Being Robert Basil, a Cash Game Specialist

published on 03/05/09 at 2:32 pm

It is always a treat to talk to a cash game player. Robert Basil, of, is a true grinder at poker, a semi-pro in all the facets. He makes a profit at poker in his spare time and does it with dignity and respect for the game. Too much of poker today is showboating, so being able to pick the brain of a player of Mr. Basil’s stature is an honor.

How long have you played? When was your first time playing? Who taught you?
My first time playing poker for money I was in the Army in Europe in the early 80′s. The only thing there was to do was drink and gamble.

What games do you play? Stakes? Your biggest profit in one sitting? Largest loss?
My normal game is Holdem’ only because it’s the easiest to find a game playing. I prefer razz and Omaha High, but it’s hard to find a them in the casino. I’d love to play more mixed games, but my Omaha Hi-Lo is terrible. I need to work on it a lot.

Normal stakes are anywhere from 5/10 to 20/40 NL in private games. In the casino’s here in AZ the max bet is $150 so I play a lot of 10/150 (5/10 blinds, max bet / raise is $150)

My biggest profit in one session was around $23,000 Biggest loss was around $9,000. Both were in private cash games.

John “The Greek” Leontakianakos has told me repeatedly that a cash game player is the true poker player. Do you agree with this statement? Why?
I think a true poker player is someone who can play both forms of the game well. Tourney, and Cash. (P.S. I am NOT a tourney player).

Has all the publicity of the WSOP, WPT, and online poker been good for your cash game? Have you seen an increase in your profit margin due to it?
It really helped 3-4 years ago. Now it’s leveled off, more people are becoming good players and not as easy to beat a few years ago.

What poker pros have you encountered that have been “regular” people? Have they given you tips that have helped your game?
I’ve played with a lot of pro’s over the years. My two favorites.

Daniel Negrano – Fun at the table even when he is losing. Brings a lot of action to the table and a truly nice guy.

Tom Schneider – The hardest player I’ve ever played against. He lives local to me and has taken me to school on many occasions.

Have you ever played in the WSOP or WPT events? Buy-in? What did you take away from it?
2006 WSOP main event. What a crazy place, felt more like a lottery than a poker tourney if you know what I mean. Finished 1,000 people out of the money. :(

I prefer to play the cash games in Vegas during the WSOP, much more money involved and much easier to make a nice profit.

If you could type yourself, what kind of poker player are you?
I’d say I am a mid level cash game player. I am usually the guy always talking and am very friendly at the table. I think that’s why I’m a big fan of Daniel Negrano and Phill Laak.

Do you feel you can read players, determine what type of hand they have? Are you trying to hone this skill?
With my Masters in Mathematics, I depend on math more than reads, but I’m always working on getting better at reading people.

Do you read any of the “must read” poker books? Any you recommend?
I do read a lot of the books, but by far the BEST book I’ve ever read on Poker (and how to be a better player) is Barry Greenstein’s Ace on the River. I’d love to have an autographed copy of it from him if you know what I mean. ;)

Do you have a poker goal(s)? Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
I guess I have the same goal as just about every other poker player – make more money!

I’ve been toying around with the idea of playing full time the past year or so. Right now I play about 20 hours a week, But to do that and make decent money I’d have to leave Arizona and I’m not sure my wife would be thrilled with that idea. If that does not work out, I’d like to start up a private local poker room.

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