Ryan “Protential” LaPlante Interview

Check out our interview with Float the Turn coach Ryan “Protential” LaPlante.

PokerForums.org: You’re part of the “next” generation that has come along after Chris Moneymaker, Rounders, and the whole 2003 poker boom, so since you weren’t a “Poker Baby Boomer” how did you get into poker?

Ryan “Protential” Laplante:  Started playing with friends in high school when I was like 13 (9 years ago). Was absolutely terrible at the game until I discovered 2+2 forums and that there was strategy/math involved. 

Fell in love with the game when I realized how complex and interesting it was. My year of college I spent my time hanging out with friends and playing poker, rarely going to class.

By the time Black Friday had hit I had been playing professionally for around a year, exclusively online.

Black Friday ended up being a great thing for my game as it forced me to think differently with playing live, made me work a lot harder on my game, and gave me a lot of time to think about what I wanted.

It also got me to spend the summer at the WSOP, which allowed me to get in my first FT at 21yrs old.

PFO: You already have two WSOP final tables on your resume, are live tournaments the goal you are moving towards, or are you content with playing mainly online with a smattering of live events mixed-in?

Protential: Variance in poker is ridiculous, especially in MTT’s. Playing live MTT’s is really fun, but it is impossible to consistently win at them, thus you have to mix in cash/S&G’s and play loads or play online and play loads. 

I’d love to be able to travel the euro MTT circuit while I grinded online for a year, and end with WSOP. I think it’d be a great excuse to see a lot of Europe (never been there) and be a great way to pay for it as well.

PFO: Being openly gay you’re part of a very small community in poker, I’d be curious to hear your opinions on why there are so few poker players from the GLBT community, and could you talk about your experiences with other players that have been either positive or negative?

Protential: I think there are as many GLBTQ poker players as a % of the community compared to the rest of the population (3-10%), I believe though that many of the players who are GLBTQ prefer to keep it quiet as to not draw attention to themselves, or aren’t well known enough for people to know who they are.

Being openly gay in poker is pretty much seen as a non-issue, people really don’t care for the most part. The only time I’ve had any issues were live, and even then it was pretty minimal.

The only thing I do see a lot of use in the community is the use of “gay” as a negative when describing hands/whatever. Most people don’t realize how insulting and degrading it is, and very derogatory.

It has been getting better, and I don’t really see the use of “fag” any more, but I still see it on a day-to-day basis on sites like 2+2/p5’s.

Jonathan Little Q&A Webinar for PokerForums.org

Join us for an exclusive Webinar hosted by two-time WPT Champion Jonathan Little on October 30 and take advantage of a special offer from FloattheTurn.com!

On October 30, 2012 Jonathan Little will be hosting a live question and answer webinar for PokerForums.org members! This webinar is free for all members but space is limited and will be determined on a first-come first-serve basis.

We are also offering a free 1-month membership to all new FloattheTurn.com members, which you can claim by visiting www.floattheturn.com/free and entering the promotional code “pfowebinar”

Space is limited, so reserve your Webinar seat now at https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/165730950

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar. 

You can post your questions in the “Ask Jonathan” thread on PokerForums.org or ask your questions live on the webinar.

Title:Jonathan Little Q&A Webinar for PokerForums.org

Date:Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Time:3:00 PM – 4:00 PM EDT


System Requirements

PC-based attendees

Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server


Mac®-based attendees

Required: Mac OS® X 10.5 or newer


Mobile attendees

Required: iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phone or Android tablet






Tony G talks life and poker

*This interview was conducted in March of 2005 by PokerForums.org founder Kid[ReD]*

I sat down with professional poker player Tony G. Originally from Lithuania, Tony created an image of a hyper-aggressive player. His talkativeness is just an extension of his personality, he says, though he is often able to use it to his advantage at the table. His brashness often throws players off their games – especially in genteel Europe.

KiD[ReD]: Tony – thanks for taking the time to participate in this interview with PokerForums.org. For those that may not have heard of you in the poker world, could you please tell us a little about yourself?

Tony G: I was born in Lithuania and immigrated to Australia when I was 11. I started playing poker with my family at 12. I currently live in Vilnius, Lithuania and have 2 kids: 3 and 5, both girls. I am 31.

KiD[ReD]: Wow – 12 is a very young age to be introduced to the game of poker. Did you pick up on the game right away, or did it take a while to fall in love with it?

Tony G: I didn’t really fall in love with poker until I was 19 when I started playing at my work in Hong Kong. I was working there as a Forex trade – not a very good one – but it was gambling. I was better at poker.

KiD[ReD]: You are definitely one of the top poker players around – could you please state some of your career achievments, such as what limits you play, large tournaments, etc.?

Tony G: I have had 3 WPT final tables from 8 appearances. I have won several tournaments in Europe. I am the Omaha Pot-Limit heads-up world champion. I don’t consider my self a great player, but I really do love the game and I love to talk when I play. I play at the bike sometimes when I’m in LA. I like Badugi and Omaha Hi-Lo. I play around 400-800 limits. I also play a lot online. I play the PartyPoker $1065 single tables or the two tables. I have played around 600 of these since December. I have won $150,000 there. My nick at PartyPoker was Strong32 or adrtho. I currently do not play at PartyPoker too much work because of my site PokerNews.com.

KiD[ReD]: Many people may know you from the famous WPT Aviation Club de France episode, where you were not the most liked player there 🙂 Is being an aggressive talker part of your strategy, just your personality, or both?

Tony G: That was a special occasion. I was upset at the French players for not playing fairly. They never played against each other. I was on my own and wanted to fight – I put them on tilt and was unlucky. I wish we could play that again. The good thing is that the WPT Paris Avation 2004 tournament is coming up in a week or so on TV, and I had a lot of fun there and did better than the first time.

KiD[ReD]: You own the site, PokerNews.com – could you tell us a bit more about this?

Tony G: I started this site about 2 years ago and it has grown to be the #3 poker portal online. I love poker and love doing sites so I had to do something. We now have a large team of people working on poker news.

KiD[ReD]: This leads me to my next question. Poker seems to be on an enormous boom recently, due to the various poker shows flooding the television screen. How do you think this boom is affecting poker now, and how it will affect poker in the future?

Tony G: Well, Poker has grown many times both live and online in the last 2 years. People love to have something to do and if there is money involved, it’s attractive. In poker, anyone can become the star.

KiD[ReD]: You’ve already accomplished a lot in your career, but do you have any goals or dreams left? A WSOP title, perhaps?

Tony G: Not really a WSOP title. My main goal is to enjoy what I do. I don’t care about anything – titles are not that important. Sometimes coming second or third is really great. Obviously I would like to win a WPT or the new WSOP tour event. Anything over 4 days is a real marathon and is great to do well in. The one-day-tournaments do not mean much.

KiD[ReD]: So would it be fair to suggest then, that to you, the experience is just as great as the reward of winning?

Tony G: That is what I would think. Trying and getting close is great and if you have fun that is even better. I am not a hard, tough, pro player – I just enjoy the game. I have a drink when I play… that can make me a little different than normal but I am not there to please my opponents. It’s war on the poker table, but off the table I am a completly different person.

KiD[ReD]: You keep a blog, at www.tonygpoker.com, where you mentioned how Hellmuth is actually different than what many people may think of him. Would you mind elaborating on this?

Tony G: My experiences with Phil made me think that he is a good person who cares about his family and other people. I know that on TV he can look horrible, but he wants to win. I don’t think he is as good of a player as he thinks… he won those titles when the fields were under 80 playes. He believes he is great and that helps. I had many clashes with him in the 15k event held at the Bellagio in December. I felt it was good to have him there. He does not like to lose big pots. I think people need to put more pressure on him and play big pots with him not small.

KiD[ReD]: Do you plan on playing in the WSOP this year?

Tony G: Not really. I may or I amy not. I never played before since I have family…it’s difficult. I could play for free if I wanted to… I will see…. My next trip is in Monaco on March 16th for a $13,000 buy-in. It’s a 4-day-event and there should be about 200 players there. Then I play in London on April 8th and go to Vegas for the 25k event in April.

KiD[ReD]: Do you do anything to prepare for these big events, such as take a few days to just relax, etc.? Or do you usually just show up and play?

Tony G: I just show up and play. Sometimes I have a drink or two during the first few levels to relax.

KiD[ReD]: You seem to be a very “happy-go-lucky” kind of guy. This must help relieve a lot of the high stress level most pro players receive. Is this a fair judgement, or do you blow up and go on tilt occassionally?

Tony G: I don’t think I go on tilt. I love to protect my last chips. I dont like to just say “OK, I go all-in. It’s been tough – there you go take my chips”. I dont get upset when I lose, I never get upset or say anything to the dealers when I lose. I am upset inside and swear insdie, but I dont show it. I am ok after a few minutes.

KiD[ReD]: Tony, thanks a lot for taking the time to participate in this interview. If anyone is interested in learning more about Tony, you can visit his blog at www.tonygpoker.com or view poker news at his site www.pokernews.com



Bertrand Grospellier AKA ElkY

*This interview was conducted in February of 2005 by PokerForums.org founder Kid[Red]*

I sat down briefly with up and coming poker star ElkY (Bertrand Grospellier) to ask some questions and briefly discuss his upcoming EPT tournaments.

KiD[ReD]: Hello ElkY, thanks for taking the time to participate in this interview. For those poker players who haven’t heard of you, could you please let them know what limits/games you play?

ElkY: I play No-Limit Hold’em almost exclusively, on all kind of limits, however I prefer 5/10 on PokerStars and 100 NL on Eurobet. I also play tournaments and will soon join the EPT in France and Austria.

KiD[ReD]: Many players enjoy watching you play head’s up, and have often seen you play multiple head’s up at the same time, including the $1000 and $5000 buy-in’s. Is this something you do mainly for profit, or for pleasure?

ElkY: It’s actually both – I really enjoy the thrill of big heads-up games and the competition, but I’m also getting good at them and making good money from them as well.

KiD[ReD]: You mentioned that you will be playing in the EPT (European Poker Tour) in both France and Austria. I assume you won seats via online satellites? If so, what are the buy-in’s or prize pool to the two events you will be attending?

ElkY: I won one seat in a PokerStars qualifier, and the other on the Progamer Challenge Invitational, where I defeated 8 other famous progamers to get the seat. The buy-in’s are $2600 for each event.

KiD[ReD]: Congratulations! Is this the first time you will be playing in a live poker tournament?

ElkY: Yes.

KiD[ReD]: You seem to be mainly a ring-player. Is there a reason you do not like to play tournaments online? Also, how do you plan on preparing for the upcoming EPT events?

ElkY: I play a few tournaments online, but I surely prefer ring most of the time. I also like Sit-N-Go’s a lot as well. I played much more tourneys these past few weeks and I hope that I’ll do well in the EPT.

KiD[ReD]: I’m sure you will do very well. You mentioned earlier that you play on Eurobet as well as PokerStars. PokerForums.org is offering a unique/special rakeback and deposit deal on Eurobet. Why do you play on Eurobet; why do you like it?

ElkY: The rakeback is great to build the bankroll, and the tables are much easier than pokerstars. Eurobet also has 6-player-max tables which I like for short handed play.

KiD[ReD]: 6-handed tables for limit, or no-limit?

ElkY: NL, I almost never play limit.

KiD[ReD]: So you would recommend players to try Eurobet then, as an alternative to PokerStars?

ElkY: Yes, it’s a great alternative. I think both websites are great for different reasons.

KiD[ReD]: Regarding rakeback – many people do not realize how much money is taken away from rake. Is rakeback really worth it?

ElkY: Yeah for sure it is, that’s a huge bonus at the end of each month.

KiD[ReD]: You seem to excel in everything you do – you are a professional in the games of Starcraft, Warcraft 3, and poker. Why do you think you are so talented in everything you do? Could it be related to a competitiveness factor?

ElkY: I love competition, and I love pressure. I think handling pressure well is one of the most important factors in everything that you want to do at high level/stakes.

KiD[ReD]: Elky, thank you very much for taking the time out of your very busy schedule to participate in this interview. We wish you the best of luck in the EPT tournaments in France and Austria, and will be sure to follow your very promising poker career.

ElkY: It was my pleasure. Thanks, and good luck to all of you.