I think being able to just accept bad beats whenever they happen, however sick, will improve your poker more than anything else you can do
Elliot Bowker aka “Rekwob” has been burning up the big MTTs on PokerStars this year, racking up well over 100k in winnings… Who are you?
Elliot Bowker, age 21, I live in Stoke (UK) and my poker name is Rekwob (on PokerStars) or Wlleiotl (on Full Tilt, VC Poker and PartyPoker). Rekwob is from RekwobToille, which is my name backwards. Wlleiotl is a typo a friend of mine made while drunk talking to me online. I liked it and use it more than Rekwob now.
What do you currently play now?
When or what started you off in playing poker? How were your early experiences in learning how to play?
I started playing online freerolls while in my last years of high school, but was obviously never any good or really tried to improve. Then, when I moved to Keele University, I joined the poker society and as I listened to the better players talk about poker, I started to look at it differently, and learn how to play the game. As soon as I realised how much strategy was involved, I was hooked, and I came up with my own style of playing.
How did you start off your online bankroll?
I used to play freerolls or deposit $50 and take a run up the cash tables, mostly on the Boss Media or Tribeca networks, until between my two years at uni, one time I entered a $100 tourney with $120 in my account and won it for $1,700. I then moved some cash onto PokerStars and made a few two- or three-way deals in some small freezeouts. I didn’t play that much over the next year, and my bankroll got quite low until I won $9k for 2nd place in the VC Student Championships, a freeroll that had qualifiers all through the year and a live final with about 70 people.
So what factors/skills /attributes got you to that level?
A lot of luck with winning tournaments at the right times, my tournament game came from lots of blind stealing and continuation bets, which was back when you could get away with this sort of thing.
How much money have you made from online poker in the last two years?
About $125k I guess, although over half that has been from the last few months.
Which sites do you play on?
At the moment I play PokerStars and Full Tilt. I used to play solely on Tribeca for about before I won the $35k Guaranteed back to back on Stars.
What are your golden rules for MTT play?
Gamble often and be aggressive, and never be worried about your tournament life.
Do you play offline, and if so where/when did you play?
I was at this year’s WSOP and played three of the $1,500 events that were on during the main event. I couldn’t play the main event as I didn’t turn 21 until after it started.
Has there ever been a time when things just weren’t going right for you while playing poker? What was your worst run ever and what did you do to get through these times?
Yeah, when I came back from the Bahamas last year I had a terrible run in tournaments, and tried no limit and limit cash games, STTs, different sites, went down from a $10k roll to about $2k, was considering starting to apply for jobs when I had a $4k cash on PartyPoker. I then got my confidence back for tournaments and played them on Tribeca. After a while something clicked and I started dominating them. I haven’t had more than a week or so without a decent cash since then.
Who is your favourite professional poker player and why?
I guess Barry Greenstein, purely because I sat to his left in two WSOP tourneys this year and he’s the only person I’ve ever felt the presence of, and been really impressed by, live or online. Obviously, I haven’t played with many other pros but I’m sure some others have a similar presence.
What proportion of poker is luck and what proportion skill?
Different aspects of poker have different proportions, I would say. Even in the long-term luck is a big factor. I’m sure most people who go on to play a lot of poker won early, or they wouldn’t have been interested enough to bother getting better, or were lucky that they knew someone to point them in the right direction in terms of learning and getting better. In tournaments, it’s the ability to stay calm and make the right decisions when it’s really important, and having the courage to make big moves at the right times, that turn you into a winning player. But the actual skill level between the top players and breakeven players probably isn’t that much at all.
What do you consider is your biggest accomplishment in poker?
Winning the $100 rebuy on PokerStars is probably my biggest skill-based achievement. Winning the $35k Guaranteed back-to-back on the same site is my biggest luck-based achievement.
Which online poker players do you consider to be the best? And why?
I don’t really know but I respect anyone with good results, but there are so many good players that I find it hard to pick anyone out without seeing them play. I’ve watched “JohnnyBax”, “Rizen” and “Sheets” on PokerXFactor and they play well, but they’re the only top players I’ve ever seen in this format.
What are some tips and tricks you can give out to the readers that might improve their game or help them build a bankroll?
Find people to talk to about poker, keep an open mind to new ideas, but most importantly, don’t try to copy other people as everyone should develop their own style. Also, if you’re not enjoying playing, you shouldn’t be, and never think of cash or chips being yours, no matter how far ahead you are in a pot or tournament, until they’re really yours. I think being able to just accept bad beats whenever they happen, however sick, will improve your poker more than anything else you can do.
Do you want to say ‘Hi’ to anyone?
Family and friends first. From PokerStars I would like to shout out to Parsy, SinderG, stehay, jonmarlow, anton863, Mongy, badhaircut, sixtwenty4, DrSickbeat, and anyone else that knows me.