Conor Mills | Freelance Automotive and Travel Journalist

Freelance Automotive and Travel Journalist

Interview: Taylor Caby

Posted by Admin On March - 1 - 2008

When it comes to online cash-game specialists, few names are more recognisable and feared than Taylor ‘Green Plastic’ Caby. the 24-year-old with a screen name taken from a Radiohead website has been beating the highest stakes cash games for over four years. He’s also found time to create and develop Cardrunners, one of the most successful poker training aids currently available on the internet. Caby was one of the first of a new generation of young US players – post Chris Moneymaker – to have huge success online and he has never looked back since. So how did the finance major from Illinois find time to pass his degree while beating the toughest games the internet has to offer and start his own business?

When did you start playing poker and how did you get into it?
I started playing a bit in high school and I knew then that I wanted to learn more about the game. I always played no-limit hold’em and started out playing $5 and $10 sit&gos with friends. During high school, I made a couple of thousand dollars just playing with people about town. I graduated in 2002 and then moved onto college, where I started playing in the dorms. I saw some of my friends playing and winning on the Internet and I began playing online in 2003.

Can you give us an insight into your rise up through the limits?
when I first started playing online, I put $35 into Ultimatebet and played $5 heads-up sit&gos. I eventually worked my way up to $100 sit&gos within about four-six months. I then started playing $0.50/$1 cash games and worked up to $5/$10 after about a year. A year and a half later I was playing $25/$50 and then Ultimatebet introduced a $50/$100 game and I started playing in that. Honestly, I think it was easier for me than it was for a lot of people. I ran pretty good at the beginning and I was pretty smart about playing. I would hardly ever go on tilt and that was a big thing.

How much tougher is it to play online now than it was when you started?
At the lower stakes I think there is still a great opportunity to make money, but at the higher games 99% of the players are pros and very competent – so the games are definitely harder. But they are by no means unbeatable. It’s hard for me to say, but I think if I were to start today I could probably have the same success, but it would take me much longer. Knowing what I know now, I think I would crush the low stakes tables by just playing 12 tables and very tight solid poker.

When you first started winning big was it something you kept from your parents?
I’m very open with my parents so I told them. They were very supportive and as long as I was getting good grades and it wasn’t affecting the rest of my life, then it was okay. When I started travelling to live events and was away from school for a week, they would ask where I had been, I had to them what I was doing.

Cardrunners is a big part of your life now, how did that all come about?
It all started in my junior year of college after I had been playing for about a year-and-a-half. I was starting to do really well. A lot of my friends in college – and who played online – were asking me to help them. I had no problem with this and enjoyed teaching people. Eventually my friend Andrew Wiggins and I decided to start a website devoted in teaching people how to play poker. We thought we could show them some of the things that made us successful. It’s only been a little over two year’s since we first started and we’ve gone from nothing to a huge community of players, all wanting to improve their poker. Now I’ve finished college I’m not playing as much poker and I’m concentrating more on the business. But to me it’s more than just a business, I really enjoy it.

What is your typical day like now in comparison to when you were studying at college?
When I started out at college playing the lower stakes, I would play between four-and-six hours a day. Now I spend a lot of time working on Cardrunners, but try to still play one or two hours a day. I mainly play $25/$50 on Ultimatebet and Full Tilt, sometimes the $50/$100 games if it’s running. I still prefer to play heads-up but I will play six-max tables occasionally if the games are good.

What is your life like outside of poker?
I’m still very close with my friends from high school and a few from college. I also have a girlfriend and spend time with my family. I try to stay as down-to-earth as possible and enjoy going to sporting events with my friends. When I’m around poker and the poker industry, the majority of conversations are poker related so when I’m outside poker, around friends, I don’t really talk about it. I think I have a good balance between the game and my life and I believe it’s important to have part of your life that has nothing to do with poker.

What do you think sets you apart from other players?
I think I’m good at playing in and out of position regarding card selection and opponents hand ranges. I also mix my play very well; I can be very aggressive and then sometimes I’ll play very straightforward, solid poker. I think I have very strong emotional control and have no problem leaving a game if I feel like I’m not playing my best. I also think I’m good at recognising how I’m being perceived and table image is a very important part of the game. It’s little nuances like these that I think I’ve mastered, giving me my edge.

Do you think it takes a certain type of person to succeed at the high limits?
I don’t think that just anybody can get to the highest stakes and beat them because there’s just too much natural talent involved. But I do think that anyone can win at the medium and low stakes games as long as they have a decent head on their shoulders and have the right knowledge and training. By playing solid and having good fundamentals, anyone has a good chance of beating these games, so much of it comes down to psychology and emotional control, things you can’t really teach someone. It really is a case of you either have it or you don’t.

Original publication: Inside poker

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