I admit to being of the 'Beam me up, Scotty!" generation of Star Trek viewers. "It's life, Jim, but not as we know it, not as we know it, not as we know it," was my last Star Trek experience. That was thanks to my seven year old playing her pop song compilation in the car.
I hope Wil Wheaton won't mind that I'm humming catchy Star Trek tunes as I type? I don't think he will, he's a family man, as well as a poker player, a writer, and an actor. He's most widely known for his role as Wesley Crusher in Star Trek: Next Generation, but his career is far more interesting than just the Klingons and phasers bit.
He started out as a child actor in 'Stand by Me' and his acting biography list at the Internet Move Database
gives any mouse wheel a good workout. As a writer he is less well known, but he's about to have his third book published, and writes for many magazines as well as his popular blog
, WIL WHEATON dot NET (WWDN), also known as wilwheaton.net.
I admire his writing's 'nothing to hide' honesty, Wil admits he's a geek and he's proud of it! With Star Trek, blogs, an interest in Dungeons and Dragons, and Video Games, perhaps Wil is smart to claim that 'Geek' title for himself? On that evidence he's unlikely to ever gain membership of the cool crowd. However I get the feeling that he's much happier in his geek skin than many cooler folks who worry about the right tan or designer gear to cover theirs. Wil might even be so geeky he could Captain the Geek Team. But geeks don't do teams, do they?
As you'd expect Wil discovered poker by studying books, reading the 2+2 forums
, and learning about the game as an intellectually-challenging pursuit. However he is savvy enough to admit that poker needs real life practise too, and plenty of his recent poker experience was gained as part of Team PokerStars.
This month saw Wil Wheaton announce that he will no longer be Team PokerStars member, but I should add that there's no bitterness form either side in this decision, on his blog
he speaks fondly of his two years as part of PokerStars team:
'I am going to miss seeing my friends from Team PokerStars at different tournaments throughout the year. I am going to miss being part of a company that made me feel like part of a family, even though we rarely saw each other in real life. I'm going to miss representing a company that I always felt was honorable and took care of its customers. I am going to miss playing with players who felt, like me, that it wasn't worth risking much more at the virtual tables than we would on an evening out to dinner and a movie, so we played poker for entertainment. I am going to miss playing with players who frequently told me how happy they were to play with a Team PokerStars player for more affordable stakes. I'm going to miss playing with the occasional Trekkie who thought it was cool to play with me. I will miss being the unofficial ambassador to the low rollers.'
Wil held regular Tuesday night games on the site for the readers of his blog. The last WWdN tourney was amusingly entitled, 'So Long, and Thanks for all the Chips.' Wil made the final table of this last regular game, but he wasn't able to say 'Thanks' for the whole load of tourney chips, he went out in 8th place. Wil was a gracious host, as always, happy to chat about poker, life and, of course, Star Trek. He was also happy to chat to me, passing on some tips to our PokerStars.net players.Jo:
Do you still play 'fun money' games or freerolls?Wil:
Not as much as I once did. When I was learning, I played them all the time, though. Play money games are very different from real money games, because there just isn't that much on the line. If I make a stupid call or chase both ways in O/8 and lose in a play money game, I can just reload my play chips from the vast warehouse of play chips PokerStars.net keeps just for that very purpose; if I do the same thing in a real money game, I have to reload from my own personal -- and much smaller -- stash of poker money.Jo:
What skills do you think fun money players need to learn before making the transition to real money games?Wil:
One of the most important concepts to keep in mind as a player moves from play money to real money is to play within what my friend John Vorhaus calls "The Gulp Limit." That means you're playing for stakes below the point where you think, "Man, I'm risking XXX dollars in this tourney or game . . . *gulp!*" When you're within your gulp-limit, you play better poker, and for me, my gulp-limit is 3-6 limit cash games, $30 SNGs, and $200 buy-in NL cash games. Unlike everyone else on the team, I'm not a full time pro player, so I treat poker like entertainment and budget my gulp limit accordingly.Jo:
Is there any advice you’d share with a new player?Wil:
I'd just repeat the advice Greg Raymer gave to me: don't worry about results, but think carefully about decisions. If you make a good decision (Whether it's to make a great call, laydown, or daring bluff) and you're confident that it was the right thing to do, you can detach yourself from the result and focus on playing the best you can. Of course, once everything is done and the money's been counted, you should always review your results, so you're constantly evolving and learning as a player. Every top pro I've ever talked to has said that there's so much to learn in poker, pretty much everyone is a student of the game in one way or another.Jo:
PokerStars.net is a ‘fun money’ site - with the emphasis on poker for fun and not profit. Is poker still fun in those games that you play? Wil:
Absolutely. By playing at limits where I'm comfortable for stakes that I can afford, poker remains a fun and exciting test of my skill. I get a great thrill when I hold my own against a better player, and when I have such a solid read on a weaker player, I don't even need to look at my own cards. As I said before: everyone, no matter how many hands of poker they've played, is a student of the game. There's no better play to test your skills than at PokerStars.net, because the next game is as close as your computer.Jo:
What's the most fun you've ever had in a poker game!Wil:
The most fun I've ever had was playing with Greg, Joe, Chris, Lee Jones and Isabelle in a play money Sit-N-Go at the 2006 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. Even though there was no money on the line, you would have thought we were at the final table! If I remember correctly, I bad beat Isabelle out of the tourney, and was eventually eliminated by Chris . .. so I walked across the room and played Chinese Poker with Greg and Joe. Like I said, I'm not a major pro, I'm just a guy who loves poker, so getting to test myself against these world class competitors was the most thrilling -- and the most fun -- I've ever had at a poker table.Jo
Thanks Wil, I hope you have plenty more poker fun in the future.Wil
Thanks. You bet.