John Bowman

published on 09/04/06 at 8:12 am

PokerPlasm.comSpeed Poker is a new variant on the existing game of Texas Hold’em. The biggest differences being it is play pot limit before the flop and no limit after the flop with only six people per table. The action moves quickly because you are only allowed 15 seconds to make a decision, and two dealers are used to keep the action in constant motion. Poker addict, John Bowman, tested the waters of this variant on’s Poker Dome Challenge ($1,000,000 prizepool). He won the online qualifying tournament and an all-expensed paid trip to Las Vegas. Then in Las Vegas, John won a preliminary round and $25,000 to move onto the semi-finals. Even though John’s journey ended there, the information he gathered was immeasurable.

Does playing/practicing speed poker assist/affect your instincts in a normal game? How so?
In general speed poker gives the edge to the more aggressive gambling players. Weak, Passive, Rocks are not going to have much fun in these games, however it also takes alot play out of the game, if you sit down with a bunch of similar players its basically crap shoot.

What strategies/tactics, due to pot limit/preflop and no limit/post flop, did you develop in maximizing your pot sizes?
During this structure you started off farily short stacked with blinds at 1000, 2000 and 50k stackes, 10 min levels, short handed and only 15 seconds to act on each hand. You basically start off with 25 big blinds, if after ten mins you’ve lost a few chips the blinds go up and your gonna be short stacked, if you make the 3rd level without winning a pot your on life support. Adding all these sums up basically told me I had to play aggressive, there was not many spots where you could say to yourself, I’ll lay this down I can wait for a better spot. So I decided to play ultra agressive, however the structure changed to 1000/1000 starting blinds so the first level was a nice way to settle in, from the 2nd level onwards I went back to Plan A.

What tells, if any, have you picked up playing Speed Poker?
Not alot of time for tells, people have 15 seconds to act, so basically you need to know your opoents well, most people have a tough time adjusting to this format. So work out who you can push around early and who is correctly willing to gamble.

Did you meet any pros during the Poker Dome Challenge? Did they give you any advice?
I spoke to a few full times no named players in vegas who pretty much confirmed to play very aggressive.

How did you treat yourself after winning the $25,000?
Paid of some debts and rest is floating around in cyber space somewhere??

Did you play any side games in Las Vegas? How was the competition?
Yes the side action was great, $1-$2 and $2-$5 No Limit and Ceasers Palace was such a weak game, it was action junkie central. Players were just having fun, enjoying themselves getting drunk. I would either play around midnight when people were starting to get drunk or id join in a 5am when people were trying to win their money/loses back. I played about 20 pots in 8 hours one night and stacked someone nearly every time, people were throwing money away. Everytime I moved in I had the nuts, I was like “no ones calling me this time” but to my suprise they did.

You call yourself a poker addict. On average, how many hours a week do you play online? Limits? Favorite game?
I play every day, probably around 4 hours an night, if I have a day off I’ll go for a big session of 24 hours. Regarding limits and games I jump around alot, I used to grind at $5/$10 limit games which was a nice earner but extremely boring, I then made a run at tourneys only $10-$100 buy-ins which turned out a nice profit, and I play full ring $1-$2 No Limit. I pretty much now mix between the 3 depending on how much time I have and how well I’m running i.e if I’m bored of grinding limit or if my patience in tourneys is running low. I’ve also been playing Omaha a bit lately after a friend talked me into playing a tourney, I adjusted slowly and got pretty lucky to take down 1st place, only 100 entrants but still felt good, PLO Omaha cash games are wild if you can find the weak players you can pick up a bigger edge.

Do you feel your education and/or professional background has helped you in poker?
I’ve always had the action in my blood, from all the -EV games, such as black jack and roullete etc (I know longer play these). I started playing penny poker with some friends at work every day, before realising certain players would win more than others. After that I simply copied their styles and started winning a little more. There was a really tight/passive/rocky player in our game who would almost always break even or make a very slight profit, there was also another player who was very loose/aggressive, he woulda either bust out or win all the money. I tried both styles out online with very little success but once I switch up my gears changing between these styles I started to very well.

Where do you see yourself in a year when it comes to poker? Have you set any goals?
In general it is a poor idea to set any real goals, the deck can go cold on you at anytime and can do so for months which could really hurt your confidence.

My goal is to simply keep learning and improving on my game. I’ve read around 50 books now. I study, read, talk, watch and play poker as much as possible whilst trying to lead a balanced life. It’s all about practice and patience, some people learn faster than others. On a scale of 1to 10 (10 being best) I’m about a 5 and that’s after 6 years. I know players who play on a much higher level than me after only 3 years.

What piece of advice has helped you the most in the game of poker?
Play the player not your cards – so simple but so true.

Very small example here. Heads up you both have deep stacks, you flop a flush draw and your first to act, how do you play it?

Against a rock – it’s probably best to bet, most of the time he’s going to fold or just flat call you.

Against a hyper aggressive player – id probably check and hope he gives me the correct odds to call, whats the point in raising if he’s going to push you all in.

Against a tricky player – get tricky back, sometimes raise, sometimes check, maybe check raise.

Be Sociable, Share!

5 Responses to “John Bowman”

  1. The Jester

    Sep 4th, 2006

    Good Interview John, I look forward to playing you some time.

    all the best

    Jester (LeeDCC – pasific)

  2. The Jester

    Sep 4th, 2006

    Oh yeah, meant to ask do you play any live games and if so – where?

    also any advice for sites to play speed or turbo games?

  3. John Bowman

    Sep 7th, 2006

    Hey Jester.

    I play live games at a place called The Full House

    It’s in Reigate near Gatwick Airport, the cash games are very good with lots of loose action. Probably a bit far for you but if you’re ever down this way give me a shout.

    Actually really wierd story, I met another guy called the Jester online a few years back, he lives in the next town to me and I bumped into him at the FullHouse, did not realise who each other was until he told me his screen name.

    So there is two Jesters out there from UK and both great old user id was JollyJoker so I’m only half as good as the Jesters. :)

  4. The Jester

    Sep 8th, 2006

    Hey there mate

    Ok so I know you are a good player (I’ve seen you play) but if you can come to any of our games (PokerPlasm games) it would be great. Next time I am down in London I will get in touch. Wow another Jester eh?
    I look forward to speaking to you again John, and of course playing against you.


  5. John Bowman

    Sep 10th, 2006

    Hey Jester, yes definately let me know when your next down this end of the woods and we can meet up a for a few games.


Leave a Reply