a heads-up chop for $47,000. He has had two tracked scores of over $100,000, but, according to our little chat, his most memorable in the money finish came in a $1 buy-in tournament nearly 10 years ago for $300. Here’s what the member of the British Columbia poker community had to say.
PocketFives: Awesome job in the Full Tilt Poker $250K. Tell us how you’re feeling about it.
Nick Rampone: Thank you for reaching out. As for how I feel after the score, I feel great. Things went my way in about every manner they could, which I think is important to acknowledge because it’s difficult to have success in an individual tournament without being fortunate many times over. I had a great seat at the final table, I had big hands in timely moments, stack sizes became very favorable for me, and the list goes on.
As for things I could control and the decisions I was presented with, I’m also very happy with how I navigated those choices, although I was far from perfect. The final table was indeed tough with several familiar faces, so you’re going to need to play relatively mistake-free and have things go your way in order to come out on top, and that’s exactly how it happened for me.
PocketFives: Speaking of the final table, can you talk about the play of Toby 810ofclubsLewis and Griffin Flush_EntityBenger (pictured), who are two of the top-ranked players on PocketFives and finished second and third, respectively?
Nick Rampone: They’re both excellent players. Of the two, I’m a bit more familiar with Toby despite not having played a ton with him in crucial moments. I’ve read a couple of articles about him and came away very impressed with his demeanor and his approach to poker. I know he’s good friends with some of the top players in the game, so having that brain-trust to develop poker ideas with, combined with a level-headed approach, is bound to produce a formidable skill set.
Both of these guys played with a nice pace down the stretch in this tournament. They earned chips in spots without getting carried away and adapted to changing dynamics, primarily stack sizes, very well on the fly. Previously, I mentioned that I drew an excellent seat at the final table. This was because I had Toby on my immediate right and Griffin across the table from me. Things very well might have gone much differently had the three of us played musical chairs.
Six-handed, I emerged as a clear chip leader and conveniently all five of my opponents had the same stack of around 20 big blinds. Those two did a nice job of staying out of trouble and I think their experience was a big component of them ending up second and third out of that five-way tie.
PocketFives: You had a $262,000 cash on Full Tilt Poker in 2008 in a Two-Day FTOPS event. How much did that score change your poker career?
Nick Rampone: I’m not entirely sure how that score changed my career, but I do know there were good and bad things that resulted from it. Bad news first! I thought I was invincible. I think it may have been years before the effect that score had on inflating my ego had fully worn off. I was ignorant to what my actual skill level was: far below what I thought it was, that’s for sure.
Over the next few years, as I predictably stopped having once-in-a-lifetime scores, I was blaming bad luck for my non-epic results. I also thought I was working hard to improve my game. However, the reality was I was simply ignorant of my skill level and what hard work actually was.
The good news about the score was that I was a senior in college. That weekend, we rented a stretch Hummer to take 30 of us from campus to the bars downtown an hour away. And it became the down payment on my home in Vegas.
Nick Rampone: I started playing $5 home games with friends my senior year of high school. We all went off to separate colleges and could no longer play. One day, we started playing together at play money tables on Full Tilt. Eventually, I won a freeroll for $5. I lost the minimum buy-in for the smallest cash game on the site at the time twice and had a dollar left.
The only way I could put the $1 in play on the site was in a $1 tournament that ran once a week. I remember being so excited because one of the 600 runners was a Red Pro: Kristy Gazes. I won it for about $300, sent half of that to several friends, and the rest became my bankroll for a long, long grind up the stakes over many years. I felt great after taking third in that FTOPS event for $262,000, but I’ve had no greater thrill in poker than winning that $1 tournament all those years ago.
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