This week the former interviewer becomes the interviewee as Danny Steinberg, known as “IowaSkinsFan” on these forums, steps on the other side of the pad and pen and into the hot seat to answer some questions.
Bigspenda73: Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your poker history.
Danny Steinberg: Well I’m 20 years old, I live in Washington DC, and go to American University. I started off poker when I was 17 when my Dad put $50 in a poker account for me and my twin brother Max for our birthday. You can read more about the story in Max’s interview. But the gist of it is pretty much I sucked at poker playing low stakes cash until I was 19 where I started to understand this whole poker thing. That month I ended up making 20k and it all looked up from there. Right now I play mostly 5/10 and 10/20 HU, but I’m so ADD you can really find me playing anything from 6 max, full ring, HU SNG’s, or 24 tabling 2/4 6 max.
BS73: You say you started to “understand this whole poker thing”, to what do you attribute your new-found success?
DS: I don’t know if I can really explain it. If you talk to every successful high stakes poker pro, besides the elite of the elite, they’ll probably give you the same answer. It’s kind of like that part in the matrix where Neo suddenly sees everything not as he normally saw it but as all these numbers and patterns. I just woke up one morning, had a poker thought, called my friend Ben (Ben “Sauce123” Slusky, a nosebleed NL and PLO professional and Danny’s good friend) up and asked him if what I was thinking was correct, and he pretty much said “Yeah, you figured it out.” From that point on I started discovering all these awesome poker concepts and improved my game drastically.
BS73: Five minutes in and we have a Matrix reference, awesome
DS: You gotta love the Matrix even though it’s played out.
BS73: You mentioned your twin brother, Max, who is another very successful mid/high-stakes poker player. How has having him around helped your poker progression?
DS: It couldn’t have been more amazing. We’d talk about poker non stop. We’re twins so we understand where each other is coming from really well. Our conversations are always extremely productive. We talk about poker still non stop, and even though were twins he often notices fine points of the game that I don’t initially see, and I always notice some points that he doesn’t see. We balance each other out really well. And man when we are sitting behind one screen together were unstoppable! I remember in the early years we’d play the sunday million and what not and we’d play it together. We’d sit there and each take extensive notes on one half of the table while the other one took the other half, and we’d play super flawlessly. However, it’d always seem like we’d make one mistake late and [mess] it all up, lol.
BS73: Max just had a huge cash in the LAPT this past year, are we going to see you break-through in a live tournament soon?
DS: Probably not! I’m not afraid to say Max is much better than me at live tournaments. Not saying that I won’t get any good, but I’m just a tilt monkey. Sitting down in a chair for 12 hours a day… you need to be in a good mental state, and Max has really achieved that. I back Max as much as I can, but of course I’m still going to do live tournaments. They are just too profitable in a lot of ways, and you can’t get any more addrenaline from the possibility of winning seven figures when you sit down. When I’m out of school I see myself doing tournaments more but not for 2 years or so.
BS73: You’ve had a tremendous amount of success at a very young age. How long do you see yourself playing poker professionally?
DS: Right now I don’t tend to play more than 2 hours a day every day, and pretty much I see myself doing that for a long, long time. I don’t think I want to rely on poker as a main source of income, but when I get out of school my only current plan is to go to Vegas for a month or two for the WSOP and go from there. I don’t really think about the long term right now, I’m just trying to get by in school right now, thinking about the test I have tomorrow and how I’m going to spend my weekend.
BS73: I’ve noticed you’ve started playing more and more of the 10/20 and 25/50 games online, what are some of the big differences in the regulars at 25/50 compared to 3/6 or 5/10?
DS: 25/50 is just a whole gigantic other level. At 5/10 people are making mistakes all over the place. People probably think the players at 5/10 are very good but they really aren’t close to perfect. At 25/50 almost no one is making very big mistakes and you pretty much have to play your A game at all times to win there without any big fish around. I’m confident I can roll with the 25/50 regs but no way I’m playing there without a big fish in the game, and they come around more often than you’d think. 10/20 is the same way except there still are some weak regs and a little more fish.
DS: I learn a lot when I play 25/50 too. When I make mistakes at 5/10 a lot of the time I’m not punished for them, but if you make one mistake at 25/50 chances are your going to get owned pretty hard.
BS73: I have to ask about a strategy you employed at 1/2NL earlier in the year, min-raising a large range of hands PF. This method seemed quite successful for you at 1/2NL, yet you seemed to stop there, why?
DS: Well, obviously I can make the most money playing 5/10 and 10/20 HU. It’s easily my best game. But one of my issues is my discipline totally sucks. I have a very ADD mind and its hard for me to stay grinding at something for a long period of time. Sometimes, I just like moving down, doing something totally ridiculous and seeing how hard I can beat people with it. Pretty much I saw that there were 20+ regs at 1/2 who play 17/14 or so and dont really bluff or get out of line anywhere, so its obvious to me that I want to play in a way that will get these players to make the most mistakes. For tight nits, the way to get them to make mistakes is to get them playing looser than they want to, FORCE them to play out of their comfort zone, and force them to make big calls. For looser/aggro players, pretty much you want them to show up with the nuts in all of the spots they think your bluffing in and spots where they think your range is weak.
DS: Minraising is a relatively suboptimal strategy when you play normally. For example if I played 10/8 preflop, minraising would be a horrible strategy because the whole concept of a 10/8 winning is to get pots built with strong ranges against your opponents weaker ranges. So for minraising to be a good strategy you have to play much, much looser preflop so you don’t lose any value of pot building because your range is always weaker than your opponents range. When your range is weaker than your opponents range you want to keep the pot small.
DS: So I’d play around 45/35 preflop, raising anything suited, and nearly 100% of hands from the CO and BU. I’d still of course play tight and reasonable out of position and against raises. Pretty much I’d make a lot of money from stealing the blinds or people calling a lot from the blinds but c/f nearly every flop. I didn’t make a lot of money without SD though, because I wasn’t building big pots preflop. A lot of my money came from getting the nuts and having people stack off with worse because I’d show up with T2s on a 922 board. I think some people probably wonder if I threebet a lot as well, and the answer is it depends. I’m not going to explain that any further.
DS: I ran like 20ptBB/100 over 15k hands, then started breaking even a bit, and just decided to quit because I didn’t really want to do it anymore because I just wanted to play HU again. I’m sure overall I could win over 10ptBB/100 long term at that level, but idk as I said I’m ADD.
DS: Oh one more thing, I wanted to be oop against people who werent threebetting a lot because if people started to threebet wider ranges because I was playing so loose they actually ended up playing more optimally against me then they normally did, because they’d never get to a point where they were threebetting me too much of the time.
BS73: Poker after Dark calls and asks you to select your “dream table”, consisting of yourself and five other poker professionals, who are they?
DS: Funny question. I’m assuming you’re talking about the 5 best players I could find. I’d definitely have Ben there because he’d always tell me how dumb I’m playing and how much of a tell box I am and it’d be great entertainment.
BS73: no you can pick any 5
BS73: but if you say Hellmuth this interview is over
DS: I’d definitely have Phil Hellmuth because he’s so bad and is so entertaining to make fun of.
DS: The three others: I’d have Vanessa Rousso and Clonie Gowen because they are both super hot and also seem to hate each other. And as the last guy I’d put Phil Ivey because he is so aggro and should be fun to play against.
DS: I think the ratings would be through the roof.
BS73: Well, they would be as soon as you busto the first hand when Hellmuth limp/bombs the aces
BS73: at least we’d get an awesome speech out of him
DS: that’d be embarassing
BS73: Who has given you the most trouble at the tables, are there any players that you specifically avoid having at your table?
DS: I bet this guy would say I’m horrible at poker, and he should say that because he gets the best of me seemingly every time, and that man is Prokker. I don’t know his real name but he is very very good at poker and I wouldn’t be surprised seeing him at nosebleeds sometime next year. He plays very optimally against me and makes very sick thin value bets. One guy who I thought would give me trouble but doesn’t is PoorUser. I don’t play him much but for some reason I always seem to soul read him.
BS73: Alright, you invented this thing, so I have to make you do it, here comes the lightning round, CAN YOU HANDLE IT?
DS: Idk we will see!
BS73: Favorite beer?
BS73: Dream girl?
DS: Don’t have one, but I like the ones who are super sweet.
BS73: Favorite Movie?
DS: American Psycho, no contest.
BS73: Favorite Athlete?
DS: Tiger Woods, he’s just unbelievable there’s no one even close to him.
DS: Also Sean Taylor. I was really saddened when he died, and he really was the greatest safety of all time. Anyone who saw him play would’ve seen that. It’s amazing that we didn’t get to see his career develop.
BS73: Coolest poker hand you ever played?
DS: [Probably] the 47 hand because it represents me the most:
PokerStars Game #14779283469: Hold’em No Limit ($2/$4) – 2008/01/23 – 22:56:18 (ET)
Table ‘Lyalya’ 2-max Seat #1 is the button
Seat 1: heybude ($423.50 in chips)
Seat 2: snowbank ($1061.50 in chips)
heybude: posts small blind $2
snowbank: posts big blind $4
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to heybude [4c 7s]
heybude: raises $8 to $12
snowbank: calls $8
*** FLOP *** [3h 2c Ks]
snowbank: bets $15
heybude: raises $37 to $52
heybude said, “call”
heybude said, “shove”
snowbank: raises $997.50 to $1049.50 and is all-in
heybude said, “haha”
heybude: calls $359.50 and is all-in
*** TURN *** [3h 2c Ks] [5s]
*** RIVER *** [3h 2c Ks 5s] [5c]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
snowbank: shows [5d 4d] (three of a kind, Fives)
heybude: mucks hand
snowbank collected $846.50 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $847 | Rake $0.50
Board [3h 2c Ks 5s 5c]
Seat 1: heybude (button) (small blind) mucked [4c 7s]
Seat 2: snowbank (big blind) showed [5d 4d] and won ($846.50) with three of a kind, Fives
DS: Pretty much I was in a spot against a decent player where I knew a large chunk of his range was the five high straight draw, I was bluffing with 47o and I knew if I called it would be the most awesome call ever so I did it. I always seemed to care too much about making awesome bluffs and calls, I think I’ve become better at just playing my best now.
BS73: Favorite Sport to watch?
DS: Football of course
BS73: Favorite Sport to play?
BS73: Favorite song to grind to?
DS: Hmmm tough one
DS: I’ll say Mark Morrison – Return of the mac
BS73: Favorite quote?
DS: From a book called structure of magic part 1: “In coming to understand how people continue to cause themselves pain and dissatisfaction, it is important to realize that they are not bad, crazy, or sick. They are, in fact, making the best choice they are aware of; that is, the best choice available in their model of the world. In other words, human beings’ behavior, no matter how bizarre it may seem, will make sense when it is viewed in the context of the choices generated by their models”
BS73: Alright, final question, it’s 10 years from now and in that time online poker has been banned, what will you be doing?
DS: I’ll be working on a website run by Max and I and looking for possible investments for a company called Steinberg, Steinberg, and Steinberg Investments. I’ll also be writing a book about women based on 5 years of research just interviewing all the women I can find. Pretty much if someone would read stuff that I wrote and I could make a living off that, I’d do it
BS73: Harder to read, Ivey or women?
DS: Ivey definitely, I think I’m good at reading women!
FTR would like to thank Danny for taking the time to conduct this interview and for all of his great strategy and theory posts on our forums.