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Our own interview with Dylan Linde

20/11/2019 by D&B Poker

We recently interviewed Dylan Linde about his life in poker and about his book. Here are his responses to the seven questions we asked him:

  • Dylan, about 15 years ago, you decided to start a professional career as a poker player. What was the turning point that made you consider that making a living from poker was viable?

There was a point where I was taking poker as seriously as the other games I was playing competitively (Magic: The Gathering and Tekken Tag) but started making real money at it. One Christmas break my roommate Kevin MacPhee made $10,000 on PartyPoker and that was the first inkling that I could do this as well. That next semester I made as much at online poker as I would have in a year of being a teacher (my college target career at that point) so I decided to give it a go.

  • Since 2005, you have accumulated more than $4,000,000 in competitive winnings. At what point did you consider that your choice to become a professional poker player was the correct one.

Honestly, since the moment I decided to become a professional poker player I have thought it was the right one. There have been many dark mental moments in my career but all of the negative thoughts were never around if I made the right choice in playing poker. They were more about worrying that I perhaps could not cut it doing what I love. Throughout my entire life I have had a deep seeded love of competition and gaming. I spent years before poker trying to become one of the best in the world at a variety of games in which there was little or no money. When I finally found a game that had seemingly endless complexity mixed with an extremely high profitability cap, I knew that it would be a perfect fit for me.

  • Last June D&B published your book “Mastering Mixed Games”. What was the first reason you wanted to write this book? Was it easy for you to choose what to include in the book, and what might be of interest to potential readers?

When I was first approached about writing this book, I was in a bit of a quandary as to whether I should accept the project. For many years my friends in poker had been asking me how to learn all the various games, as most of them are NLH MTT specialists. When I thought about this, I started to realize that not only was there a desire for current poker players to have a way to expand into new games but there was also a void in the space for good tools to do so. After coming to this realization, the only mental hurdle left was convincing myself that after being out of school and academia for over ten years that I could perhaps write a book. Once I convinced myself that I could make an attempt at it that I would not be ashamed of, I think coming up with the content was fairly easy. My years working with Run it Once and coaching have given me a good working knowledge of how players learn and how to encapsulate strategies in terms that are somewhat easily digestible. I have also given some primers and helped friends learn some games over the years. The various chapters played out easily in my head as they would be exactly how I would go about teaching a friend that wanted to take a shot at a new game. I settled on the exact games in the book based around not only what games are most common in modern mixed cash games but also on what players would find competing in mixed tournaments both live and online.

  • Why did you choose to write a book on Mixed Games rather than NLHE?

I chose to write a book on mixed games rather than NLHE (even though many players know me as a NLHE MTT player) for a few reasons. First, because I think that there is just a heap of good information readily available about NLHE. There are many excellent books, videos, articles and training courses readily available at all price points for players to improve at NLHE. Through my work at Run it Once I myself have produced a lot of high end NLHE content for people to learn advanced strategies and get a look at the tools available for study. I did not think that I would be able to offer a book that would hold enough truly valuable information that would also be digestible to a reader. Secondly, I think that mixed games are in an expansion phase in poker. More players are gaining interest in playing various formats of poker and have a thirst for learning. If I could create something that could make people feel comfortable branching out and competing in more games then I felt like I should do that rather than rehash a lot of NLHE knowledge that might be found elsewhere. Lastly, I took it as a personal challenge. I have played mixed games in both cash and MTT formats for many years but had yet to quantitatively do a lot of work on some of them. The idea of having to actually condense my thoughts and strategies into words followed by bolstering these ideas via the raw math and equities behind my decision-making seemed like a fun task to attempt to tackle.

  • If you had to name the five essential qualities to become a competent Mixed Games player, what would they be?

First and foremost, do the math! Make sure you are constantly keeping track of what is in the middle and the odds being offered to you on every street.
Second, use the math to drive the majority of your decision making. You certainly should make reads and exploitative plays based on player tendencies but do not go overboard. You need to keep in mind that in mixed games you are often put to many decision points where you are fairly sure you are beat but you are getting a more than correct price to continue and/or showdown your hand for a non-zero pot share. Keeping this in mind, do not be harsh on yourself for making a “bad call”. Due to the mathematical nature of most of these games you are going to be calling with the worst hand a fair amount. That is ok. Folding too much on the showdown street is a much larger leak than calling too much.

Be mentally strong. Many mixed games can be fairly swingy (especially when in a good action game). Do not let being card dead or someone getting there as an underdog bother you. This is especially true in mixed game tournaments, they can be quite brutal and unforgiving due to the low amount of effective bets available in most stages. Be honest with yourself. If you are not sure of a spot or a decision be honest about it mentally. Do not just blindly assume that you made a big mistake or just got unlucky. Take some time on a break or after your session to work back through your decisions. This will not only improve your gameplay but also help make your mental game stronger.

  • What advice would you give to a young amateur poker player who decides to become a professional.

Be sure in your love of the game. Poker can be a difficult way to make a living, for many people they would be best served to use their poker knowledge to garner a good side income rather than a full-time profession. If you truly love the game you will then want to use that love to make sure that you can acquire the skills you need to continuously progress. In my mind that is the key to being a professional, continuous progression. You need to desire to improve at all times and not be complacent in your skills. Work hard on the tables and away from the tables.

  • Finally, if you had to choose three goals in poker or three dreams for the coming months or years, which ones would they be?

I want to continue to grow my mental fortitude. Early in my career this was my largest leak and I have put a lot of focus into making myself stronger in this aspect. I still have work to do.

I would love to finally win a WSOP bracelet. I have never been much of an accolade chasing guy, but the WSOP was at the core of my burgeoning love for poker.

I want to grow my knowledge of games to where I feel like they are all near the same level. For instance, I would like my knowledge of PLO to approach my level of knowledge of NLHE.