Roothlus – aka Adam Levy – has made it to the top of online poker but his story proves that becoming a successful pro rarely happens overnight.
The 24-year-old American took up poker during August 2003, inspired by the performances of 2003 WSOP winner Chris Moneymaker that he watched on television. But it took Roothlus a while to get good at the game – he admits that during the first six months of his career, he “flushed a lot of money down the toilet” playing thousands of hands.
After refusing to give up, however, he won $6,000 in a tourney on PartyPoker, aided by huge dollops of luck. He used this first big win as a launchpad, continuing to make mistakes over the next 12 months but keeping his head above water and maintaing a bankroll that enabled him to learn more.
In early 2005 came the breakthrough. He won three separate tournaments on PartyPoker in the space of a week to claim $25,000 in total. A month later, he won $31,000 in PartyPoker’s Super Tuesday. That was the victory that persuaded him he had what it took to become a pro.
Since then, Roothlus’ story is that of a player who wins relentlessly. During 2005 and 2006 he earned a total of $550,921 on PokerStars, cashing 333 times and making 87 final tables. On February 5th 2006, he won $48,000 in PokerStars’ $215 buy-in tournament.
In March 2006, he came third in a field of 5,699 players to take home $56,990 in a PokerStars $200 buy-in tournament. That remains his biggest single online win so far. Within the next couple of months, he added prizes of $13,000, $15,000 and $10,000 to establish himself as a serious force in the online world.
While Roothlus is a regular on PokerStars he also made serious money on UltimateBet in 2006 – he picked up $31,327 in just over four months from the end of August until the end of the year. However, he’s yet to make the breakthrough in offline tournament play – he picked up money at several events in 2006 but his biggest win of $9,685 for coming 44th at the World Poker Classic in Las Vegas last month pales into insignificance compared with to major online triumphs.
Roothlus says his biggest advantage is his ability to be open-minded at all times and his “willingness to learn. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, ‘you can’t fold cowboys pre-flop,’ and how wrong I think that statement is.
“There will be a situation that will come up at some point in which you will have enough info to get away from your kings, or your set, or even your flush. Every situation in poker is a different situation.”
Roothlus names WowGriffWein as his favourite online player but also respects teenage phenomenon ActionJeff (Jeff Garza) and poker pro Muchaka (Corey Cheresnick). “They’ve both helped out my game tons and have two totally different styles. So I’ve learned to mix and match between the two styles.”
No doubts plenty of other online players out there are using Roothlus as a role model right now.
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