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When you interview a World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner there is one benefit if you are at The Rio. You can interview them in the Diamond Lounge. It’s pretty sweet. There is an exclusive elevator that takes you to the secret lair, like you see in the movies. There is also free food, but I gave it a pass as the pretzels looked like large giant penises and it put me off my food.

Anyway, I digress. I am the guest of Dutch Boyd, the winner of three World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets, over $2.4m in live tournament earnings, and the author of one of the best poker books I have ever read: Poker Tilt.

He chomps on a penis pretzel, and I order the green teas.

Dutch, it was a short walk from the poker room to this lounge and you seemed to know everyone.

“That’s a little bit of an exaggeration Lee. I saw five people and they said hello.”

Does life get very lonely when the WSOP ends?

“Yes, I would say so. There is only one place in the world, and one time of the year when I walk around and people say, “Hey Dutch, what’s up man?” before fist pumping my hand. After this is done I can walk through Walmart, do my grocery shopping and be just another guy.

“It’s so easy for poker players to look at the WSOP as nothing but a reunion with their buddies. The reason we are here is to play poker, and win bracelets. I see a lot of players make the mistake of focusing too much attention on partying, and not their game. When you aren’t playing you shouldn’t be hanging out with friends in Spearmint Rhino. You should be watching the live streams, reading books and improving your game.”

Is it a struggle to get back into the normality of life after the WSOP ends? Do you get sad?

“Absolutely, it’s very hard to get back into the normal routine. It goes by very quickly. Sometimes you have a good year, and sometimes it’s bad, but every year ends in disappointment. The last event is the Main Event, you get knocked out, and it doesn’t matter how deep you go, you feel like crap. This is the best part of the WSOP. This is where you have anticipation that things can go well. When they do, that trumps this part, but this is the best part you can count on.”

How has it started for you?

“For nine people it started very well. For me, I have cashed in one of the first six events. So it’s not going to be a whiff. I get to keep the streak going. I have cashed every year since 2008. That’s the only year I have never cashed. It was a very bad year for me. Then I met Michelle and everything from then has been great.”

Does Michele prefer life during the WSOP or outside of the WSOP?

“I think Michele prefers life outside of the WSOP, because this is the only time of the year she has to be nice to me {laughs}. I come home in a bad mood, and if she’s in a bad mood she will swallow her tongue because she doesn’t want to throw me off my game. She is really nice to me for six weeks, and then when I get knocked out of the Main Event, she puts the leash back on.”

dutch and michele

There are times in every person’s career, when relationships do come second, that can be tough right?

“It’s interesting because I think both success and failure in poker can kill relationships. I have lost count of the number of players who have had big scores and have then dropped their girlfriend. I am not even joking. I met Michelle seven years ago. We met at The Rio. She realizes that we are in this for the long haul so success or failure in poker doesn’t change anything for us. She has seen me at my lowest, and she has seen me win bracelets.”

How has your Twitching been going?

“I love Twitch. I think it’s awesome. I didn’t really get it until I started interacting with people on Twitch. It’s like hanging out with somebody. Before the WSOP we got into a good routine of streaming every day. We were on everyday, playing small stakes. It’s legal, and that’s why we are on there, and not veering onto other sites. We are trying to build a regulated online environment in the States, so we have to support what we have got.”

The last time we spoke you were critiquing some of the Heartland Poker Tour footage, are you still into that?

“That’s been my favorite part of doing Twitch. Before the Vegas workers finish work nothing is really going on except on the weekend. We needed something to do during the day, so I called the HPT and asked if we could do some analysis of their shows and they agreed. It takes us 6-7 hrs. to go through a 45-minute coverage. We go into great detail and I feel it’s really helped my game. If I come out and do well this year I will point to that experience as to why.”

You are a great orator, would you like to expand into a broadcast career?

“I am interested in doing other things rather than just playing, but I am always going to do Twitch. Even if I win the Main Event. I enjoy doing it, and I think it’s good for poker. Everyone thinks that Twitch is the future of poker because they can see it will bring new players into the ecosystem. That’s true, but I believe it’s there is a greater opportunity here. I believe Twitch is allowing people to realize that poker is a great game to watch, and this is really important for our future.

“When I look at the ecosystem of poker it’s such a negative sum game in terms of how much is taken out in terms of rake and buy-in. You can’t keep adding players, and thinking that will solve things. There are only so many new players who will turn 18/21. You will end up with an end to that chain, if there isn’t money coming into the economy except from the player’s pockets. If this doesn’t happen we are in trouble.

“Black Friday sped things along but it was always coming. Finding new players is a band-aid solution: The Moneymaker Effect, The Rounders Effect, and now The Twitch Effect. We need to make this a spectator sport so money comes into the economy rather than strangled out. I think Twitch can help that happen; Alex Dreyfus and the GPI can help that happen; ESPN can help that happen. This is one of the reasons I am sad that the Epic Poker League didn’t work out. I wished they could have pulled it off. I think it could have done wonders for our industry.”

“We all need to support people like Dreyfus. We have tried so many projects and they have all failed. One of these times it has to catch on. If it doesn’t, poker will die. It is in decline. The Colossus makes you think that poker is huge but it isn’t. If you look at the trends we are in a downward slide. Donnie Peters has just done an excellent article on the numbers in poker and how they are going down. The Main Event will have less numbers this year, not more. Something has to change, or we will die out. I don’t want the best days to be behind us. I don’t want the golden age of poker to be 2006.”

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Lee Davy

Life can be viewed as the sum of the parts or the parts themselves. I believe in the holistic view of life, or the sum. When dealing with individual parts you develop whack-a-mole syndrome; each time you clobber one problem with your hammer another one just pops up.