Ryan ryanghallHall made the most of the final Sunday of May. The Hamilton, Ontario native finished second in the PokerStarsSunday Warm-Up and banked $110,000 following a two-way chop. Hall fell to PokerStars member Boruzzein the finale of the $215 buy-in poker tournament, which attracted a field of 4,029 players. One month prior, Hall took down the PokerStars $55 rebuy for $41,000 and, back in February, he finished second in the Full Tilt Poker $100 rebuy for $34,000. Hall owns the 18th spot in the Sortable Rankings for Canada and sat down with PocketFives.com to recap his run.
PocketFives.com: Thanks for joining us and congratulations on your rock solid Sunday showing in the Warm-Up. Boruzze and you each earned about $110,000 following the chop. Walk us through the event up until that point.
Ryan Hall: The first big hand I remember was with three or four tables left. I was getting short and a short stack min-raised under the gun. I was terrified and had A-Q, so I had to get it in because I had about 12 or 13 big blinds. I got called behind by A-K and the short stack held K-K. I flopped a queen, rivered another queen, and in retrospect that was probably the nicest card I’ve ever seen.
I won a couple of big hands at the final two tables and went into the final table with the chip lead. I won a couple of early hands at the final table and got a big chip lead. Then, I lost a pot where I was favored, lost a flip, and all of a sudden, I was right with the pack with five players left. Some things went right, though, and I got heads-up.
PocketFives.com: Tell us about the poker scene in Hamilton.
Ryan Hall: In Hamilton, there traditionally isn’t a lot. Scossett is a big player and a friend of mine. He plays the high-stakes heads-up and turbo sit and gos, so we hang out sometimes, but he recently moved to Toronto. There are some up-and-comers from Hamilton. Watch out for Dan shadyj10McGregor and Leroy Wong.
PocketFives.com: Your largest online poker cash came in 2008, when you took down a $300 Cubed event during the Full Tilt Online Poker Series (FTOPS) for $159,000. What did that cash do for your career?
Ryan Hall: That basically solidified me as an MTT player. I played a lot of sit and gos and that big cash made me realize how exciting and lucrative MTTs can be. I knew Russell rdcrsn Carson and he helped me make the transition and taught me quite a lot. After the switch to MTTs, I didn’t play many sit and gos anymore and now I’m exclusively an MTT player with the exception of some live cash games.
PocketFives.com: Talk about the impact of Russell Carson on your game.
Ryan Hall: He was an incredible help. As a sit and go player, I had some bad habits that needed to be taken out of my game to make the transition to MTTs and he transformed my game so I could be a winner. Since then, Eric sheets Haber has helped me a lot and I highly recommend PokerXFactor.com to anyone who wants to learn the game.
PocketFives.com: When will you be headed to Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker (WSOP)?
Ryan Hall: I teach high school and the last day is June 30th, so I’m flying out there that night. I’m going to play the $1,000 event on July 1st, the $2,500 event on the 2nd, and the Main Event. After that, I’m definitely going to play EPT Tallinn and maybe EPT Portugal. Then, it’s back to work for me.
PocketFives.com: How has it been juggling poker and teaching? We’d imagine that the early mornings are pretty rough.
Ryan Hall: The early mornings are killer. It’s definitely the worst part of the job. Teaching takes a fair amount of work, though, and takes away from my poker. It’s actually really hard to balance the two and I wish I could spend more time on poker. I haven’t ruled out taking a leave for a year or two in the near future, however, to concentrate more on poker. The summer off is definitely perfect, though. I hope they never move the date of the WSOP Main Event!
PocketFives.com: How did you get started in poker?
Ryan Hall: I got into teaching before poker. I was a substitute teacher at first and wasn’t getting much work. In retrospect, I’m thankful for that because that’s when I took up poker. I would have never deposited my own money into online poker because I’m paranoid and careful with money.
I played some play money tournaments on Paradise Poker and they offered me $2 free. I grinded it up playing $0.02/$0.04 Limit and never deposited my own money at any point. I just kept moving up in limits and working my way through the ranks using online forums to improve my game.
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