In this edition of 15 Outs, LA Mike spent a few minutes with online/live pro J.C. Alvarado. Once known primarily as a top-notch online player (PrtyPSux), Alvarado broke out onto the live scene last year with a number of deep cashes on the tournament circuit.
The highlight of J.C.’s ’07 was his runner-up performance to the “other J.C.” (Tran) at the WPT event in Reno, Nevada, which netted Alvarado a cool $366,798. Let’s get to the questions.
LAMike: What’s more important to you at this point: Winning titles and the associated prestige…or is it all about the cash?
JCAlvarado: At this point, it’s all about cash. I definitely need it!
LA: Going a step further: Poker-related goals for the New Year?
JCA: My goal was to win $2 million this year, including one major win. (Either a WPT title or a bracelet) I think I might have set the bar a little too high considering I’m not playing enough to get to my goal at this point, but who knows what will happen. (LA: LA’s goal for the year is to take down a $40 sit n go at the WSOP this year!)
LA: Obviously, you started by playing online. After the Absolute Poker mess, do you still have faith in the online security of the major sites?
JCA: I’m always worried, however, I still play on the two major sites. When it was only Absolute Poker, I didn’t mind playing on other sites. But now that UB was added on to the scandal, I’m worried that this might be a much more common thing than we think. (LA: LA will take an educated guess and assume the two sites you do still play on are Stars and Tilt?)
LA: Could anything positive come out of this, maybe awareness?
JCA: I think it’s really a huge deal, but the poker community has an insanely short-term memory and seems to have a tendency of letting this type of stuff slide. I really hope something positive comes out of all of this, it’s really bad for online poker.
LA: With regards to Absolute: Never play there again or could venture there in the future?
JCA: I actually never played there in the first place and obviously now never will. I think it it’s a shame the site is still up and running.
LA: If you were named Commissioner of the WSOP, what changes would you make immediately?
JCA: I think the WSOP is getting too greedy and it will become way too big of a mess if they don’t drastically slow down. I would definitely fix the structures. Also, I’d try to restore the value of a bracelet somehow. At the current rate, they’ll be awarding bracelets to satellite winners! (LA: Sweet! Great idea awarding bracelets to satellite winners!)
LA: Too many large buy-in events for the majority of the players?
JCA: There are too many events period and now like eight $10k tournaments in ONE MONTH! That is insane, and at the rate it’s going it very well may end up busting a lot of players.
LA: Is there a favorite hand that you play that you often say to yourself, “Why the hell did I even play this hand, look at the mess I’m in now?”
JCA: In the Bellagio Championship event, I was probably top ten in chips at the end of day two and Roland De Wolfe barely had me covered. He raised and I called with 5d 2d. The flop was Kd Qd 2c and I ended up going broke for the chip lead in the tournament versus his KQ. I probably should have just folded that hand preflop in that situation. (LA: So brutal, did Roland at least have on a pretty shirt?)
LA: Quite often on the tourney circuit I hear West Coast pros poking fun at the way the East Coast guys play no-limit hold’em. Is there really that big of a difference in playing styles?
JCA: Yes, pretty much the West Coast donkeys are total maniacs while the East Coast donks are complete nits. As for the good players though, I think they play fairly similar regardless of where they’re from. East Coast guys may be a bit tighter, but a lot of them are still really good regardless.
LA: Every poker player has a music collection to prevent boredom during events. What’s on your iPod during a tournament?
JCA: A huge range of things are on my iPod. Rap usually at the beginning, radio shows like PokerRoad and stand-up CDs when I’m trying to play tight. Sometimes, I’ll even listen to opera. (LA: Wtf, is PokerRoad Radio?)
LA: How about on a cross-country flight?
JCA: I usually go the route of a show I haven’t seen. The last flight was “Weeds.”
LA: Can’t miss concert or someone you really want to see play live?
JCA: I really haven’t been to many shows, but I really want to go see a Kanye (West) concert at some point.
LA: Random, goofy question. You’re allowed to select any super power, what’s your choice?
JCA: Mind-reading OBV!
LA: Wrapping things up, other than the nightly one thousand seven hundred and thirty-eight online tournaments, what’s your schedule looking like?
JCA: I’m definitely not traveling to the East Coast anymore and I’m not sure if I’ll be at Bay 101 or not yet. I’ll be in Reno for sure and then the majority of the Vegas events until after the WSOP. (LA: You better consider picking up a part-time job for those eight $10k WSOP events!)
LA: Well played J.C., we’ll see you at a final table soon!