Adam Friedman Goes Into The Record Books With Back-To-Back-To-Back Planet Series of Poker Titles
Throughout Adam Friedman’s poker career, money was initial and foremost. The Ohio native was in it for financial freedom, not the glory of winning tournaments.
Four World Series of Poker bracelets later, the 39-year-old nonetheless has the very same outlook. But his fourth and most recent 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 Choice Championship.
“I have waited 28 months to play the Dealer’s Decision,” tweeted Friedman on Oct. 18, the 1st day of the event. “For the first and possibly final time in my life, I can say it is not about the cash. This is the most excited and nervous I’ve been for a tournament given that the very first time I played the primary occasion in 2005. Time to 3-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 reside WSOP in 2020, it was much more than two years just before Friedman had a possibility to set poker history.
No one in the history of the game ever won the same WSOP occasion three years in a row. Johnny Chan practically did it in the 1987, 1988, and 1989 $10,000 no-limit hold’em primary occasion, but right after winning titles the 1st two years, he completed 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 career bracelet and made history of his personal even though earning $248,350 in the process.
In spite of Friedman’s all round funds-1st 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 complete Planet Series, or perhaps even the next year or two to come, that’s going to have a bigger headline battle,” Friedman told Card Player. “On the one end, you have got Phil, who’s attempting to extend his ridiculous lead in the overall bracelet count to 17, which would be seven a lot more than the subsequent three guys on that list. And then you’ve got a single particular person who’s trying to do one thing that is never been accomplished in the history of the series.”
Luckily for Friedman, he was up for the challenge. He admitted that his younger self could 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 is the most remarkable factor ever,” stated Friedman. “If you would’ve told me that when I was [first starting], I would’ve been stated, ‘That’s not achievable.’ So the fanboy in me was ecstatic, but the 39-year-old version of me knew I necessary to take care of company. I needed to treat Phil like everybody. And that’s what I did.”
Friedman got his begin in poker like so numerous others his age did, as a product of the Moneymaker boom of the early 2000s. He got his commence in no-limit hold ’em and truly kicked off his career as a poker pro with a 43rd-location finish in the 2005 principal occasion for $235,390.
But a few years into his journey as a poker pro, he found himself diving into other games apart from no-limit hold’em. In 2008, he earned his first non-no-limit hold’em tournament money 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 subsequent 13 years.
Now he’s considered a mixed-game specialist as he makes the majority of his living playing anyplace amongst $one hundred-$200 and $300-$600 limit mixed games. Becoming able to sit down and play any game proficiently is a talent he is proud of and a key purpose why he feels that winning the $ten,000 Dealer’s Choice back-to-back-to-back is more unique than nearly any other occasion.
“You really cannot have any weaknesses,” mentioned Friedman. “And I do pride myself on the reality that I do not think I have a game that I suck at. I’m not saying I’m excellent at all 20, because that is certainly not the case, but I do place the perform in to at least be good at each game. And when a new game gets invented, I’d like to think that I can recognize it, regardless of whether it is a flop, stud, or draw game, and pot-limit, no-limit, or limit. I like to consider that I can adjust pretty quickly to whatever gets [thrown out there], and it makes poker more entertaining.”
A “more fun” game is what draws Friedman to mixed, but it’s also why he thinks they will improve in reputation as years go on. As no-limit hold ’em becomes far more solver-based, those seeking for games that require much more card sense and “feel,” as some old school players would get in touch with it, will gravitate towards the mixed arena.
“People that play this tournament, they have a tendency to want to play it year after year just due to the fact they see it as such a unique event,” said Friedman. “Most tournaments have the same technique more than and over, regardless of whether its no-limit hold ’em or other limit variants that are just strictly one game. Anything can occur in this tournament at any time.”
“There was a a lot a lot more nicely-rounded group [this year],” he continued. “And it was good to see. It wasn’t just the limit players dominating this tournament simply because it feels like a lot of the players, regardless of whether they’re tournament players or not, they commence to discover, and begin to grasp all the other games. Now, it’ll give other large bet players the idea to take a shot.”
From a approach point of view, the Dealer’s Choice occasion has far more intricacies than other mixed tournaments. With much more games obtainable than any other tournament, and the lack of a set rotation, selecting the correct game can be one particular of the most critical expertise a player can possess for the occasion.
“Stack sizes can dictate what games are getting picked at all times,” Friedman said. “You do not know what folks are going to pick, and it tends to make it genuinely fascinating and a tiny bit nerve-wracking, but in a enjoyable way. It makes for a a lot more interesting dynamic.”
His heads-up match with Hellmuth is a best instance of how things can alter so speedily in the format. Hellmuth is, at his core, a no-limit hold ’em player. Somebody who feels proficient at the massive bet games in the rotation. While Friedman is a limit player, albeit with no-limit achievement of his own.
But Friedman found himself shying away from the games he is most comfortable with, and rather, opted to select ones that he believed take Hellmuth out of his comfort zone.
“This is the first time I’ve ever picked pot-limit Omaha,” stated Friedman, who also finished fifth in the tournament in 2015. “Which truly shocked a couple of my close friends. I had a feeling it was the proper game selection to get in touch with against Phil. I’m not certain if I want to get into all the causes why, but he was having a lot of self-confidence in the games that had been my best games, which I think is for the most component Badeucey and Badacey. But sometimes you could really feel a guy’s momentum, and sometimes he’s genuinely feeling a specific game in that given moment. Possibly they’re not the greater player lengthy term in that game, but possibly for a offered stretch, they’re just feeling it.”
He located himself selecting totally various games than his prior heads-up matches against Deeb and Rutter in 2018 and 2019.
“I don’t locate pot-limit Omaha to be in my top four or five games, unlike Badeucey,” said Friedman. “But it just felt like a game that Phil was not going to want to play a massive pot with no the nuts. Do not get me wrong. I’m not trying to get it in super light by any stretch, but I just felt like I was going to be able to do a couple factors heads-up which Phil might not have wanted to do, particularly when he had the chip lead.”
A single of the distinct positive aspects Friedman has in the Dealer’s Selection format is his extensive cash game background. Money game grinders get to knowledge the new games prior to any individual else has a opportunity to play them.
“Any time a new game gets invented, it’s going to occur in a cash game just before it becomes a tournament game,” stated Friedman.
While that is an advantage for Friedman, he was quick to downplay the idea that every single cash game player will have the exact same accomplishment that he knowledgeable on the tournament side of the poker globe.
“Not all cash game players can necessarily adapt to tournaments,” stated Friedman. “And the excellent factor is, for predominantly tournament players, they comprehend certain concepts that they’ll be capable to apply across several games very quickly. Perhaps they will not recognize all the distinct nuances, but it may possibly not necessarily come up in a provided tournament.”
With his history-generating bracelet, Friedman bumped his career tournament earnings to north of $three.3 million. In spite of seven figures in tournament earnings, a productive profession playing high-stakes money games, and securing a spot in the poker history books, his greatest accomplishment was just staying in action for the final 16 years.
“Even with the three-peat, I nonetheless say the greatest accomplishment I’ve ever had in poker is never going broke,” stated Friedman. “I look at the majority of expert poker players, and I don’t know how higher the number is, but the majority of them have gone broke at one particular point or yet another. It is just some thing I in no way genuinely wanted to happen to me because I was quite certain if I ever went broke, I would quit poker altogether. I can be very mentally robust in some things inside the game that others aren’t, but I don’t know if I have it in me to go broke and rebuild after that, especially if that were to occur in my thirties. Now, at 39, I could never see that happening.”
It goes back to Friedman’s cash-first attitude on poker. (His father took $100,000 from his first large score and put it away for him to save.) In a way, he’s like Joey Knish from the classic poker film Rounders. Friedman does not play poker for the thrill of victory, the glory, or the possibility to be on ESPN. He plays professionally to keep out of a standard office job, and he’s not going to let his ego cost him a comfy life-style.
“When you are playing poker for a living, the cash has to come 1st and foremost,” he stated. “People view poker as an escape from a true job, but at the finish of the day, you nevertheless require income. You nonetheless want to make income. And just due to the fact you’re not carrying out a standard nine-to-5 or anything in that realm of reality, you still need to have to make money.”
He stated that cash game players normally take that mantra to heart. Right after all, their common swings more than shorter time frames will be considerably smaller than that of a tournament player. But a summer (or fall) complete of higher-stakes tournament get-ins can consume up a bankroll if you are not careful.
The exact same mindset is what kept Friedman from taking shots at nosebleed stakes games. Even though he realizes there is tremendous upside to beating these games, the downside isn’t always worth it.
“Do I have this need to have to play $two,000-$four,000? No. Since I consider you want to have a tremendous amount of cash, and maybe even a little much more gamble than I might be willing to have in some of those circumstances,” mentioned Friedman. “Those stakes are just ridiculous. Now, is it achievable? I may well take a shot eventually when the situation feels right. I’ve just never felt the need to play that high and I don’t believe there’s something wrong with that.”
Friedman may well not be taking gigantic six-figure gambles anytime soon, but that is specifically why you’ll probably see him at the poker table for years to come.