Lee Cambell

published on 12/21/05 at 3:28 pm

He is an actor, filmmaker, poet, online blogger (The Jesters Tale), and now, a poker player. Lee Cambell, from the television show UltimatePoker.com Showdown (channel 5 in the UK), has become a unique personality in the ever-expanding world of poker. Until recently, Lee was unfamiliar with poker, but that has all changed since his attempt to win 100,000 GBP against four other poker novices (Liv, Lauralyn, Mark, and Andy).

Who actually taught you the game of poker? How many lessons were you given until you had to play live?
On the first show Jack McLelland (prior tournament director at The Bellagio) taught us the basics, although it was hard to take in because we were taken into a room, still unaware of what the show was about. Even though the show was weekly and we had to pretend they were filmed weekly, they were in fact filmed 3 episodes at a time. So we actually were taught the basics on a Friday night right through till 6am, then filming again from the next afternoon and playing towards the grand prize. To make it more difficult right up until the final, we had to play against an internet challenger who had beat thousands of players to come to the show. If they won they would take money from our prize pool. Only one internet guy won any money, they had no chance as they couldn’t read us. We didn’t even know what we were doing to start.

Of the four professional poker players (Annie Duke, Phil Hellmuth, Jack McLelland, and Dave ‘Devilfish’ Ulliot) associated with the show, who do you remember the most and why?
None stand out more than the rest. Annie spoke a million miles an hour but was really helpful. I was told Phil was grumpy and not easy to get on with but I found him to be a real gentleman and the most ‘normal’ of them all. Dave didn’t want to talk to the guys. He was only interested in getting in with the ladies. On the first night we all met him. All three men on the show went over to where Dave was helping the ladies, and he said, “Right lads one question each.” Andy asked if he could ask a question and Dave said, “You just have, now fuck off”. So you can see that while being an interesting character, he wasn’t much help to the men.

What pieces of advice do you still rely on now?
I rely on notes I took from Annie’s lesson for starting hands (the same ones I believe that she scribbled on a napkin when she had her lesson with Howard Lederer). I also keep in mind what another pro gambler on the show told me. Mad Marty Wilson realised I was struggling at first, as I was the last to get any tuition. He explained that poker is a game of asking questions with your chips. This made a huge difference to my game. Never flat call, if it’s good enough to call with it’s good enough to raise with. Flat calling will see you go broke. Oh yeah, don’t drink and play if you want to win.

I read that your poker playing abilities were responsible for a woman breaking down emotionally on the show, what happened?
It was the final, and I was already chip leader and favourite going into the game. Liv and me were the ones expected to win. Basically the cards were dealt and pre flop everyone up to me folded, I put in a raise of 3 or 4 times the BB, Liv called. The flop came and it was rag-rag-rag, but two diamonds were on the board. I checked, wondering if she had a pocket pair and had made a set but she checked as well. The turn gave me a 5d, so I had a flush using my pocket cards (Kd 10d). Liv had been concentrating so hard on getting a 5 that when a 5d came on the turn it gave her a straight. I bet 10,000 chips and straight away she said, “Raise” not realising there were 3 diamonds there. She sat and stared, and I realised she had made a mistake. She tried to put 1000 in, but the tournament director explained that she had said raise so she had to put 10,000 to match me and an extra 10,000 for the minimum raise, which left her with 1500 chips. I then put her all in, causing her to fold. She started to cry and was devastated. We had to stop filming to let her recover. I felt awful. I don’t know why I felt bad, I now realise that this is poker and it can be cruel. However this was the night I would discover what tilt was. Liv was the first out, followed by me. I was very unlucky however, within the space of ten hands I lost my massive chip stack to AA, then three hands later AA again and finally a few hands down the line AK knocked me out.

What was your best memory of the television show?
It was all amazing, but the last two shows before the final I really became a better player. Annie Duke and Phil Hellmuth said that I was playing like a pro, and that I played some world class hands. This was wonderful to hear.

Have you met any other notable stars since starring on the show?
I haven’t been in any big tournaments since the show to meet any big names. I am building slowly and hope to get enough experience to play in bigger and bigger games.

What events have you played in since the show and how have you fared?
Where I live, in Sheffield, there are not many opportunities to play. The two casinos nearby have 10 GBP and 20 GBP rebuys, which end up with insane people going all in on 73o because they can come back in for 2 hours. I only go to these if friends want to visit the casino. I try to get to London to play at the Gutshot. Last month I played in a 100 GBP buy in and came 2nd, beating a lot of players with years of experience. I play a few SnGs online and a few MTT but I don’t do as well online as I do in live games. I like to see people and hear their voices to get a feel for them. I still play online but I am going to start playing satellites now rather than cash games or tourneys.

Do you have any superstitions since beginning your poker odyssey?
I hate AA and AK, simply because I tend to lose with them or to them. I do the right thing, put a good raise in with them, but end up losing to 82o!!!!! So when I get dealt AA or AK I get really nervous. So no real superstitions to speak of.

What can you tell us about your online poker experience? Where you play, stakes, games?
I play at Pacific, William Hill and Party Poker. I did play at lot of cheap (under 10 GBP) tourneys but when the money offer isn’t huge people don’t play as tight as they might. You get people going all in with J4o. This is probably because a lot of novices don’t want to pay too much to play so stick to the smaller stakes. You can’t bully beginners off the pot and they don’t always hear what your chips are telling them. Also they will stay in till the river each time, which in theory should be good for you, but if you have 4 beginners doing this, the chances are your pocket aces are going to get cracked by 82o when they hit the second pair on the river.

In 1-2 years, where do you see yourself in the world of poker?
I would like to be playing in some big games in England and possibly a few TV tourneys. I know poker is a hard game to make money at so I am serving my apprenticeship right now. Hopefully I will know enough to pack in work eventually and get paid to do what I love. I know that when I’m on, I could play and beat anyone. I just have to maintain that discipline and be patient. I will keep reading, watching and talking to people who know the game.

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8 Responses to “Lee Cambell”

  1. Crazy Snake

    Dec 22nd, 2005

    Hi Lee,

    Loved the interview and glad to have you aboard. I especially liked the advice from Mad Marty Wilson and it will most certainly make a positive difference to my game going forward.
    Hope to catch you on the boards in the future.

    Regards
    CS

  2. Lee

    Dec 22nd, 2005

    CS

    Thanks mate. I realise it’s not ground breaking advice, but tournament wise it really makes a difference. Be aggressive or get out. If anyone wants the notes I took from annie I would be happy to send them out, they are very basic but what do you expect? Let me know and I’ll send ‘em out.

    cheers
    Lee

  3. Crazy Snake

    Dec 23rd, 2005

    Hi Lee,
    Would love to get your notes, basic though they may be.

    Cheers
    CS

  4. ALI-G

    Dec 25th, 2005

    Hi Lee,
    thanks alot for all your unput. I found it to be a rather informative and enjoyable Q&A.
    I took particular notice in your intro and outro sections. Being an actor, filmmaker and poet is quite an accomplishment in anyones sense and as a child to be actor was something I and alot of others always aspired for.
    Enter your outro and you stated how “hopefully I will know enough to pack in work eventually and get paid to do what I love.”
    Im pretty sure that Professional Poker was the last thing you wanted to do as a child so I was interested in your thoughts as to why people from different walks of life such as yourself and I have all of a sudden realised the beauty and thrill of the game and put it at the top of our new wishlist.
    Thanks again.

  5. Lee

    Dec 26th, 2005

    Ali

    For me, as a youngster, cards was an old womans game (in my family, the women have girls card nights) or a rich mans game (see all the films that are so innaccurate). Only through luck did I discover the beauty of the game. I’m sure though with the massive coverage it gets now I would have been hooked sooner or later.

    I used to think, “mmm it’s great weather, I wish I was playing golf” now I think “I wish I was playing poker”. I would love to play in some big tounraments and have had an offer to have my buy in covered, but until I feel I have a realistic chance I’ll stick to the smaller games.

    The internet often annoys me with mad fish winning with 82 o, but thats the beauty of poker. The fact that a gambler or chancer can beat a mathmatician makes it attractive to people of all intelligence levels, god I love the game

    Thanks Ali

    all the best
    Lee

  6. [...] about The Jester, [...]

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