This is part two of an interview with David Williams. Read Part 1 here
Poker can be "glamorous". Is it also superficial?
Absolutely. Everything is so easy but is doesn't "fill" you. It's actually quite sad if you think about it that way. I don't do a lot with my life. Of course, it's nice to have a lot of money and to travel. But when I travel I don't get to see a lot of the culture of the countries I visit. This is the same for most players. They see their airplane, their cab, hotel, the casino and their laptop. In Spain, for example, I wanted to look at the city's architecture, but we decided to go to the beach. That's Noah's fault, haha. He wanted to get a tan and, well, I don't really one. The next time I'm in Barcelona for the WPT I'm definitely going to take a look at the cathedrals.
Did you get to see some of the Dutch culture?
Yes, luckily I did. We went to the Van Gough museum and a lot more. I've been here a couple of times before, so I know the Netherlands well. I need to start doing that in other countries as well. Not only see the casinos. When looking back now I sadly have to say that I haven't done a lot more than play tournaments and party. It's fun, but it's not much of a life.
For young players exactly that is the dream. Play tournaments and party.
That's what I say as well. They all want the life I'm living now. Playing poker tournaments, spending money and party. But I realize now that it gets old and boring very fast. I want more form my life and I want to do more with my intelligence.
Poker doesn't have a lot of dimension?
Actually poker only has one dimension. You try to be better and cleverer than the other and take their money. That's pretty much it.
You have a good relationship with your mother. She's become very well known in the poker world as a fanatic railer. Did you ever know your father?
No, never. It's not like I never had any father figures in my life. My grandfather was always there for me. My mother was a stewardess and I would always be at my grandparents when she was working. Actually I had two mothers and one father.
It's too bad they don't get to see me that often. In December they're coming to visit me in my new house and then they can watch me play at the Bellagio.
It is being said that you have more of a brother-sister relationship with your mother.
The reason for that is because we're such good friends. I was always a very good boy, so she never really had to be a mother, in the sense that she had to punish me or something like that. It wasn't like one of us had authority over the other. We were more friends and played games together. Scrabble, cards, video games. Often, kids who grow up with only one parent end up having a lot of problems, and I think that my grandfather and grandmother played an important role to stop that from happening.
You grew up in Dallas. No problem with Gangs in your neighborhood?
Well, I lived in an area that wasn't too bad. Something like a low middleclass area. In my youth I didn't go to a normal school, but to a school for highly gifted children, and that school was in a better neighborhood. During the week I would be at school and over the weekends I was with my family.
That sounds like a good, safe childhood.
Yes it was. People think it was difficult because i didn't have a father, but it was great. Playing video games with my moms, having dinners with my grandparents. There was a lot of love.
And now you're in the poker circuit. Do you get along with everybody?
Yes, I can get along with all the players. There is not one player who I can't stand. It has also changed a lot; there is a whole new generation of poker players. Back in the days when I was playing a lot of the illegal games in Dallas, there were a lot of scumbags. But still I only see very few players as my friends. Most of them have become good acquaintances and I get along with them fine, but I would never trust anyone of them with my life. That's inherent about poker: it's an egoistic game where you sit down at a table to win money from the other players. There is no friendship in the concept of poker. Most poker players primarily think about themselves, which is fine.
Who played in the clubs in Dallas?
Different kinds of people. There were chauffeurs, cooks, workers gambling away their salaries and always trying to get more money to win back their losses. At the tables where I played, which were the slightly higher limits, you found a lot of bookmakers and con artists. Many criminals. Most the people that play poker aren't the kind of people you se eon TV haha. You need to be very street smart to play poker and endure the lifestyle.
Have you been conned before?
Not that I know off. I usually have a pessimistic view about things, which leads me to be very careful. I am constantly watching over my shoulder to see what's going on. Luckily I'm street smart enough.
It must've been a change of scenery to suddenly be playing the World Series of Poker. You called it a summer camp.
Yeah, when I was younger I always used to go to camp in the summer for about 2 weeks. That was always great and I was looking forward to it all year. It was terrible for me when camp ended as it was always over far too quickly. That's also how it is with the World Series of Poker. You can't wait for it to start, and before you know it, it's all over again. Then you have to wait another year. It's just great that, once a year, everybody interested in poker is in one place.
And everybody is chasing after a bracelet. What is so special about that bracelet?
It is a stigma created by the poker society. "You need to have a bracelet, otherwise you don't count". It is actually quite weird, because winning an EPT or WPT event is worth exactly the same. The fact that I have a bracelet doesn't mean much more than that I won 1 tournament. It's just one tournament. Maybe this is so easy for me to say because I already have one, but I would happily trade it in for a big WPT triumph, together with some nice prize money obviously. For me poker is about money, and nothing else. I'd rather be someone who won 20 Million in prize money but doesn't have a bracelet, than someone who has 20 bracelets but only 4 Million in prize money. But I am very happy to own one. Now I don't have to worry about getting another one.
What have you done with prize money from the WSOP and WPT?
First of all I paid 35% tax. Many poker players don't do that, but I felt it was my obligation to give something back to society. I bought a house for my mother and my grandparents. Then I invested a great part of it, and the rest of it forms my poker bankroll. It's an extra motivation for me to do well in tournaments and cash games, as I can't get to that other money. That's my pension for later.
Up until now this has been a pretty serious interview. Let's lighten it up a little. Favorite Music?
Hmm, that's a tough one. I just installed a home cinema at my house, High Definition, Blu Ray, it's got it all. And coincidentally Pirates of the Caribbean was one of the first films I watched in it. It was a fantastic experience, even better than the cinema. The plot didn't even matter. Oh and my answer to your question has to be Goodfellas.
Short Quotes: Las Vegas is a fairy tail city and has nothing to do with reality.
That depends on how you look at it. From the eyes of a tourist that would be correct. That's also what I thought in the beginning. But once you've lived there it's different. Las Vegas is a normal city, with grocery stores, schools. The Strip in Vegas in only a small part of the city.
One bracelet or a bubble bath full of pretty women?
Eh, I already have the bracelet, so I'll go with the bubble bath, because I like women. If I wouldn't have a bracelet yet, I'd choose differently. Women come and go, but a bracelet lasts forever.
Do you believe in God?
Yes, always have. It's weird, because I am very scientifically orientated and like to see proof before I believe something. I often think about how the scientific "Me" works together with the religious side of me. There are so many things that science cannot explain, it's just there.