Daniel Didech is known on the internet for his ability to play a massive number of tables for a massive number of hours. But don’t let that overshadow the fact that he is just as skilled as any at the poker table. Didech has had success at a variety of games, SNG’s, HU SNG’s, HU cash, 6 max, and full ring. He has made over $250,000 in his poker career, $200,000 of which was in 2007 and $50,000 of it in August. Whether playing 16 tables or just 1, Didech is one of the toughest midstakes poker player on the net.
DS: Where did you come up with the name DCal Zone?
Daniel Didech: I’m a huge Seinfeld fan, and one of my favorite episodes is “The Calzone.” My first and middle name is Daniel Calmon. Throw those 2 pieces of information together and you get DCal Zone.
DS: So tell me your poker story.
Daniel Didech: I actually started playing with my friends every weekend before the poker boom. We started playing a variety of games in our basements when I was in 8th grade. Once poker was on TV we started playing Texas Hold’em tournaments all the time. Eventually we met some guys who had been playing online. We deposited thru them and that just about ended the home games.
Daniel Didech: At the beginning I’d play MTT’s all the time and basically never win any money. I busted small deposits a bunch of times before I made a $300 deposit and started grinding $15+1 turbo STT’s. I moved up to the $25+2’s and then the 55+’5s. At that point i switched to 1/2 NL 6 max and grinded that for about 6 months. In January 2007 I moved up to 2/4 for the first time.
Daniel Didech: I had cashed out a lot of money, and consequentially busted my account for the first time in a while that month, and didn’t play any poker for about 2 months. In March about $6k was put in my account due to a concierge purchase, so I started grinding 1/2 again. I ran really hot and was rolled for 5/10 within a couple months. During the double FPP promotion over the summer I started playing high stakes SNG’s to take advantage of the promotion. I played those for a month or so and broke even or so, but it made me realize I’d be able to reach Supernova Elite. Once I realized SNG’s were completely retarded, I switched back to NL cash and have been grinding everywhere from 2/4 to 5/10 depending on how soft the games are since then.
DS: You recently achieved your goal of Supernova Elite on Poker Stars (for those who have no idea what this is, it’s a status with huge benefits you can receive on Poker Stars by playing nearly 2 million hands, which is equivalent to the 1 million points needed to achieve that status http://www.pokerstars.com/vip/supernova/elite/), how was that journey? Do you regret going for it?
Daniel Didech: I don’t regret going for it. I learned a lot about how profitable online poker can be as long as you put in a ton of hours. I regret that I haven’t improved my game over this year as much as I could have if I had been playing less tables. It has helped my work ethic tremendously, as I know that as long as I just grind and put in a ton of hands that I’m able to make more money than I’d ever dreamed of making playing poker.
DS: In last weeks interview, kingsofcards said that it was playing less tables that allowed him to breakthrough as a poker player, yet you are known for the incredible volume of hands you play. Why do you think quantity rather than quality suits you better?
Daniel Didech: Playing poker to me is ultimately about making money. I’m able to make more money playing 16 tables with a winrate of 2.5ptbb than I would if I played 6 tables and had a winrate of 5 ptbbs. Once I win enough money to play nosebleed stakes (if they are soft enough), I’ll start putting in the time to playing less tables and improving my overall game. But right now the best thing I can do it just put in an insane amount of hands at a marginal winrate and I’ll win more money than most people.
DS: Do you have any tips or tricks for playing 16-24 tables? What’s the optimal amount for you?
Daniel Didech: I don’t have any stats to prove it, but I believe 16 is my optimal number of tables. Tips for 16-24 tabling: Play on Poker Stars, the timebank and interface is the best for multi-tabling. Buy a 30 inch monitor and tile the tables. Start off playing full ring until you are comfortable playing 6max.
DS: You recently played two 10+ hour sessions if I’m not mistaken, how do you keep the mental and physical stamina to do that?
Daniel Didech: I didn’t surf the internet at all or chat on aim for the entire session. My concentration was entirely on playing poker. The hardest part was I started to have wrist pains towards the end and it became very painful to use the scroller on my mouse. I think I’m going to try to practice playing left-handed to see if that could help me have longer sessions. I also had a friend playing next to me for most of the time so he’d look at interesting hands with me and keep me from tilting if I lost a big pot.
DS: How much was the total benefits of reaching SNE, and which tournaments are you going to attend?
Daniel Didech: I’m going to attend PCA and EPT Monte Carlo with the SNE benefits. I’m also going to play at EPT San Remo and will be living in Vegas for the entire WSOP. Between the tournament packages, cash bonuses, and fpps bonuses, I think I’m going to earn a little over $100k worth of bonuses in 2008 because of SNE.
DS: How has being wealthy at a young age affected your life? And similarly how has being wealthy at this age affected your family and friends?
Daniel Didech: I’ve put a lot of money into long term investment, so I’m not living an incredibly extravagant life right now. It’s nice being able to eat at nice restaurants anytime I want and to buy clothes or go on trips whenever I can. Luckily a lot of my friends from high school have had similar success in poker, so it’s not awkward most of the time hanging out with a lot of my close friends. My family has been a very good influence encouraging me to invest a lot of my money so I’ll be well off in the future.
DS: What do most people around you think about you playing poker as a main source of income?
Daniel Didech: Most people’s initial reaction goes in line with the stigma that being a pro poker player usually has. Most people who are familiar with the game have a pretty easy time understanding that it’s possible to make money playing poker consistently after a bit of explaining. If someone’s not familiar at all with the game I don’t even try to explain it to them and say something like “Yeah, I’m just really lucky. I should probably quit while I’m ahead!”
DS: Who and/or What has aided your growth in poker the most?
Daniel Didech: Being friends in real life with very successful poker players has been most important to me. The biggest influences of my game has come from PlayaPlz, JERRRY, redargoe, Chisness, and MrSmokey1. If I hadn’t known these guys there’s no way I’d be as good at poker as I am today.
DS: What do you think of the games of FTR posters gp333 and Sauce123?
Daniel Didech: Sauce123 is very smart and one of my least favorite people to play against. gp333 runs a lot of big bluffs and is very tricky, but I usually have a good read as of where I’m at against him.
DS: What’s your favorite poker story?
Daniel Didech: Hmmmmm… Probably the coolest thing that’s happened in poker is a few months ago I was playing Ben Roberts hu 25/50 PLO on Full Tilt. We played for like an hour and a half and I only won like 8k from him. He sat out and said “you’re good, gg.” Felt pretty good that a full tilt pro didn’t want to play me HU anymore.
DS: What does the future hold for you?
Daniel Didech: I’m taking a year off of school to play poker full time. I’m going to play a handful of live tournaments to try to get a huge score, but I will mostly spend my time grinding cash games online. This fall I’ll be going back to school to get a Bachelor’s degree, and will scale back my poker playing for a while.
DS: Well good luck! Thanks for the interview!