Interview with Stephen Groom, Cash Game Festival Package Winner
Here’s an interview with Stephen Groom, one of our recent winners of a €1,500 VIP Cash Game Festival London package. In advance of his heading to London (30 January – 3 February 2019), Stephen has kindly shared his thoughts on both how he qualified, and playing at 32Red Poker.
It’s been just over a year since you joined 32Red Poker – how has your experience been thus far?
Can’t complain — so far so good. The deposit bonus was reasonably generous, ongoing 30% rakeback is nice and, obviously, I’ve had some good value from the promos! The network itself is good, having very low rake at micro & low stakes, and pretty good action.
In general, how do you find the Cash Games at 32Red Poker?
I play predominantly and almost exclusively heads-up PLO. I really like the Lobby and the way the games work compared to other networks/sites I’ve played on in the past. Having a finite number of games helps prevent (but doesn’t completely stop) unsportsmanlike behaviour where players will sit (out) until somebody they consider weak comes along. On 32Red, if they won’t play they’ll lose their seat/table. This incentivises people to actually give action and play each other which, ultimately, is good for the game.
What’s your favourite thing about 32Red Poker?
What went through your mind when you won your 2nd CGF package at 32Red Poker?
Complete excitement. I play enough poker that winning or losing €1,500 is fairly routine, but winning the Cash Game Package was a different feeling completely… in 45 days I’ll be travelling with Team32red and seeing many of the faces from Cash Game Festival Tallinn.
Would you do anything differently (strategy-wise) on your 2nd CG Festival which you didn’t do on your 1st?
First, I’ll try not to lose all of the money I brought with me on the first day. The action is much bigger than I was expecting, so it’ll be important to get into the right games or have deep enough pockets to be able to keep my trip-bankroll intact for the festival.
[N.B. Package winners receive €500 stake money]
More importantly, now that I know more about the festival and how much fun there is to be had aside from the poker, I’ll probably be playing less, and I’ll be bringing my girlfriend, Naomi, to meet Team32red and all of the other plus-ones.
Do you approach playing live differently to online?
Haha – that’s not a fair question. I play heads-up online so I play around 85% of hands. I know there are a few ‘sickos’ on the TV tables at Cash Game Festival who play 85% of hands, too, but they’re not likely to be winning. ‘Tight is right’ unfortunately, even though it’s a little boring.
What aspects of the live game do you consider are fundamentally different to playing online?
I can sit in my pyjamas on 32Red bluffing with impunity, but when I put a week’s wages into the middle as a bluff on a TV table, it’s tough not to be nervous. The live pros will see this and eat you alive, even if they might not be as good as you are technically/mathematically.
If you could give 32Red Poker your harshest, most honest criticism, what would it be?
They don’t advertise enough. Prior to seeing a popular player streaming on Twitch on 32Red (I don’t think he was being paid by you guys, either) I didn’t even know 32Red had a poker offering. You’ve got great games, great promos and a cool team but none of that matters if people think 32Red is a roulette site.
How’s your poker face?
Well they keep folding to me when I have nothing and calling when I have the nuts, so I don’t worry about it too much.
We want to give our players the best possible chance to experience these live events (plus the special VIP time away from the tables!), which is why every two weeks we offer two €1,500 Cash Game Festival packages and €1,000 via our designated Leaderboard. Play at our Cash tables to qualify for a spot in 8/32-player Freerolls, each with a package and €500 to play for. Meanwhile, keep an eye out for Specials that also feature packages…