Interview with Tom McEvoy(Page 3 of 3)
What were you thinking during those seven hours?
"I was thinking I'd better win this tournament because I may never get to the end again. I knew winning the title was far more important than winning the money. I could see the future of how this would help me down the road. It didn't do much at the time - poker was still not considered that socially acceptable an activity as far as a profession - and the publicity was only a fraction of what it is today. You win today, and you're an instant television celebrity with all kinds of opportunities that weren't available back then. I won it a generation too soon. Also, the guy that came in third was kind of well known - his name was Doyle Brunson. That was the last time Doyle made the final table of the big one."
You're known as a real opponent of smoking - do you get catch flak from smokers about putting your weight behind non-smoking tournaments?
"Not anymore. It's hard to fathom, but only about three years ago, people still smoked at the World Series of Poker. The World Series was kind of the last bastion. It's universal now except maybe in some European venues. In 1999, we had the first non-smoking tournament in Vegas. I was able to do one with Dick Gatewood, who's still the card room manager at Sam's Town. It drew a lot of people and proved what I knew all along: People would attend a smoke-free tournament."
Do you take credit for smoke-free games?
"I helped. I had plenty of aid from other players. Casey Castle was very instrumental in lobbying people and writing letters. We just stirred up enough of a hornet's nest, and it wasn't just us. The clear majority didn't smoke, so the minority was poisoning our air. The players would get sick at the Horseshoe, which had the worst ventilation of anywhere. They called it the 'Horseshoe Crud.' You'd get sick halfway through the tournament and couldn't shake it - phlegm, coughing, blowing your nose. You either dealt with it and played the World Series of Poker under adverse chemical conditions, or you didn't play. The Horseshoe World Series could have been much bigger in the late '90s if they'd had just a little bit more enlightenment."
How does your teaching program work?
"First, I tailor a lesson plan for each student. Most people want to learn how to play No-Limit Holdem these days, particularly tournament play. Although I play all games, and I will teach all games. Many times what I do is one-table sit-and goes on PartyPoker or PokerStars. My rates are $250 an hour for that. I've given 10 hours of lessons this week. My longest session this week was four hours - that's about all anybody can handle. The shortest was 90 minutes, and that was a phone lesson. A couple guys came to my house and did two-hour sessions. A lot come back repeatedly."
What do you find yourself teaching over and over again?
"We talk about starting hand requirements, what to do in the beginning, middle and late stages of a tournament, what the strategies should be. We analyze what each player at the table is doing. It's basically developing a game plan to follow. Anybody interested in taking lessons can reach me at ."
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