Meet poker pro Darryll Fish of Florida

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Darryll “DFish” Fish of Ft. Lauderdale is one of the most recognizable and respected players in the online poker world. He’s also a highly admired online-poker-forum contributor, who goes into profound detail about hand histories, strategy and analysis of online play. His credentials come from his amazing success in live and online poker. Some of his career highlights in live poker include a final table at the 2009 World Series of Poker pot-limit hold’em championship ($77K), a PLO victory in the 2008 Binion’s Poker Classic ($25K) and a final-table appearance at the California State Poker Championship ($28K).

Fish has been on a tear on the live circuit recently, but his roots always have been online. He has wins in the Full Tilt $1K Monday ($81K), PokerStars $1K Super Tuesday ($87K) and his most recent triumph came in Stars’ 2009 World Championship of Online Poker (Event 33) for $160,000.

Ante Up’s Garrett Roth talked with Fish about his success, his influences and his thoughts on uncapped poker in Florida.

What initiated your interest in poker? After I had heart surgery in 2001, I met a kid who was really into the game Magic: The Gathering. He introduced it to me and I fell in love with it. I traveled and played competitively for a couple of years and in 2003, when Chris Moneymaker won the WSOP, our group started playing poker online. We started out with the $1 sit-n-go tournaments. I quickly became obsessed with the game and started doing everything I could to get myself to a competitive level. I went to the local dog track to play $1-$2 limit hold’em a few days a week, and then months later moved to Gainesville to live with some friends who were attending the University of Florida. I did really well in those games and eventually decided to put $50 on Party Poker. I played limit hold’em starting at $.50-$1 and within four months I was multitabling $5-$10 limit. I eventually moved into no-limit cash games and then a little over two years ago I got into tournament poker.

Who has been the biggest influence on your game? My biggest influences in poker have really been two people in particular. Adam “Roothlus” Levy and I have been friends for many years. He got into poker a little sooner than I did and I always looked for guidance when moving up. We remain very good friends and are always bouncing ideas off each other and trying to help each other grow as players. Another major influence would be Matt “mattg1983” Graham. I became friends with Matt in early 2008, and when he moved to Vegas that summer, I decided to give it a shot and moved out there to live with him. I was just starting to play a lot of tournaments and I learned a lot of solid tournament fundamentals by watching him play. He also saw a lot of potential in me and offered to stake me in high-stakes tournaments. This allowed me to advance through the ranks rapidly and I quickly became a winner in the highest stakes tournaments online.

What has been the most memorable moment in your poker career? I think thus far, the most memorable moment I’ve had was making the final table of last year’s $10,000 pot-limit hold’em event at the World Series of Poker. It was my first $10,000 buy-in event and I had a bunch of friends there rooting for me. Although it was short-lived, it was still very exciting and gave me a great deal of motivation to do even better in the next WSOP.

What do you think of the new poker limits going up in Florida and what do you think it will mean for the state’s poker community? I can’t even begin to explain how excited I am for this change. I have been waiting for this change ever since I first got into hold’em. Having played in the low-limit games at the dog tracks and the Hard Rock in Tampa, I knew the average caliber of poker player in Florida was extremely weak compared to most areas. I think it will be a positive thing as far as the state is concerned, as it will bring a lot more people in to gamble and spend time in Florida. I think the games are going to be extremely lucrative and the action will be big. There is especially a lot of money in the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale area, where I currently reside, and I plan on putting in a ton of hours at the local cardrooms after the WSOP. It will also make it possible for the state to run even bigger tournaments than they already do. Now that Florida will be able to attract big cash-game players, I think there will be a strong pull for big buy-in tournaments as well.

What are some of your future aspirations and goals? I tend to just go with the flow of life and I’m not really one to plan things out very often. I think life is full of surprises and if you just live in the moment, things are a lot more exciting. After this summer’s WSOP, I plan on getting a place in the Ft. Lauderdale area and grinding the cash games in the area very frequently. I will also continue to travel the tournament circuit because my favorite form of poker is high-stakes live poker tournaments, such as WPTs and WSOP circuit events. I hope to someday use the money I’ve made from poker to open a restaurant, or maybe a bar, and try to travel the world as much as possible.