The game we play can often be a crazy one, with struggles, success, and everything else in between. Richard “nutsinho” Lyndaker has been on both sides of the fence, though these days, the struggles are few and far between, with tons of success grinding cash games online, and recently with a mammoth cash for his 2nd place finish in $5k 6-max event at the World Series of Poker. This further confirmed what he and many other players have: he has a truckload of talent at this game. So it was a definite pleasure to be able to interview one of FTR’s own.
David Thorne: How’d you get your start in poker, what’s your story?
Richard Lyndaker: When I was around 16, I started playing in $5 home games with my friends from school. During the summer, we played 3-4 nights a week. One summer a couple of my friends started playing online, and one of them made over $1,200 in his first weekend, which was a pretty big deal. So, I thought I should give it a try. I deposited like $50 on Ultimate Bet and gave it a whirl.
After I was beating 10NL, I moved to Party Poker and played SNGs since they were extremely easy back then. I had some success there, but eventually had a long unsuccessful bout with 100NL in the fall of 2005. I didn’t play too much online again until the fall of 2006, where I was able to make a bunch at 1/2 and 2/4 Full Ring on Bodog. I used most of the money for school and stuff, and ended up not playing much until the fall of 2007, where I played a lot of live poker at Turning Stone in New York. A few times I had a small bankroll on Poker Stars, but used pretty terrible bankroll management and busted it.
In December 2007, I was pretty busto. I made a small deposit on Poker Stars and decided to try to take the online stuff seriously. I built $200 into $20,000 in like three weeks, and then I went on a trip to Niagara Falls with some poker guys, most of whom I didn’t know. I was invited by adam001, who has been crushing midstakes on Poker Stars for a couple of years. I had met him at Turning Stone a few months prior. When I watched Adam and one of his friends (kingsofcards, who has done an FTR interview) play sessions, I was introduced to whole new levels of thought that I wasn’t able to see before. I began thinking a ton more when I played and having a lot of success. This year I’ve been able to move up the limits pretty quickly, and since my World Series of Poker score I’ve been playing mostly 25/50 NL and feel only a select few regs are able to outplay me.
DT: Speaking of the World Series of Poker, would you mind talking about your experiences this summer? You had a great run in a $1.5k event, and of course, you just hit it huge in the $5k 6-max event. How much is this going to change the direction of your poker career?
Richard Lyndaker: I was living in Vegas with Adam, Tom, and a bunch of other guys intending to play a few events for fun but mostly just grind online. I played a $1500 LHE tourney a few days after I got there and busted in the last level of the first day. I went deep in the $1500 NL a couple weeks later but was shortstacked for all of Day 2 so I never had any real big expectations. It was a pretty fun experience but it was also pretty grueling so I didn’t feel like playing many more events, if any. My friends insisted that I play the 5k 6max and it sounded like a pretty +EV opportunity since it was deep stacked, so I went for it. It was the longest 3 days of my life but the grind was obviously worth it. As far as changing the direction of my career, I dunno; I was already intending to play professionally for quite a while longer, but I guess now I’m able to play a bit higher stakes which may be a good thing.
DT: As it pertains to the $5k, can you describe how heads-up went for you? A lot of players don’t understand the variance in heads-up play. (including certain players who have trashed your play) How do you feel you played at your final table, as well?
Richard Lyndaker: Basically I was playing my normal HU game, which is fairly strong. I was calling slightly wider out of position than normal because Joe was a huge station postflop. I never flopped top pair or a reasonable draw in any hand where I called a raise out of position the entire match
Also most of the flop textures were bad for bluffing vs. a station since I had no equity most of the time. At the end it was a shovefest because the blinds got pretty high and I got lucky a couple of times but so did he. In the last two big hands he sucked out with an open ended straight draw vs. top pair and then he held with AQ vs. my 97. I think I could have played slightly better but I’m certainly not mulling over any of the hands in disgust. I should have thrown in a couple checkraise bluffs with air but I just didn’t feel any of the spots were independently +EV.
DT: You said before that you feel only a select few regulars can outplay you. How much do you feel your game has grown this year, and do you think that you’re getting more action now, after your World Series score?
Richard Lyndaker: My game has grown a ton; I’d say I was an above average taggfish capable of beating 1-2 and good 2-4 games 6 months ago. And now I am comfortable playing in most any game on Stars. It seems like people were looking to join my games when I first played 10/20+ but now I have the respect of the majority of regs. A few might still feel I’m a fishy but I play nonstandard in a ton of spots in 6max, so that is to be expected and is welcomed.
DT: So clearly you’re comfortable and confident with your game now. It’s also clear that you’re doing a lot of things right with your results this year. What do you think you do that really sets you apart from your competition?
Richard Lyndaker: I think I pick apart when people have unbalanced ranges pretty well and I’m never afraid to go with a read even if it makes me look extremely silly some of the time.
DT: What are your thoughts on live poker? You don’t sound very fond of it; do you intend to play much of it in the future?
Richard Lyndaker: It’s pretty fun; I just don’t like playing 10 hours a day under a lot of pressure. I’ll probably play a few random events per year and a few WSOPs but I’ll never be a grinder who plays 20 events in June. As for live cash games, they’re soft but just not as profitable as multi-tabling online so I won’t be doing much of that either.
DT: What does the future hold for you? Where do you foresee yourself taking poker?
Richard Lyndaker: I’ve probably got another year or so in me of playing a ton of online poker. After that I’ll finish up with school unless I’m super rich, in which case I probably won’t bother if I’m able to find some quality investment opportunities or other business ventures.
DT: Awesome. It’s time for the fun portion of the interview that I’ve adopted from ISF, the lightning portion. First question. What’s your favorite movie?
Richard Lyndaker: Pulp Fiction.
DT: Favorite song?
Richard Lyndaker: As far as classics I’m gonna go with Summer Of ’69 by Bryan Adams, for Modern Rock I’ll go with Corduroy by Pearl Jam, and for Rap music which I’m most fond of I’d say anything from the Slim Shady LP.
DT: Favorite beer?
Richard Lyndaker: Crown Lager (Australian beer)
DT: Favorite poker memory, and why?
Richard Lyndaker: Sending ElkY (Bertrand Grospellier) to the rail cursing at himself after I flatted preflop and then check-called 3 streets with aces with 16 left in the $5k 6-max.
DT: Out of curiosity, what made you play the hand like that?
Richard Lyndaker: Well, preflop he was raising 100% of button and I hadn’t made an aggressive move vs. him yet. As for the flop, the big blind had also called preflop (I was small blind) so checkraising with a player to act would look super strong, and ElkY continuation bets a J84 rainbow flop with 100% of his range so a slowplay looked best. The turn was a 7, so I thought a checkraise would look like 87 or a straight, basically overrepping my hand, and I thought he’d be able to lay down anything worse for his tourney life. I thought the best option was to let him valuetown himself on the river if he had slightly worse, and the only argument for a checkraise was to protect my hand, which I’m never too concerned with.
DT: Thanks for the interview, Rich.
Richard Lyndaker: No problem…thanks FTR for helping me become successful at poker!