» Andrew 'luckychewy' Lichtenberger Interview
November 2nd, 2009 (2:28pm)
Andrew 'luckychewy' Lichtenberger, 21, is a young rising star in the poker world. He started in the cash game world, but got bored with ring games when he moved to $3-6. He turned his focus to tournament play and has had some great live and online results. In the 2009 WSOP, he was the runner-up in the $5K NLH Shootout and placed 18th in the Main Event for a combined score of over $750K. Andrew now plays $25/50 or higher on a regular basis while still playing tournaments. He is an instructor at LeggoPoker and resides in Bethesda, Maryland.
Your LeggoPoker bio starts "When you think of an aggressive, fearless player, the name luckychewy needs to come to mind". We always read about these new young aggressive players taking over the poker world. Help us understand what makes you so aggressive and fearless. Is it something innate or learned?
It's definitely something learned. When I first started playing poker I was tighter than you could imagine. Over time you realize that playing tight just doesn't result in winning automatically when you play tougher competition, and you are forced to think deeper into things. That's when poker really becomes interesting and you begin the process of evolving your poker game.
When newer or tighter players see tremendously loose and aggressive play they see a maniac who is bound to lose all their chips. Can you share your mindset and approach at the table. Are you just trying to outplay everyone or is there a method to your madness?
Of course there is a method to the madness. ALMOST every time a notoriously strong poker player does something ridiculous, there is a reason for it. Be it meta-game, a certain specific read on their opponent, or just playing in a way that is actually very reasonable but not perceived as such by less experienced observers. Often times however, outplaying everyone and doing the former go hand in hand. My approach to the table is very frequently if not always, just to play each hand to the best of my abilities and the results are more or less gravy.
In a recent blog entry, you described a live hand you played at the Bellagio "50-1 guy opens to 300 call i make it 1100 sb flats he makes it 4600 fold i call sb calls. i have aa. flop a34ss, chk jam for 24.5 kcall fold. 56ss is good. that was the opposite of fun." How do you handle big swings, especially after a frustrating hand like that? When you play cash, do you play with a strict stop loss?
I got drunk and convinced the waiter at a high end steakhouse it was my birthday. He somehow found a way to give us the macaroni and cheese they were previously sold out of, and a birthday cake. Not sure how else one would deal with something like this. I play until I feel I'm not playing optimally, which will often times correlate to the amount of money I am down.
You finished 18th in this year's WSOP Main Event and second in the $5k NLH Shootout. Describe what is was like to do so well in your first WSOP series.
It was an extremely surreal feeling and I am unbelievably fortunate to have done so well right off the bat at my first WSOP. I have always felt I am one of, if not the best, tournament players so to do well in my first series felt incredible. I know I ran very well to have done as well as I did but I know for sure I was playing way better than my competition and had big edges in all of the events I played. In a previous blog of mine I expressed my disinterest in ESPN not showing some of the awesome hands I played, or the awesome table talk I had with Ivey and others, but when it comes down to it they have to show what is good for TV. And as much as I want it, a random 21 year old from the east coast who plays really good and says funny stuff isn't as interesting for the general public as a guy who final tabled the WSOP before or a Spanish girl who makes a big run in it.
You had several guest appearances on the '2 Months. 2 Million' poker reality show on G4. You came across as a pretty funny and playful guy. What was that experience like?
It was an awesome experience to be on 2m2mm and I did nothing but be myself the entire time. It seemed as if everyone either loved me or hated me and few people were unsure of the luckychewy guy. Dani has been a good friend of mine for some time and I only met Jay, Brian, and Emil this summer but they are all great people and I'm glad their show had so much success. I hope nothing but the best for them in the future and really would like to see them do a second season.
With your big summer scores, how has that affected where and what levels you play?
It's made me really lazy to be honest. During and slightly after the summer was over I partied a bunch while I was still in Vegas and basically wasn't interested in grinding poker at all. Once I went back to DC, I took some shots at big games and although I know I was playing my A game I went on a biggish downer. I'm still playing what I believe to be my A game and have seen better results as of late, but have taken a back seat to some of the bigger online games, even though I want to get back in there as soon as possible.
Which do you prefer these days, cash or tournaments, live or online?
I truly enjoy the feeling of being deep in a tournament, which I think is rooted in the fact that I like being the 'winner'. To me it's like nothing else in poker because although the rush of winning big in cash games is very enjoyable, you can't even truly 'win', even if you bust everyone. Though I will admit at times playing heads up online or other games I have felt similar feelings of victory. Playing big cash games, online or live, are also very exhilarating for me. I'd say as of now I'm coming to enjoy live poker more and more but maybe only because I've played so much online and am still relatively new to the 'live world'.
What players do you most fear/respect playing and why?
This is obviously a tough question to answer but I'll just go over the players who have given me the most trouble in the past; online, both fullflush and Isaac Haxton bludgeoned me heads up. I believe to have run fairly badly against them and only played 1 session against each but regardless of that, both of them are very strong players and have a deep understanding of the game.
You lived with a bunch of your fellow LeggoPoker instructors this summer. You seemed pretty tight. Give us an entertaining story or two from the summer.
Probably the two most entertaining stories are both prop bets against the esteemed ASHMAN. One day after a long session of Chinese we stumble out of our buddies house at 10am and Ashton claims he can climb a mountain in the distance. I instantly counter with 'no the FUCK you can't, and I'll put 10k on it'. He promptly accepts and after some difficulties getting over the fence to the aforementioned mountain, then jets up it(turned out to be more of a hill) and gets past the obstacles which turned out to be killer bees, snakes, and cacti. (Youtube vids of this prop bet - part 1
and part 2
Fortunately, I was able to get my money back when I got 7:1 on $500 and 5:1 on $1,000 on the sex of the gatekeeper at our community. IT was a mystery for the 4 of us living at our house and others who had visited for some 3 odd weeks, and one night he eventually put his money where his mouth was. He wanted to bet on man, and despite me having thought it was a man I knew it was close enough I had to accept. We asked a different gatekeeper and thankfully he told us it was a woman only after telling us everyone who lives there asks him the same thing. Vegas is a crazy place for more than a few reasons.
What do you like best about being an instructor at LeggoPoker?
I like the opportunity to be considered strong enough at poker to be able to have an essential 'job' to teach others how to play as well as I do. I have also met lots of great people through LeggoPoker, that I would likely otherwise never have gotten the opportunity to meet.
What types of videos have you made at LeggoPoker?
I've made tournament videos, 6 max videos, and heads up videos.
Looking forward, what are your aspirations in the poker world?
My aspirations are to just keep doing what I've been doing and continue to succeed and improve at the limits I have been playing. It has always been a goal of mine to win a big live tournament, but that's less of an aspiration as I know it will come with time and volume because that's just how I roll.
What advice would you give to those aspiring to follow in your poker footsteps today?
Just practice, practice, practice, and meet and talk with other people in the same spots as you. When I was coming up in the ranks, I strategized with people who are high stakes players now, but at the time were playing the same games as I was. The Twoplustwo forums were also invaluable in my success as they had some great posts from more advanced players(at the time) and even if some of the stuff doesn't necessarily apply to the games today, it may open your poker mind to things you hadn't previously thought about.
For newer players, do you recommend MTT's, Sit n Go, or cash games to build your bankroll and become a better player?
Definitely cash games and it's not really close in any way. Once you learn how to play cash games and build a roll doing so, dabbling in tournaments is an okay idea because the goal for most players is to be fortunate enough to crush high stakes and play high stakes tournaments on the side. Sit n goes are nothing but the devil and most people will agree with me on that.
Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions, Andrew. Before you go, we have several fun questions inspired by Bravo's Inside the Actors Studio.
What is your favorite fun poker phrase/slang/acronym?
I like saying 'slammed' such and such card when someone gets there. Example - Aejones slammed the Ts to prevent elimination and triple up in the WPT.
If the poker industry disappeared completely, what other career would you most like to attempt?
Probably taming lions so one of them could eat me, I wouldn't have to work a real job at any point ever.
If you were on death row, what would be your last meal?
Probably naked fish, maybe yellow tail at the Bellagio. Hopefully I don't ever have to make such a decision! I like good sushi though.
When your poker career is over, what would you most like to be remembered for?
Being the biggest boss everyone's seen thus far.