MEET THE LATEST WSOP CHAMPION – MAX STEINBERG
Name: Max Steinberg
Birthplace: Washington, D.C.
Current Residence: Oakland, CA
Marital Status: Single
Education: Attended American University (Washington, DC) for two years
Number of WSOP Cashes: 4
Number of WSOP final table appearances: 2
Number of WSOP gold bracelet victories (with this tournament): 1
Best Previous WSOP finish: 2nd (2010)
Total WSOP Earnings: $811,048
Other Interesting Things: Practices Transcendental Meditation, Has twin brother
AN INTERVIEW WITH THE WINNER
Question: How does it feel to win this time?
Steinberg: It feels really, really good. I got second two years ago, and I really, really wanted that bracelet. And it just felt good to, you know, play really well at the final table and get it in good and win, feeling like I was the best player there.
Question: Do you see a divide between young players being really good at this game (Hold’em) and older players being better at the split and draw games?
Steinberg: I would say in No-Limit Hold’em -- especially how these tournaments are set up -- yeah, the younger players are better. I don’t really play mixed games, so I can’t really give my opinion on that. In terms of tournaments like these, I think the younger players are usually going to prevail. I think they’re just well-practiced in this style of tournaments. They just know their stuff.
Question: You said you got second place last year. Was there any added pressure coming into this final table?
Steinberg: There’s definitely pressure coming in. When I came into the day, I was just definitely feeling, ‘I just want to get to the final table. And then we’ll see what happens from there.’ Once I got there, I felt very, very comfortable. And, you know, I just felt really at ease here because I didn’t really feel any pressure. Especially, the heads up. Someone asked me if I felt extra pressure because I had gotten second before. It was actually the opposite. Like, no pressure at all.
Question: Tell us more about your poker background.
Steinberg: I play heads up sit-and-goes online….my background is primarily online. And then, I moved to tournaments, when I turned 21, which was in 2010, I think. No, it was actually 2009. Anyway, come from mostly an online background, but I’ve played probably 50 tournaments in my lifetime. I think I have a decent grasp on how to play these things and do well.
Question: Can you tell us a little about how you grew up and how you got into poker in the first place? I know you went to an interesting high school.
Steinberg: The high school thing is a long story. I went to a high school—it was an alternative school—where we meditated twice a day. And I still do meditate every-so-often. I have an identical twin brother. We started playing poker when we were young, just in our friend’s basement. We started really low. We started with like 50 dollars; we shared an account, an online account. And we just worked our way up and worked together to improve at poker. And eventually, we both turned pro. Now he works at a hedge fund sort of company, and I still play poker. But he still follows and cheers me on.
Question: You seem to have a very positive attitude. Do you think the meditation has a calming effect?
Steinberg: Yeah. I mean, yeah, I’d say meditation has a calming effect. But, you know, that’s just how I approach poker...the only thing you can control is how well you’re going to play. And if I get distraught over with what happens when I get it in with tens against ace/king and lose, or whatever happens, then that’s just no fun. So, you know, I’d rather just take a positive attitude and just try to play my best and have fun doing that, instead of just worry about what’s gonna happen.
Question: You said you were online a lot. What have you been doing since Black Friday?
Steinberg: It’s turned to doing a lot more live play. I’ve taken kind of a break also. It’s just a little here-and-there, working on other things, living sort of a leisurely lifestyle.
Question: You don’t seem that excited about playing live poker. Is this a long-term plan for you?
Steinberg: I would say that, I don’t know how much longer I’ll be playing poker. But I think that I do get excited playing live poker. Maybe I’m not yelling or screaming, but I do enjoy myself. Online is sort of my thing. I still play online too. I just had enough money to sit on for awhile. Just, you know, I’ve just been doing my thing. I was really excited for the WSOP because it was a chance to play poker every day again and just see what I can do. We’ll see what my future holds - I’m not really sure what it’s going to be, though.