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Thoughts on Poker and The Festival with Optibet Ambassador Gatis Reigass

Thoughts on Poker and The Festival with Optibet Ambassador Gatis Reigass

It’s now less than a month until The Festival Series hits Bratislava (10-16 October) and, if you fancy a fun-filled feats of big money poker and plenty of action on and off the tables in Slovakia’s picturesque capital, then head over to our partner, Optibet where you can win a €1,600 package for this hotly anticipated event. Click here for details

Interview with Gatis Reigass

As part of a series of interviews with poker personalities, we caught up with Optibet Poker Ambassador and popular streamer, Gatis Reigass and sought his thoughts on this and that. Gatis, who is 36 and hails from Riga, Latvia, has been playing poker for literally half of his life, taking it seriously for the last few years, having assumed his Optibet role in 2019. Check him out in streaming mode here.

Gatis the Thoughtful

(The Festival) You’re a poker streamer. Does streaming make you feel more conscious of your own results and performances? Do you feel ‘responsible’ for contributing to the community in some way?

  • (Gatis Reigass) Sure thing. When you show your play to others you cannot just planlessly click the buttons. You want to play your A-Game and explain your decisions and why you make them. In fact, with this in mind, I try to learn something every day in order to make sure the viewers get the best content. You cannot get into the habit of making plays ‘just for fun’ or to gamble because it’s important that your viewers be given quality information. Results when streaming tend to feel even more significant because, win or lose, you are not alone - everybody sees! The more tables I play, the more – what with all the chat – my concentration suffers, so I open fewer while streaming so that it’s a more comfortable balance. When not streaming I can add another 6-8 tables.

(TF) Poker is poker, but for most there can be significant differences between the online and ‘live’ environments, not least regarding anonymity/being exposed. Do you have a preference? Are your results markedly different between formats?

  • (GR) In my opinion, the difference between live and online is like black and white... totally different! You can exploit more in live games whereas, nowadays, it’s not possible to properly read players online. Yes, I open 80% from the Button, but will adjust easily when you start to three-bet me too often... Results should be different, yes – not least because of the time factor. In a Live tournament like the Main Event, for example, you can typically be playing for three or four days in that single event. Online, meanwhile, I can play 100-120 tournaments in the same period, so as far as the chances of success are concerned, for instance, there’s no comparison!

(TF) What for you does The Festival have that the more conventional poker festivals don’t?

  • (GR) I would say it’s the sense of community, which I believe started with the Cash Game Festival. That feeling you know everybody, and everybody knows you! The varied side events and the Hospitality/Activities package is also a huge (and value) bonus in my opinion. I’m am not a big casino games fan, but the idea of Roulette and Blackjack tournaments is an excellent touch. And the same goes for having a Sports Betting tournament. Meanwhile, having a TV table brings another fan-friendly element, as well as adding some excitement for the players.

(TF) The Festival features continuous Cash Games running alongside the tournaments. Do you feel just as comfortable playing both? Why do you think that, where once there was a divide, there’s now more of an overlap?

  • (GR) There’s no overlap for me! I can play cash games as a hobby, but I don’t believe it’s realistically possible to become an expert at both. One fundamental reason for this, I think, is that we’re talking two quite different games(!), despite the rules and conditions being essentially the same. I do not think I am ‘bad’ at cash games, but I tend to play with an approach and ranges from a tournament standpoint. Interestingly, I know many cash game specialists who go to live tournament events to concentrate on the cash games because, from a professional cash game player's perspective, ‘vacation’ tournament players are juicy targets.

(TF) A well-known poker saying is that “Poker is 100% skill and 50% luck” - what’s your take on that tongue-in-cheek definition?

  • (GR) It’s a simple fact that luck is part of poker, and it’s important to remember this when it doesn’t go our way. If I know the mathematics, and the fact that Aces preflop will win 4 of 5 times, then I do not see the one time this hand loses as bad luck or a bad beat. This is how players should think. With this in mind, I’d say poker could be seen as 80% skill and 20% luck. Of course, there can be bad days, there can be downswings, but this is all a part of the game! I don't feel unlucky when I enter a Main Event and bust out in the first 20 minutes with AA preflop all-in. It feels quite a bit different busting out at the Final Table but, ultimately, this is an element of the game that we must all learn to live with!

(TF) On that philosophical note, we wish you good luck (see what we did there?!) in your future poker endeavours, and look forward to seeing you at The Festival... and reporting on your success!

Check out the info for The Festival Bratislava 2022