Two years ago, Michael Addamo peeked into our radar as one the young players from Australia to keep a close watch on. Fast forward to today, at just 24 years of age, Addamo has already captured two WSOP bracelets, both won this year. He has accumulated nearly US$3.5 Million in live tournament earnings and currently leads the GPI Australia. Our reporter, Gaelle Jaudon was able to chat with him to give us an even closer look into the young pro’s poker journey.
Somuchpoker: You recently won the 25K WSOPE for more than 800K, your biggest score, and finished 6th in the 100K event, what does being successful in those fields means for you?
Michael Addamo: Obviously I realize how lucky I’ve been. There is always a lot of luck involved so.. that’s what I want to say really.
Somuchpoker: The impressive thing is that it’s your second gold bracelet. You won the Marathon event this summer, which is one of the biggest WSOP events. It’s two completely different type of events.
Michael Addamo: Yeah the Marathon is a much bigger field and the competition was a lot softer too. The 25K was much tougher but I just played my game and I adjusted to my opponents.
Somuchpoker: What was your happiest memory between those two bracelets?
Michael Addamo: To be honest the money is quite nice, it allows you to take a bigger piece of tournaments in the future. I’m not sure I have a happiest moment specifically, I tend to remember other stuff than this to be honest. Sorry if it’s a disappointing answer!
Somuchpoker: You’re only 24 years old, did you ever dream of successes like this early in your career?
Michael Addamo: No not really. Before I started playing poker a few guys at the chess club started talking about poker and I heard about James Obst, a very regular Australian poker player at that time, and I just thought okay why not give it a shot if you can win some millions. It seemed like a good idea.
Somuchpoker: You’re from Australia, but you had to move to Thailand after the recent ban on online poker in your country, was it difficult? What’s your life in Thailand like?
Michael Addamo: It was yeah. Thailand is obviously a bit different. I’m staying in Chiang Mai, and there is an area called Niman. I spend a lot of time there it’s very nice, it’s very western actually. So it’s not so bad. The times are not the best to play online but it’s okay. I’ll maybe move around a bit.
Somuchpoker: Before switching to live, you were already having big scores online under the nickname “Iamluckbox”, what is your priority today? On where you want to focus most?
Michael Addamo: It’s still both, live and online. Just whenever the biggest series is going on I’ll just choose those instead. I’m trying to keep it roughly around half/half. Probably smooth strategies are little bit more on live given it’s biggest stakes but online still gets some big stakes during SCOOP, WCOOP ect..
Somuchpoker: Why this nickname? Do you consider yourself really lucky in life?
Michael Addamo: Yeah.. One of my friends started calling me a luckbox because at the start of my career I won an Aussie millions Main Event ticket from a freeroll. I was in for O and one person won a ticket from a field from like 400 people, that was obviously quite lucky. I liked that idea and I just kept it, I stuck to that name.
Somuchpoker: You arrived in poker way after the poker boom, and online poker was already very tough, what does it takes do you think to crush online today? Are you a big GTO player?
Michael Addamo: A lot of solvers work yeah, doing a lot of computer stuff. It’s kind of what you need to do at that stage. I actually think that right now there are quite a lot of new big live stops and a lot of big online events going on so for high stakes it’s almost like a small little boom recently. But obviously it kind of sucks to start now for high stakes because I think the rakes increased so it’s very tough to start now.
Somuchpoker: How do you see the future of the Australian poker scene?
Michael Addamo: I think there is a possibility that online comes back next year or the year after depending on whatever the government decides but live poker seems to be doing pretty well in Australia, you have a lot of tournaments in Sydney and the Aussie Millions are successful. Whenever there is a live series it’s doing well but obviously concerning the online, a lot of players had to move or they stayed and are doing something else now, or play on some Chinese apps , the softer softwares.
Somuchpoker: Who is part of your poker crew?
Michael Addamo: Most of the time I just travel by myself so I wouldn’t necessary say I have a crew but there are a few Aussie guys that I like and I go around …. There a too many people to write in fact and I don’t want to omit any names!
Somuchpoker: As I said you’re young, are there any lessons you’ve learned from the poker world?
Michael Addamo: On some aspects of life it led me to be quite calm. Not that I was getting very angry in the past but it’s more that I have small things that don’t bother me anymore like I miss my flight or a bus is running late or something, it just doesn’t affect me anymore.
Somuchpoker: I interviewed Manig Loeser recently who said he won big earlier in his career and spewed a lot of money recklessly, which is the case of a bunch of young players, are you conscious and maybe scared it could happen to you?
Michael Addamo: Not really, to be honest I’m a little bit of a minimalist. I don’t really spend too much money outside, like clubs or clothes. I don’t think that would be a problem for me, I don’t really gamble and play any other casino games, no crazy parties neither.
Somuchpoker: Here in Rozvadov we see a lot of old school players, like Tony G, Dutch Boyd, Ferguson, Isildur ect… What vision do you have of poker back in the days?
Michael Addamo: I watched quite a lot of the high stakes poker back in the days, it was quite interesting. But I knew quite a few regulars who’ve done that for a living so I kind of sort more from that the reality and the degenerate side I would say. The young poker players now are very different, very quiet, and intelligent and not too crazy outside.
Somuchpoker: Funny thing is that I didn’t find any twitter account of you, which is quite surprising today, how is that possible?
Michael Addamo: In fact I do have a twitter but I just don’t post anything. I just read stuff but don’t post myself. I don’t really use them, I just look at it and read, I follow a lot of people but I don’t know why, I just don’t post.
Somuchpoker: What is the orientation you would like to give to your career? I guess if you have to make choices.
Michael Addamo: I’m actually not quite sure what I’m going to do. I guess I’ll still play poker for the next year or two but after that I don’t have a specific plan.
Somuchpoker: I read you played chess before playing poker, what did you learn from chess that you could apply to poker?
Michael Addamo: Chess is a very strategic game, there is also a bit of solve work to do there so it can be quite similar to poker. Chess is not solve but computers can beat humans and there are programs where you can study what the best moves are, so it requires a bit of work. It’s actually quite similar I think, it’s just that the money is not there.
Somuchpoker: Which one would you say is the smartest game?
Michael Addamo: Oh… that’s a tough question… I would probably say chess is the most difficult but I’m not totally confident saying that!
Somuchpoker: Are you going to work on other new games and mix games?
Michael Addamo: I was thinking about learning short deck because there is a lot of big games going there so I’m interested in that one. Also I was thinking about PLO but that one is going to be on the “back flip for now”, probably short deck first. I’ll see.
Somuchpoker: And do you play some cash games also?
Michael Addamo: I play a little bit. It’s just that there is so much tournament action going on now that it’s hard sometimes to put time in the cash but if there are some good cash games up I could get in.
Somuchpoker: Where will you go for the next months?
Michael Addamo: I was thinking of going to the next PartyPoker in the Bahamas and then probably Mexico and Canada playing online. I also think I’ll play the Five Diamonds at the Bellagio and Bahamas again for PCA and the Aussie Millions and then we’ll see! Probably go back to Asia.
Somuchpoker: Who do you think are the best tournaments players today?
Michael Addamo: I think Dominik Nitsche, Stephen Chidwick, Nikita Bodyakovskiy ‘Mikita’, they are really really good. There is also a bunch of high stakes guys who are really good as well but those are the three who come to my mind.
Interview by Gaelle Jaudon