The rake race called The Beast at America’s Cardroom has made a winner out of one player, Owen Gaines aka MamaCoolj. In this interview from America’s Cardroom, you can read about his poker history and excitement he has about the game.
This month I sat down with ACR’s ultimate grinder. Owen Gaines aka (MamaCoolj) has won ACR’s progressive rake race dubbed ‘The Beast’ seven consecutive months over this last year. Putting in world record breaking playing volume on ACR has made him over $80k for his efforts. We caught up with Owen to get his views on what makes him such a successful multi-tabler and find out what it takes to tame ‘The Beast’.
A little background about yourself, how did you get into playing poker?
I always found poker fascinating. I’d read a couple books about the game before I ever tried the game. I got a tip back in 2004 from a buddy that online poker was available and decided to give it a try. I didn’t know too much about poker at that point but I’d bought some more books on Limit Holdem and became involved in a poker forum and began to put my energy into learning the game.
I deposited my first $300 online and didn’t have much success but I kept trying to learn while I played. I decided to give it another chance and my second $300 deposit really started to show some results.
By 2007 the games started to shift more towards No-Limit Holdem. After a hiatus from the tables I tried another $300 experiment in that game and quickly turned my $300 into $30,000. Since then I haven’t looked back and no-limit has been my game of choice.
Poker has been good to me and the approximate 8 million hands that I’ve played have allowed me to have a successful career and support my family of five over the past seven years.
You’ve cleared over 1000000 points in one month. Can you give our readers an idea of how many tables you play and how much time this takes to accomplish?
That particular month I played about 140 hours of 40 or more tables.
What would you suggest for other players in terms of preparation if they are attempting to take down ‘The Beast’?
Well…let’s see here. Start by finding a month when I’m not going to play (just kidding). You need to find a routine, and get comfortable. Try to find yourself efficient hardware and setup for the long hours. You’re going to want a comfortable chair, a dependable computer and keyboard etc.
Make sure you stretch before and during every session, the long hours sitting in a chair is a killer. Prepare yourself to be mentally and physically tired as it’s a lot of hands and the competition is fierce, especially in that first week when you’re trying to establish yourself in that top spot. The hours can be grueling.
What technologies do you use in order to make the multi-tabling easier on you?
I prepared myself well on the technical side before I got involved with trying to win the race. I took some time to write code into my Xbox controller so I could use it to play. On top of that I wrote another program that works similar to ‘Stack and Tile’ to help me manage the tables efficiently.
Okay, I have to ask, obviously playing this amount of poker effects your win rate and your ability to play optimally. How is your bottom line when you put in a month of this many hands?
My win rate has actually dropped a bit each month that I’ve played by about .5 big blinds for every 100 hands I play. Games are getting tougher everywhere and players are getting better (and I watched season after season of ‘Criminal Minds’ while I played…lol.) Still, from what I can tell none of my major competitors have as good a win rate as I do for the amount of volume put in.
There’s no question that playing this amount has changed the way I play. I take some flak in the forums for being a ‘tag’ or a ‘set-miner’. I never respond to these comments but what I don’t think these people realize is the pace that I’m playing at. I’m going faster than think that they could mash buttons. The average grinder rolls around 1k hands an hour; some of the world’s biggest grinders keep that pace. I’m doing three times that amount; it’s a world record pace every time I sit down.
Though my win rate drops because of the volume it is more than made up for from the first place prize money.
It can’t be the easiest thing to put in this many hands and not have it affect your everyday life. Have you found that it takes a big toll on you physically or with your relationships in terms of the time you have to spare for the day to day things?
The race is very time consuming and I often don’t get to do some of the ordinary day to day things that I’d like to do such as putting the kids to bed etc. The most important thing for me is to I let my friends and family know in advance that I will have limited time while trying to win it so there will be no disappointment.
There’s no doubt it takes its toll. My personality changes a bit especially in the first week or two of the month as there is only one thing on my mind. Admittedly I get a bit snappy during this stretch. At the end of the month though I take my family out to celebrate the win so we always have that to look forward to.
Physically it’s tough as well. One month one side of my face kept going numb and was having a real tough time sleeping. It turns out that I had left the background windows symbol on my desktop on and it was literally burning my eyes…lol. So I turned my background to black and it all went away within half a day.
ACR pro Dusty Schmidt aka ‘Leatherass’ recently came out with an interview stating that his doctor warned him that mass multi-tabling could adversely affect his health. As one of the biggest multi-tablers in online poker history, do you think it takes a very bad toll?
I read that blog post but don’t feel it’s been as hard on me. One thing I have noticed though that I agree with is that my attention span is much shorter. It’s very consuming to play 3500 hands an hour while watching television at the same time. To switch from that to having a conversation with one person, the conversation needs to be pretty engaging (lol).
You’ve successfully published 3 books to date and just completed your fourth. Can you tell us a little about what the latest one, ‘Poker’s Postflop Course’ is about?
This last book is a monster of a book that I dedicated solely to river play. There’s lots of reading and course work for the reader to do but I feel that it will be well worth their while. Once they’ve finished the book I feel that the reader will have a much more adept at analyzing every river situation and developing a strong intuition for quick, accurate at-the-table decisions.
Since you’ve taken the month off of the race player ‘GiftofGab’ has come out on top. Do you think when you return he or someone else might give you a run for your money for the top spot?
If someone wants to beat me, they better be prepared to have 300K+ points because if put to the test I think I can put up those kind of numbers.
Are you getting back at it next month?
I have to take a trip to Vegas in July for a book signing so I’m not sure about July yet but August I’ll probably be back at it. The kids will be getting back to school then and with the snow coming it’ll be turning me back into a hermit. I look forward to seeing everyone back at the tables then.
For more information about Owen Gaines or to purchase any of his eBooks online please visit www.qtippoker.com