I had the chance recently to chat with Poker Professional, Amnon “Guts” Filippi. He’s had some exciting wins over the past few years, including making the final table at the $50,000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. championship at the 2007 World Series of Poker, finishing fourth for $586,080. His professional lifetime winnings total: $1,683,245. He talks about the importance of reading other people.
Filippi’s rise into the poker world started at Yeshiva University High School in his hometown, New York City, playing seven-card stud with his friends. A few of those friends suggested he try his luck at some of the private rooms around New York. This is where his real poker education began. Filippi states that he learned by observing, both the cards played and the players playing them. He began to realize that there were really good players in the private rooms, ones to watch, yet avoid; and some really bad players, who were really there to spend their money and have a good time. These were the people he sought out to play, and he’d sit down, play some cards with them, show them a good time and take their money. With the winnings from the poker rooms in Queens, and some encouragement from friends he ventured down to Atlantic City to try his hand at the casino tournaments. In September 2003 Filippi entered the US Poker Championship Seven Card Stud tournament at the Taj Mahal, in Atlantic City, NJ with a $300 buy-in. He came in 4th place and won $3,660. This was his very first casino tournament, but it surely would not be his last. A month later he came in 3rd place at 2003 World Poker Finals, Seven Card Stud, cashing in at $10,575, at Foxwood Resort and Casino, in Ledyard, CT.
Filippi says he enjoys the money, and the travel that professional poker playing provides him. Filippi handles his own bankroll, and did admit there are times when things get tough. I asked him how he handles the low’s of the game – he had this to say, “If stand in front of a bus 80 times, one out of those 80 times, you’re going to get hit…. it’s a number’s game, you just keep playing and eventually things will turn around.” He recommends to anyone who’s new to the game to pay attention, and read the players. “There is so much you can learn, just by watching people.” I asked him how he thought poker and business related to each other and he plainly stated, “know who you are dealing with,” either in business or in cards. I know this much, I know who’ll I’ll be watching in the poker world! Amnon Filippi.