Time Out with Dean Blatt

By: Heath "TassieDevil" Chick

2014 has been a pretty good year if you’re Dean Blatt.The Melbourne local has produced some of the most consistent results that we’ve seen in the country in quite some time.

A third place in the Aussie Millions Bounty Event, was bettered by a runner-up result at the ANZPT Perth. Blatt final tabled in Adelaide and a side event at APPT Macau, and cashed in one event at the WSOP in Vegas, but his best results have come in Sydney. Blatt won the Six-Handed Event at ANZPT Sydney before chopping the High Roller Event at the Sydney Champs against a strong field for over $70,000. More recently Blatt won the High Roller Event in the Western Classic and picked up another three cashes in the ANZPT Melbourne series.

All up, fifteen cashes and over a quarter of a million dollars in live earnings is a pretty good year for any poker pro, but we’re only just two-thirds of the way through the year, and the peak season for poker in the Asia-Pacific is still to come.

Blatt has established himself as one of the rising stars of Australian poker, so we thought we’d catch up for a chat to find out more behind his recent success.


Thanks for your time Dean. You’ve had an incredible 2014 so far. What do you think has been the secret to your success this year?

I’m not quite sure there is a ‘secret’ to my run of good results this year. I started this year with a list of poker-related goals I had hoped to achieve by the end of the year, and top of that list was to put more work into my game through various forms of study. It’s been helpful to have friends who are better than me to discuss strategy with, and learn from. Also, running good and being on the right side of variance has definitely helped!

Your confidence must be at an all-time high. How important is confidence and self-belief at the poker table?

Poker is an ego driven game. Pretty much any player who sits down at either the live or virtual felt believes they are a ‘good’ poker player. I pride myself on having a high level of self-awareness, staying aware of where my strengths and weaknesses lie. I try to not let ego influence my play, to detach myself from emotion to make what I feel are optimal decisions at any given time.

It’s important to have confidence and self-belief, especially when it comes to the technical aspects of poker. However, I feel it's important not to come across as too confident to the point of cockiness/arrogance, as live poker is a particularly social game and recreational players should all be made to feel comfortable. It’s best when everyone’s having a good time!

In the end, I think that even more important than confidence and self-belief is the ability to reflect on how you're playing the game, making the necessary adjustments and playing within your comfort zone.

Dean BlattYour most recent success came at the Western Classic High Roller Event in Perth. However that win wasn’t as straight forward as it sounds. Tell us the story behind that victory.

I made a last-minute decision to fly from my home town in Melbourne to Perth to play in a relatively small series featuring a $2,200 Main Event and a $4,000 High Roller. I flew to Perth on the Thursday morning, arriving in the afternoon with a couple of hours to spare before the Main Event that night. After busting that tournament in relatively quick fashion, I rested for the High Roller, which was scheduled for the next day. There'd been speculation throughout the poker room over how many runners the $4,000 High Roller Event would in fact get, and I was pretty disappointed to find only two satellite qualifiers registered by the scheduled start of the tournament.

The poker manager offered to cancel the tournament and refund the cash value of all entries. Given that I’d flown over for specifically those two tournaments, I was insistent on the High Roller going ahead. At the official start of the tournament one other player registered to make it a four person High Roller Event. By the time registration closed, six people in total had registered, with the new entrants joining approximately one hour and two hours in. I can confidently say this was the first and only time I had ever made three-handed three times in the same tournament!

Fortunately the cards were in my favour and I was able to win the event. I didn’t waste any time, and jumped on the red-eye back to Melbourne that night, eager to make it back in time for the third flight of the ANZPT Melbourne Accumulator event. This definitely ranks high amongst the most hectic 48 hours of poker in my life.

You’re currently ranked #3 in Australia on the Global Poker Index (GPI) and are the new #1 on the Bluff POTY for Australasia. What would winning such an accolade mean to you?

I'm very lucky to have a lot of people in my life who both believe in me and understand the skill involved in poker. To achieve such an accolade would give joy to my supporters and perhaps validation in the face of those who simply view poker as gambling. It would also be nice to have the life-long brag of being ranked higher than Phil Ivey for something poker related (although I’m not sure he’d lose any sleep over it)!

Are rankings motivating for you to play as much as you can to strike while the iron is hot? What does your schedule look like for the rest of the year?

Of course rankings are motivating, but I have to be mindful of maintaining balance between my other responsibilities and allocating time for tournament play.  My schedule for the rest of the year includes going to Adelaide in September for the Poker SA Diamond Series, Melbourne for WSOP APAC, Macau for ACOP and Auckland for the APPT.

Thanks for your time Dean, and good luck for the remainder of the year!

You can follow Dean Blatt on Twitter @blattsmullet