WORDS: Rachel Etheridge
IMAGES: Niomi Fraser, David Vamplew
David Vamplew, 24, is at the top of Scotland’s all-time money list for playing poker. The university of Edinburgh graduate has made £1 million playing poker worldwide; more than anyone else in Scottish history. We caught up with him to ask about his phenomenal success.
How did you begin playing poker?
I was introduced to poker in 2005 just after starting university when a friend suggested a game. I went on to learn the basics round their kitchen table and things went from there.
What made you decide to become a professional player?
Round about the third year of my degree I was making more money playing online cash games than I was from my supermarket job and decided to quit my job. After graduating I then started playing online full-time.
How do your parents feel about your chosen profession?
I think my parents were a bit sceptical at first. But, after having some success, they came round to the idea and now my mum is my biggest fan!
What have been your greatest successes and disappointments?
My greatest success in poker was definitely my European Poker Tour (EPT) win in October 2010. It was incredible to get a win in one of my first big live tournaments. Every time I bust out of a tournament it is disappointing; if I make any errors or get unlucky it’s hard not to think of what could have been. I am always just moving on to the next tournament though.
What have been the most exciting locations that you have played in?
Although it can sometimes be difficult to see muchmore than the airport, hotel and casino, I try to make the effort in most places to see a little of the city. I was in melbourne in January for a couple of weeks and had a great time there. It was my first trip to that part of the world and I really enjoyed the experience.
Tell us about some of your upcoming tournaments?
I am currently on the way to Slovenia to play in an Italian Poker Tour event there and have a pretty packed schedule coming up in the next few months. I will be going to all the EPT events until the end of the season – madrid, Campione d’Italia, Berlin and the Grand Final in monte Carlo at the end of April. Then at the end of may the World Series of Poker starts so I will be leaving for Vegas for the summer.”
You are the most successful poker player in scottish history. What advice would you give others trying to become professional players? I think the best policy with regards to becoming a poker professional is not to set out with that as your goal. Play as a hobby first and make sure you are enjoying yourself. If you find poker to be a grind or not enjoyable, you are unlikely to be very successful in it as a job in the long run.
What will you spend your winnings on?
I mostly spend my earnings on travel, both for business and pleasure, and on reinvesting in poker tournament buy-ins. I am also in the process of redecorating my flat at the moment so I am spending a bit on that.”
Follow David on Twitter @davidv1213