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Adam Friedman Goes Into The Record Books With Back-To-Back-To-Back Planet Series of Poker Titles

Adam Friedman Goes Into The Record Books With Back-To-Back-To-Back World Series of Poker Titles

Throughout Adam Friedman’s poker profession, money was 1st and foremost. The Ohio native was in it for economic freedom, not the glory of winning tournaments.

4 Planet Series of Poker bracelets later, the 39-year-old still has the exact same outlook. But his fourth and most current bracelet made poker history, and even Friedman couldn’t ignore the non-monetary aspects of his accomplishment in the 2021 edition of the $10,000 Dealer’s Selection Championship.

“I have waited 28 months to play the Dealer’s Decision,” tweeted Friedman on Oct. 18, the very first day of the event. “For the initial and almost certainly last time in my life, I can say it’s not about the income. This is the most excited and nervous I’ve been for a tournament because the first time I played the primary occasion in 2005. Time to three-peat!”

Friedman defeated Stuart Rutter heads-up to win the tournament at the 2018 WSOP for $293,275 and then defeated Shaun Deeb at the 2019 series for $312,417. With the absence of a live WSOP in 2020, it was much more than two years before Friedman had a likelihood to set poker history.

No one in the history of the game ever won the exact same WSOP event three years in a row. Johnny Chan almost did it in the 1987, 1988, and 1989 $ten,000 no-limit hold’em main event, but soon after winning titles the very first two years, he finished runner-up to now 16-time bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth in his third try.

Like Chan, Friedman also had to battle Hellmuth to make history. In contrast to the “Orient Express,” Friedman succeeded. He denied his fellow Midwesterner a record-extending 17th profession bracelet and created history of his own even though earning $248,350 in the process.

Despite Friedman’s general income-first attitude, even he couldn’t ignore the spotlight he was playing beneath.

“It’s severely unlikely that there was going to be any other heads-up match for this whole Planet Series, or perhaps even the subsequent year or two to come, that is going to have a bigger headline battle,” Friedman told Card Player. “On the one particular end, you’ve got Phil, who’s trying to extend his ridiculous lead in the overall bracelet count to 17, which would be seven more than the next 3 guys on that list. And then you’ve got one particular person who’s trying to do one thing that is in no way been accomplished in the history of the series.”

Fortunately for Friedman, he was up for the challenge. He admitted that his younger self may possibly have been a bit also star-struck to make history.

“The fanboy in me from two decades ago was like, ‘Oh my God! I get to play Phil Hellmuth for a bracelet.’ That’s the most incredible issue ever,” mentioned Friedman. “If you would’ve told me that when I was [first starting], I would’ve been said, ‘That’s not possible.’ So the fanboy in me was ecstatic, but the 39-year-old version of me knew I required to take care of company. I required to treat Phil like everybody. And that is what I did.”

Friedman got his commence in poker like so numerous other folks his age did, as a solution of the Moneymaker boom of the early 2000s. He got his begin in no-limit hold ’em and really kicked off his profession as a poker pro with a 43rd-place finish in the 2005 major occasion for $235,390.

But a couple of years into his journey as a poker pro, he discovered himself diving into other games in addition to no-limit hold’em. In 2008, he earned his first non-no-limit hold’em tournament cash at the WSOP in the $10,000 eight-game championship. He cashed in that same event the subsequent year, which seemingly spurred a string of tournament mixed game accomplishments more than the next 13 years.

Now he’s considered a mixed-game specialist as he tends to make the majority of his living playing anywhere between $one hundred-$200 and $300-$600 limit mixed games. Being able to sit down and play any game proficiently is a skill he is proud of and a main explanation why he feels that winning the $10,000 Dealer’s Option back-to-back-to-back is more particular than nearly any other occasion.

Friedman at the 2019 WSOP“You really can not have any weaknesses,” said Friedman. “And I do pride myself on the reality that I do not consider I have a game that I suck at. I’m not saying I’m great at all 20, since that’s absolutely not the case, but I do place the function in to at least be very good at every game. And when a new game gets invented, I’d like to consider that I can realize it, regardless of whether it is a flop, stud, or draw game, and pot-limit, no-limit, or limit. I like to believe that I can adjust quite speedily to whatever gets [thrown out there], and it makes poker much more exciting.”

A “more fun” game is what draws Friedman to mixed, but it’s also why he thinks they will boost in popularity as years go on. As no-limit hold ’em becomes a lot more solver-based, these hunting for games that call for a lot more card sense and “feel,” as some old college players would contact it, will gravitate towards the mixed arena.

“People that play this tournament, they tend to want to play it year soon after year just simply because they see it as such a unique event,” stated Friedman. “Most tournaments have the identical approach more than and more than, regardless of whether or not its no-limit hold ’em or other limit variants that are just strictly one game. Something can occur in this tournament at any time.”

“There was a significantly more nicely-rounded group [this year],” he continued. “And it was nice to see. It wasn’t just the limit players dominating this tournament due to the fact it feels like a lot of the players, no matter whether they’re tournament players or not, they start off to learn, and start off to grasp all the other games. Now, it’ll give other huge bet players the thought to take a shot.”

From a technique perspective, the Dealer’s Decision occasion has much more intricacies than other mixed tournaments. With a lot more games accessible than any other tournament, and the lack of a set rotation, choosing the right game can be one particular of the most important capabilities a player can possess for the occasion.

“Stack sizes can dictate what games are being picked at all occasions,” Friedman said. “You don’t know what folks are going to select, and it makes it truly exciting and a tiny bit nerve-wracking, but in a entertaining way. It makes for a a lot more intriguing dynamic.”

His heads-up match with Hellmuth is a excellent example of how issues can alter so rapidly in the format. Hellmuth is, at his core, a no-limit hold ’em player. An individual who feels proficient at the huge bet games in the rotation. Although Friedman is a limit player, albeit with no-limit success of his personal.

But Friedman located himself shying away from the games he is most comfy with, and alternatively, opted to choose ones that he thought take Hellmuth out of his comfort zone.

“This is the 1st time I’ve ever picked pot-limit Omaha,” said Friedman, who also finished fifth in the tournament in 2015. “Which really surprised a couple of my close friends. I had a feeling it was the right game option to get in touch with against Phil. I’m not positive if I want to get into all the motives why, but he was having a lot of self-confidence in the games that have been my ideal games, which I think is for the most portion Badeucey and Badacey. But occasionally you could feel a guy’s momentum, and often he’s truly feeling a particular game in that offered moment. Possibly they’re not the better player long term in that game, but possibly for a provided stretch, they’re just feeling it.”

He identified himself choosing fully diverse games than his prior heads-up matches against Deeb and Rutter in 2018 and 2019.

“I do not discover pot-limit Omaha to be in my leading four or 5 games, as opposed to Badeucey,” mentioned Friedman. “But it just felt like a game that Phil was not going to want to play a large pot with no the nuts. Do not get me incorrect. I’m not attempting to get it in super light by any stretch, but I just felt like I was going to be in a position to do a couple factors heads-up which Phil may well not have wanted to do, specifically when he had the chip lead.”

One of the distinct positive aspects Friedman has in the Dealer’s Option format is his comprehensive money game background. Money game grinders get to experience the new games prior to anybody else has a possibility to play them.

“Any time a new game gets invented, it’s going to occur in a cash game ahead of it becomes a tournament game,” mentioned Friedman.

Although that is an benefit for Friedman, he was swift to downplay the thought that every single money game player will have the identical success that he seasoned on the tournament side of the poker globe.

“Not all cash game players can necessarily adapt to tournaments,” mentioned Friedman. “And the great factor is, for predominantly tournament players, they comprehend particular ideas that they’ll be able to apply across numerous games really rapidly. Maybe they will not recognize all the specific nuances, but it may not necessarily come up in a offered tournament.”

With his history-producing bracelet, Friedman bumped his career tournament earnings to north of $three.three million. In spite of seven figures in tournament earnings, a profitable profession playing high-stakes cash games, and securing a spot in the poker history books, his greatest accomplishment was merely staying in action for the last 16 years.

“Even with the three-peat, I still say the greatest accomplishment I’ve ever had in poker is never going broke,” said Friedman. “I look at the majority of specialist poker players, and I do not know how high the number is, but the majority of them have gone broke at a single point or another. It’s just anything I by no means genuinely wanted to happen to me since I was quite certain if I ever went broke, I would quit poker altogether. I can be really mentally robust in some factors within the game that others aren’t, but I do not know if I have it in me to go broke and rebuild right after that, especially if that have been to occur in my thirties. Now, at 39, I could never ever see that happening.”

It goes back to Friedman’s funds-1st attitude on poker. (His father took $one hundred,000 from his very first big score and put it away for him to save.) In a way, he’s like Joey Knish from the classic poker movie Rounders. Friedman does not play poker for the thrill of victory, the glory, or the opportunity to be on ESPN. He plays professionally to stay out of a classic workplace job, and he’s not going to let his ego price him a comfy life style.

“When you’re playing poker for a living, the funds has to come 1st and foremost,” he stated. “People view poker as an escape from a actual job, but at the finish of the day, you nonetheless need to have revenue. You nonetheless want to make funds. And just due to the fact you are not performing a conventional nine-to-5 or something in that realm of reality, you nevertheless want to make income.”

He stated that cash game players generally take that mantra to heart. Following all, their basic swings more than shorter time frames will be significantly smaller than that of a tournament player. But a summer season (or fall) full of high-stakes tournament buy-ins can consume up a bankroll if you are not cautious.

The identical mindset is what kept Friedman from taking shots at nosebleed stakes games. While he realizes there is tremendous upside to beating those games, the downside isn’t often worth it.

“Do I have this need to have to play $two,000-$four,000? No. Simply because I believe you need to have to have a tremendous amount of income, and maybe even a small more gamble than I may well be prepared to have in some of these circumstances,” said Friedman. “Those stakes are just ridiculous. Now, is it feasible? I may well take a shot eventually when the circumstance feels right. I’ve just in no way felt the need to have to play that high and I do not feel there’s anything incorrect with that.”

Friedman might not be taking gigantic six-figure gambles anytime quickly, but that’s exactly why you will probably see him at the poker table for years to come.