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Jeff Lisandro Official WSOP Interview

Posted at 12:52 2009-06-26
Jeffrey Lisandro is originally from Perth, Australia. He currently resides in Salerno, Italy. On June 24, 2009 Lisandro won his fourth career WSOP gold bracelet. He won the Seven-Card Razz championship, which currently gives him three wins at the 2009 World Series of Poker.
 
The victory also gives Lisandro three wins this year, which ties him for the most gold bracelets won within a single year. Lisandro became only the fifth player in the 40-year history of the WSOP to achieve this mark. He joins poker greats Phil Hellmuth, Phil Ivey, Ted Forrest, and Puggy Pearson as the only players in history to win three gold bracelets in one year.
 
On the morning following his record-tying victory, Lisandro was interviewed by the WSOP media advisor and the following transcript has been provided for distrubution:
 
QUESTION: What were your expectations coming into this year’s World Series of Poker?
 
LISANDRO: Before it all started this year, I was very disappointed. I could not get a sponsor. I made the usual rounds to find out if anyone needed a player. I could not get a response. I spoke about it with a few of my friends. Finally I said, you know what – never mind. I am going to blast them right out of the water. I think I have done a lot in poker. But I’ve always been a little bit short of doing something really great. So, there was this doubt and maybe an excuse that I had not done quite enough to deserve (being sponsored). This year, I asked around. There was no response. No one got back to me. I’m just going to go ahead and win three (gold bracelets). I said that to a few of my closest friends. And, now I have done it. 
 
QUESTION: So, is there now a greater sense of joy in winning, especially after you may not have gotten the support you probably deserved prior to the start of this year’s WSOP?
 
LISANDRO: This is all one the record. Even after winning three bracelets, the sponsors have not approached me. They are still not approaching me. Maybe there is a little bit of jealousy. Maybe it is because I have knocked out so many high-profile players.
 
QUESTION: Jeffrey, you are part of a very elite group of poker players. Yet, most of the public does not see what goes on inside your inner circle. Are there rivalries and are bragging rights at stake when you win multiple gold bracelets?
 
LISANDRO: No. Not for me. I have no one who I am racing against. I want to accomplish something in poker for myself. If I’m the fifth-ranked player all-time, that will be great. If I’m tenth, that’s okay. If I make the top-100, that’s still an accomplishment. You can’t say ‘I am competing with the number one player.
 
QUESTION: You probably have the best chance of anyone in history of winning four gold bracelets within a single year. Have you thought of the historical implications of what another win would mean?
 
LISANDRO: That would be nice -- to be remembered one-hundred years from now.
 
QUESTION: You’ve been playing high-stakes poker for a very long time. But only in recent years have you been focusing on playing in poker tournaments and winning WSOP titles. What made you change your ambitions?
 
LISANDRO: You are right. I have not really played in that many tournaments, up until the last few years. I remember back in 1994 and 1995, I won like ten tournaments over in Europe. It was an incredible run. But I remember that (some magazines and websites) spelled my name wrong and I never got credit for the results. During that run I went to Ireland, and I played in four tournaments. They were all really great players. Each one of them had Irish professionals – like 150 or so in each one of them. I went there and no one knew me. I won the first tournament and they said, ‘we don’t event know that guy. Why is he here?’ And then the second tournament – I won it. And then -- the third tournament (I won). And in the last one I had the chip-lead heads-up and ended up coming in second. Then I won like three more tournaments after that and afterwards I looked at all the money I won and it was something ridiculous. It was like $100,000. And I said, I couldn’t do any better and I still only made $100,000 which does not count my travel and hotel, and expenses. So, I didn’t play many tournaments for the next seven or eight years. It was in 2003 when the prize money started getting much bigger that I came back and started to play them again. Now, it’s worth it.
 
QUESTION: Imagine had you played in WSOP events during that period how many gold bracelets you might have won?
 
LISANDRO: Yeah, I waited a little too long to come back. I should have come back around 2000. I definitely would have had a few more wins than what I have now. I might have even been a better player than I am now. I think I am a fairly good player. I am improving all the time. I’m getting a little bit better, marginally better, each time.
 
QUESTION: That’s a remarkable statement; you are still getting better and improving as a player. What do you mean?
 
LISANDRO: I learned how to achieve better results in tournaments.
 
QUESTION: What do you mean? You have been playing poker for a lot of years. What have you learned recently that you didn’t know a year or two ago?
 
LISANDRO: Take for example, the H.O.R.S.E. tournament. If I go through all the five games, I am going to be playing Limit Hold’em. The whole field knows how to play Limit Hold’em. So, I am going to adjust my strategy marginally. I am not going to waste chips in that game. If it was a cash game and there was a value bet, I might get involved. But in a tournament I am going to save those chips. I want to use them for one of the other games where I have a massive edge (such as Stud, Eight-or-Better, and Razz). In Limit Hold’em I am playing with people who all know the game as good as me. So, I fold the marginal situations to conserve chips for the game where I have a bigger advantage. It is something I am perfecting.   You only have so many bullets. You have to pick your best spot to fire.
 
QUESTION: On a more personal level. You are known for your trademark fedora. Why the hat?
 
LISANDRO: The hat makes me feel better. It helps me to get into the zone. When I put that hat on, it’s all concentration. It’s business. It’s war. It’s time to go to work. When I take the hat off, it’s time to relax.
 
QUESTION: So, how many hats are in Jeffrey Lisandro’s closet?
 
LISANDRO: Let’s just say, I’ve got a few (smiling).
 
QUESTION: Who is the best poker player from Australia – Joe Hachem or Jeffrey Lisandro?
 
LISANDRO: In Australia, I don’t think anyone is bigger than Joe Hachem. Winning the Main Event is a huge achievement. He’ll always be remembered for that. It’s like in horseracing. I could win ten races in a row. But everyone remembers who wins the Kentucky Derby.

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