|Brotherly Act: Lagman siblings make noise at MIDT2011|
|Written by The Narrator|
|Tuesday, 12 July 2011 00:05|
It took a little time but finally, PilipinasPoker caught up with the Lagman brothers, Julian and Julius. The former took down the last Metro Independence Day Special (MIDS) title while the latter placed 4th in the same tournament, which had a prize pool of over 2M pesos. Safe to say, these brothers play excellent poker and safe to say, it runs in the family…
Aside from talking poker—particularly their impressive romp at the Metro-- we also learned that these brothers competitively played tennis in their younger years.
Yes people, it’s official: these brothers know their Aces, and it’s not only in one sport.
Pilipinas Poker: From what province/city are you from?
Julian: Both our parents are from Pampanga but we’re based in Cebu.
PP: Do you have any nickname/s among your poker friends?
Julian (JN): Friends that I play poker with call me “Tiger” and the funny reason is because the Vice Mayor of San Fernando, Pampanga at that time was Tiger Lagman. We’re not at all related and the moniker stuck since then.
Julius (JS): The Korean.
PP: What do you do outside of poker? Do you have a regular job?
JN: I promote a diverse set of products such as batteries, emergency lights, exhaust fans and the likes. I also sell car care products/ services.
JS: I am still studying Communications at the Ateneo de Manila University.
PP: Any non-poker stuff you want to share with us?
JS: I love sports. I was a member of the Philippine Tennis team when I was at the age of 13 up to 15. I traveled to many places like London, Cleveland, Los Angeles California and Thailand in order to represent our country. Up to now, I still enjoy playing. I also love soccer. I was a varsity member when I was in high school. My other interests are swimming, basketball, going to the gym, watching movies(specifically horror and suspense), and eating Japanese food. You may also often find me playing billiards regularly at Eastwood. I’m kinda addicted to that game too.
JN: I used to play lawn tennis since I was 12 which was quite a late age to join national competitions because a lot of players my age started at around 6 or 7. I regularly competed in tournaments to garner points for national rankings and I really took the sport very seriously until college, in which I also played for the varsity team. Oh and I was team captain in my senior year. (Laughs)
PP: At what age did you start playing poker? When did you start to take the game more seriously?
JS: I started when I was 18. I got serious last year when I started to win for some time in the 50/100 blinds table at Metro as well as in their everyday tournaments.
JN: Seventeen. I took my studies much more seriously though.
PP: What influenced you to play poker from the start? What inspired you to learn the game and take it to another level?
JS: Out of boredom I just decided to play Facebook poker. I didn’t even have any clue or whatsoever on what’s going on at first. It was then when I started to Google the directions on how to play poker. From then on, I enjoyed it a lot and started playing home games with my friends. I started taking poker into another degree when I started winning thousands of thousands in the 50/100 table in Metro. Also when I made it to so many final tables at metro and win a couple of their everyday tournaments (Metro75, Metro500, Metro Monday Double Up).
JN: I started playing poker with my friends. I remember us playing in KFC where we played during our spare time. The guard eventually didn’t allow us to play there anymore because we were too noisy each time we played. We then played P50 buy-ins in a friend’s condo. At first it was just for fun, until we played very competitively against each other. Especially with Flo Campomanes, whom I used to play with every day, each time my friends didn’t play seriously, he felt the need to increase the buy-in just so people would take the game more seriously. Flo inspired me to take the game more seriously. We talked about poker nonstop. We discussed how hands should be played at different scenarios and situations. We shared tips on how to improve each other’s game. It’s because of him that made me look at poker in a different perspective and eventually take it to another level.
PP: Any other variations of poker you play? Either at a competitive level or just for fun?
JS: I sometimes play Omaha Hi at Fulltilt poker. Just for fun though since I only play the tiny buy–ins.
JN: Uh maybe Pot Limit Omaha for fun.
PP: Where do you usually play? Do you play regularly in a specific card room?
JS: I regularly play at Metro. That’s where I first started to play real poker aside from home games.
JN: I rarely play. I seldom play in All-In Poker Club in Cebu and if I’m in Manila, I sometimes join tournaments in the Metro.
PP: Do you play online poker? Where? At what stakes?
JS: Yes, I do. I play at Fulltilt Poker. My online name is “heartbreakurrr”. I only play the .50/1 dollar and 1/2dollar game and reserve my other credits for some tournaments online.
JN: I tried joining online tournaments before. That didn’t last long and I never played online since then.
PP: Which one do you prefer, cash games or tournaments?
JS: Personally, I prefer to play tournaments because I get more challenged. You all start with the same stack then after sometime it’s either you get left behind or you get on top of everyone. The blinds are also getting higher and higher every now and then. In addition to that, there are a lot more tougher opponents in tournaments than in cash games. Although I have a bigger amount of winnings in cash games, I still prefer tournaments.
PP: Tough field, in the MIDS, over 700 runners and you placed fourth/champion: how proud are you of this accomplishment? How difficult was it?
JS: It was really tough. Playing for three days for 10hours at least each day needed a lot of focus. I haven’t played tournaments for quite some time and it took me a lot of patience with perfect time aggression in order to end up fourth in the tournament. Aside from that, there were also so many other tough opponents playing in the tournament. I’m happy that I was able to finish fourth. The perfect scenario there was I go heads up with my brother since we were number one and number two chip leader in the final table. Although it didn’t happen, I still feel really good for making it to the final table especially with my brother.
JN: . This accomplishment is overwhelming. I had a short stack in the first level of the tournament and I could have only imagined of making it to the second day. The tournament was really tough. I remember having a stack of around 18k when the player to my right had about 250k already. It took a lot of patience and discipline. I was tempted a lot of times to move all in even when I thought my opponents were ahead and I just hoped to get lucky on the flop. I had either average or short stack during the most part of the tournament. So I had to put my entire stack on the line most of the time to avoid getting blinded out. Luckily, I held up every time I was ahead and I was able to spike the turn or river to win crucial pots. I also had a wave of good cards in the last 2 levels of Day 2. This turned out to be my inflection point in the tournament for I was able to have a healthy stack entering the Final Day.
PP: Is this your biggest win yet? What other tournaments did you join in the past? How did you fare there?
JS: For tournaments, yes it is my biggest win, but for cash games I’ve won more. Aside from this tournament, I only joined the everyday metro tournaments. I got into so many final tables already and won a couple of them.
JN: For sure. As I said, I seldom play, and if given the time, I’d prefer playing tournaments. I often joined tournaments in the old Metro before, and I think that’s what inspired me to take tournaments more seriously. I remember joining the Metro75 every Wednesday in the old Metro and I reached the final table 7 straight times and I never won. Luckily on my eight consecutive final table, I won 1st place.
The last major tournament that I’ve joined was the 10M Metro Anniversary Special in 2009. It was a rather sad but a learning experience for me. I ended Day 1 of that tournament with a very big stack and went on to double that up right away in the first level of Day 2. I think I had around 300k chips with 600-1,200 blinds. I played very aggressive that tournament. I played a lot of hands and took down a lot of pots either having a good hand or not. That was how I built my stack but unfortunately, that would also turn out to be my downfall for I committed almost 80% of my stack on a single hand I could have easily folded. I keep kicking myself for doing that but that experience taught me to be more mature and disciplined especially in long tournaments such as these.
PP: You played against your brother Julian/Julius in the Independence Day tourney, do you have a different mindset when you’re on the same table, especially this one a major tournament?
JS: Yes obviously since I really wanted to go heads up with him so as much as possible I didn’t want to get any action from him.
JN: No. If we’re on the same table, I just see him as another player. This is because my game would be affected if I’d be concerned bumping against him. But if he’s on a different table, the least I could do is check on his stack and see how he’s faring in the tournament.
When we registered for the tournament, we calculated our chances of either one of us making it to the final table and the chances of both of us making it to the final table. We talked about it as a joke because the chances were really, really slim. But after both of us making it through Day 1, our chances improved a little, still we jokingly talked about the chances for the both of us to make it to the final and this time, the chances for the both of us to go heads up on the final table (Laughs). Then both of us made it through Day 2, this time, none of us would dare talk about it anymore because we didn’t want to jinx ourselves. The next thing I knew, it was the final table and he was seated 2 seats away from me. I could have only wished that we were the last two players left because both of us had big stacks with 4 players remaining.
PP: As a brother then a competitor, how do you handle the times when you have to inevitably go head-to-head against each other? Is blood really thicker than water in poker?
JS: I guess when things like that happen, there is nothing we can do. It is also always important to play fair poker and just because we’re brothers, I don’t think we would ever fold the i-think-this-is-the-best-hand hand against each other. But other than that, I need not to go play fancy poker against my brother and bluff him or make a play against him just like how I did to many other players.
JN: I would say yes. Even if he’s my brother, he’s still, a threat, another player trying to go as far as he can in the tournament. If we have to go head to head against each other, so be it. Truth is, I love competing against him.
PP: Nice earnings (650K for Julian, 110K for Julius) after the MIDS win, what do you plan to do with the money? More bullets for your poker bankroll?
JS: Of course I have to treat myself a little bit. A two night stay in a hotel room would do it. But the other extra money I have left would be spent for more upcoming major poker tournaments and I hope to do really well.
JN: Have a series of victory parties I guess? Just kiddin’! I don’t know, maybe I’d buy a few things that I’d want then save the rest of it for future tournaments.
*A special feature interview for PilipinasPoker by The Narrator.
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|Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 July 2011 01:58|