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Heads-Up with 2006 WSOP Bracelet Winner Rafe Furst

Last week, we threw all journalistic integrity aside and said that we hoped Tiltboy Rafe Furst would win the $1,500 PLH event at the 2006 WSOP. And while this was an empty statement in the sense that we really didn't have any journalistic integrity to begin with, we were at least stating the truth in that we wanted Furst take the tourney.

And as further proof that God truly loves us, yet another wish was granted, as Furst won his first bracelet.

Wicked Chops Poker caught up with Furst to see what it's like being Tiltboy number two with a WSOP title.

Rafe_furst_winnerWCP: Congratulations! When the hell did you get *this* good?!

RF: Well, thank you for the implied compliment. I think we all know that it takes a combination of luck and skill to win a tournament and that any number of people could have won that event. I think my evolution as a poker player has been gradual, and I have learned from every tournament I have entered. I also have learned a tremendous amount over the past year or so working with Phil Gordon on a few of his teaching products, most notably the Final Table Poker DVD at Expert Insight. Teaching anything forces you to really think hard about what you know or think you know and stretches your mind to new possibilities. Further, it reminds you of the basics you already know but sometimes forget are so important, like the power of position, the importance of selective aggression, etc.

WCP: Are you concerned that rubes off the street will start asking you for advice now?

RF: On the contrary, I hope they do. I already get asked for advice all the time on Full Tilt Poker, and I love giving it.

WCP: That being the case, how do you play pocket Jacks on the button facing an early position raise from a hyper-aggressive player?

RF: Re-raise and hope to either isolate in position, or take down the pot right there.

WCP: At what stage of the tournament did you really start believing that you had a great shot to win it?

Furst_gordonRF: I guess it's endemic to poker players that we always think we are going to win each tournament we enter. I really felt like I had a shot the entire way. I guess after the first day I started to visualize myself at the final table, and once I made the final table, I visualized myself winning it. Actually I visualized beating Juanda heads up if you want to know the truth, but I can't complain about the way it turned out, especially since I have never won a pot from him in all the times we've played together!

Just as an interesting aside, it was Juanda who took most of my chips the year I was knocked out of the Main Event in 11 minutes. And that same year he was at my starting table in the $1500 PLH event (the one I just won) and he knocked me out in the the first orbit or so. JJ is a great guy, a good friend of mine.

WCP: Does this win mean you get your own Expert Insight DVD?

RF: LOL. No, I am very happy with my role as the technology and strategy leader at Expert Insight. Phil is the best poker teacher in the world and one of the very best players as well. If the company wasn't his idea to begin with, he'd still be the number one choice as the poker expert for EI. It makes no difference that I kick his ass every time we play heads up ;-)

Rafefurst_tiltboysWCP: Assuming you haven't taken the bracelet off since winning it , how many times have you found yourself scratching your face or doing that thing where you pretend like you're contemplating something really hard by rubbing your chin with your fingers while talking to Gordon, you know, just to show it off a little bit without making it too obvious that you're showing it off...

RF: The bracelet is actually in the Full Tilt Poker suite at the WSOP in a glass display case along with all the other 40 or so won over the years by my colleagues. Go check it out!

As for the proper technique and etiquette about casually flashing the bracelet in conversation with Phil, I have an entire team of Tiltboys on it, working on the plan with maximum tilt potential.

WCP: Finally, we love really bad/blatantly obvious headlines here. Hence our "First Furst..." headlines. What headline would you write for yourself for this win?

RF: From Worst to Furst

*All images from Poker Pages.

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