Adam Friedman Goes Into The Report Books With Again-To-Again-To-Again World Collection of Poker Titles


All through Adam Friedman’s poker profession, cash was at the start. The Ohio native was in it for monetary freedom, not the glory of successful tournaments.

4 World Collection of Poker bracelets later, the 39-year-old nonetheless has the identical outlook. However his fourth and most up-to-date bracelet made poker historical past, and even Friedman couldn’t ignore the non-monetary elements of his accomplishment within the 2021 version of the $10,000 Seller’s Alternative Championship.

“I’ve waited 28 months to play the Seller’s Alternative,” tweeted Friedman on Oct. 18, the primary day of the occasion. “For the primary and possibly final time in my life, I can say it’s not in regards to the cash. That is essentially the most excited and nervous I’ve been for a match because the first time I performed the primary occasion in 2005. Time to three-peat!”

Friedman defeated Stuart Rutter heads-up to win the match on the 2018 WSOP for $293,275 after which defeated Shaun Deeb on the 2019 collection for $312,417. With the absence of a dwell WSOP in 2020, it was greater than two years earlier than Friedman had an opportunity to set poker historical past.

No person within the historical past of the sport ever received the identical WSOP occasion three years in a row. Johnny Chan virtually did it within the 1987, 1988, and 1989 $10,000 no-limit maintain’em predominant occasion, however after successful titles the primary two years, he completed runner-up to now 16-time bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth in his third try.

Like Chan, Friedman additionally needed to battle Hellmuth to make historical past. In contrast to the “Orient Specific,” Friedman succeeded. He denied his fellow Midwesterner a record-extending seventeenth profession bracelet and made historical past of his personal whereas incomes $248,350 within the course of.

Regardless of Friedman’s general money-first angle, even he couldn’t ignore the highlight he was taking part in beneath.

“It’s severely unlikely that there was going to be another heads-up match for this complete World Collection, or perhaps even the subsequent yr or two to return, that’s going to have a much bigger headline battle,” Friedman instructed Card Participant. “On the one finish, you’ve received Phil, who’s attempting to increase his ridiculous lead within the general bracelet rely to 17, which might be seven greater than the subsequent three guys on that record. And then you definitely’ve received one one who’s attempting to do one thing that’s by no means been accomplished within the historical past of the collection.”

Fortunately for Friedman, he was up for the problem. He admitted that his youthful self could have been a bit too star-struck to make historical past.

“The fanboy in me from 20 years in the past was like, ‘Oh my God! I get to play Phil Hellmuth for a bracelet.’ That’s essentially the most wonderful factor ever,” mentioned Friedman. “In case you would’ve instructed me that after I was [first starting], I’d’ve been mentioned, ‘That’s not potential.’ So the fanboy in me was ecstatic, however the 39-year-old model of me knew I wanted to care for enterprise. I wanted to deal with Phil like all people. And that’s what I did.”

Friedman received his begin in poker like so many others his age did, as a product of the Moneymaker growth of the early 2000s. He received his begin in no-limit maintain ’em and actually kicked off his profession as a poker professional with a Forty third-place end within the 2005 predominant occasion for $235,390.

However just a few years into his journey as a poker professional, he discovered himself diving into different video games apart from no-limit maintain’em. In 2008, he earned his first non-no-limit maintain’em match money on the WSOP within the $10,000 8-game championship. He cashed in that very same occasion the subsequent yr, which seemingly spurred a string of match combined sport accomplishments over the subsequent 13 years.

Now he’s thought-about a mixed-game specialist as he makes the vast majority of his residing taking part in anyplace between $100-$200 and $300-$600 restrict combined video games. Having the ability to sit down and play any sport proficiently is a ability he’s pleased with and a serious cause why he feels that successful the $10,000 Seller’s Alternative back-to-back-to-back is extra particular than virtually another occasion.

Friedman at the 2019 WSOP“You actually can’t have any weaknesses,” mentioned Friedman. “And I do pleasure myself on the truth that I don’t assume I’ve a sport that I suck at. I’m not saying I’m nice in any respect 20, as a result of that’s undoubtedly not the case, however I do put the work in to at the very least be good at each sport. And when a brand new sport will get invented, I’d prefer to assume that I can perceive it, no matter whether or not it’s a flop, stud, or draw sport, and pot-limit, no-limit, or restrict. I prefer to assume that I can modify fairly shortly to no matter will get [thrown out there], and it makes poker extra enjoyable.”

A “extra enjoyable” sport is what attracts Friedman to combined, however it’s additionally why he thinks they may improve in recognition as years go on. As no-limit maintain ’em turns into extra solver-based, these searching for video games that require extra card sense and “really feel,” as some old-fashioned gamers would name it, will gravitate in the direction of the combined area.

“Those who play this match, they have a tendency to need to play it yr after yr simply because they see it as such a novel occasion,” mentioned Friedman. “Most tournaments have the identical technique time and again, no matter whether or not its no-limit maintain ’em or different restrict variants which might be simply strictly one sport. Something can occur on this match at any time.”

“There was a way more well-rounded group [this year],” he continued. “And it was good to see. It wasn’t simply the restrict gamers dominating this match as a result of it looks like numerous the gamers, whether or not they’re match gamers or not, they begin to be taught, and begin to grasp all the opposite video games. Now, it’ll give different large wager gamers the concept to take a shot.”

From a method perspective, the Seller’s Alternative occasion has extra intricacies than different combined tournaments. With extra video games out there than another match, and the shortage of a set rotation, selecting the right sport may be one of the crucial necessary abilities a participant can possess for the occasion.

“Stack sizes can dictate what video games are being picked always,” Friedman mentioned. “You don’t know what individuals are going to decide on, and it makes it actually thrilling and a tiny bit nerve-wracking, however in a enjoyable approach. It makes for a extra fascinating dynamic.”

His heads-up match with Hellmuth is an ideal instance of how issues can change so shortly within the format. Hellmuth is, at his core, a no-limit maintain ’em participant. Somebody who feels proficient on the large wager video games within the rotation. Whereas Friedman is a restrict participant, albeit with no-limit success of his personal.

However Friedman discovered himself shying away from the video games he’s most snug with, and as a substitute, opted to decide on ones that he thought take Hellmuth out of his consolation zone.

“That is the primary time I’ve ever picked pot-limit Omaha,” mentioned Friedman, who additionally completed fifth within the match in 2015. “Which truly stunned a few my mates. I had a sense it was the fitting sport option to name in opposition to Phil. I’m undecided if I need to get into all of the the reason why, however he was having numerous confidence within the video games that had been my finest video games, which I feel is for essentially the most half Badeucey and Badacey. However typically you would really feel a man’s momentum, and typically he’s actually feeling a particular sport in that given second. Possibly they’re not the higher participant long run in that sport, however perhaps for a given stretch, they’re simply feeling it.”

He discovered himself selecting utterly completely different video games than his prior heads-up matches in opposition to Deeb and Rutter in 2018 and 2019.

“I don’t discover pot-limit Omaha to be in my high 4 or 5 video games, in contrast to Badeucey,” mentioned Friedman. “But it surely simply felt like a sport that Phil was not going to need to play an enormous pot with out the nuts. Don’t get me incorrect. I’m not attempting to get it in tremendous mild by any stretch, however I simply felt like I used to be going to have the ability to do a pair issues heads-up which Phil may not have wished to do, particularly when he had the chip lead.”

One of many distinct benefits Friedman has within the Seller’s Alternative format is his intensive money sport background. Money sport grinders get to expertise the brand new video games earlier than anybody else has an opportunity to play them.

“Any time a brand new sport will get invented, it’s going to occur in a money sport earlier than it turns into a match sport,” mentioned Friedman.

Whereas that is a bonus for Friedman, he was fast to downplay the concept that each money sport participant may have the identical success that he skilled on the match aspect of the poker world.

“Not all money sport gamers can essentially adapt to tournaments,” mentioned Friedman. “And the great factor is, for predominantly match gamers, they perceive sure ideas that they’ll have the ability to apply throughout a number of video games in a short time. Possibly they received’t perceive all the precise nuances, however it may not essentially come up in a given match.”

Together with his history-making bracelet, Friedman bumped his profession match earnings to north of $3.3 million. Regardless of seven figures in match earnings, a profitable profession taking part in high-stakes money video games, and securing a spot within the poker historical past books, his largest accomplishment was merely staying in motion for the final 16 years.

“Even with the three-peat, I nonetheless say one of the best accomplishment I’ve ever had in poker is rarely going broke,” mentioned Friedman. “I have a look at the vast majority of skilled poker gamers, and I don’t understand how excessive the quantity is, however the majority of them have gone broke at one level or one other. It’s simply one thing I by no means actually wished to occur to me as a result of I used to be fairly sure if I ever went broke, I’d give up poker altogether. I may be very mentally robust in some issues throughout the sport that others aren’t, however I don’t know if I’ve it in me to go broke and rebuild after that, particularly if that had been to occur in my thirties. Now, at 39, I may by no means see that occuring.”

It goes again to Friedman’s money-first angle on poker. (His father took $100,000 from his first large rating and put it away for him to avoid wasting.) In a approach, he’s like Joey Knish from the traditional poker film Rounders. Friedman doesn’t play poker for the joys of victory, the glory, or the possibility to be on ESPN. He performs professionally to remain out of a conventional workplace job, and he’s not going to let his ego value him a snug way of life.

“While you’re taking part in poker for a residing, the cash has to return at the start,” he mentioned. “Individuals view poker as an escape from an actual job, however on the finish of the day, you continue to want revenue. You continue to have to generate profits. And simply since you’re not doing a conventional nine-to-five or something in that realm of actuality, you continue to have to generate profits.”

He mentioned that money sport gamers normally take that mantra to coronary heart. In any case, their basic swings over shorter time frames will likely be a lot smaller than that of a match participant. However a summer season (or fall) filled with high-stakes match buy-ins can eat up a bankroll for those who aren’t cautious.

The identical mindset is what saved Friedman from taking photographs at nosebleed stakes video games. Whereas he realizes there may be great upside to beating these video games, the draw back isn’t at all times value it.

“Do I’ve this have to play $2,000-$4,000? No. As a result of I feel you want to have an incredible amount of cash, and perhaps even a little bit extra gamble than I is perhaps keen to have in a few of these conditions,” mentioned Friedman. “These stakes are simply ridiculous. Now, is it potential? I would take a shot finally when the state of affairs feels proper. I’ve simply by no means felt the necessity to play that top and I don’t assume there’s something incorrect with that.”

Friedman may not be taking gigantic six-figure gambles anytime quickly, however that’s precisely why you’ll possible see him on the poker desk for years to return.




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