2008 is Richard's sixteenth year of working non-stop as a presenter in the television industry in which he is best known for his 3-year run on Channel 4's 'The Big Breakfast'.
Richard has vast experience in all areas of broadcasting and performing and his credits include: 'Find a Fortune' (ITV1), 'This Morning' (ITV1), 'The Live Six Show' (Sky One) and 'Holiday on a Shoestring' (BBC1). He hosts his own game show 'Defectors' (Virgin1) and has filmed all over the world. He is currently the face of poker on Sky Sports and one of the lead presenters on television's state-of-the-art and most exciting new channel, Sky Poker. On December 12th he will anchor the Ladbrokes Poker Million VII on Sky Sports
ML When did the poker bug grab your attention?
RO I'm not part of the old school generation who trawled the underground clubs back in the 80s and I'm not part of the new generation of internet-savvy whiz-kids, I fall right into the middle generation who first got hooked on poker by religiously watching Late Night Poker on Channel 4 every week. Jesse May, Devilfish, Ram Vaswani, Phil Hellmuth- it was just legendary TV and a real trailblazer. Often a footnote in the history of poker, in my opinion it was instrumental in making the game what it is today across the world.
ML What do you do in your spare time (if you get any)?
RO Play poker. And I'm not kidding. If I have a spare hour I will play online (on Sky Poker of course!). It's not only the second greatest recreational activity in the world (this is a family publication, so I won't mention the first) but it's an amazing time machine. Sit down for what seems like five minutes, look at your watch and four hours have passed. I've never experienced anything else like it for zapping away your life!
ML Who was the hardest person in poker to interview? I.e. evading questions...
RO They've all been good to be fair but on the flip-side Gus Hansen was the biggest eye-opener. He'd just jetted in especially off the back of a million dollar finish the night before to do an interview with me first thing in the morning on a London golf-course in the pouring rain. I couldn't have imagined a bigger crash back down to earth after the razzmatazz of the night before for him. So, I wasn't expecting an easy ride. But he turned out to be a great laugh. Cocky, but knowingly so and willing to muck around. The rumours are true about his roving eye though. When we stopped filming, it was all of five seconds before he'd secured the sound-lady's phone number. Smooth. Still, being a multi-millionaire helps.
ML Of all your Sky Poker presenters and analysts, who do you socialize more with after hours?
RO I get on with all them to be honest and see a lot of them at various do's. I've just come back from an informal poker night at Chiswick Snooker Club where I took down the great Ed Giddens. That felt good.
ML What has been your greatest achievement in poker?
RO I've spun up a ridiculously large bankroll from nothing. So that's good. But then I've slowly blown it all again. So that's bad. I sat down at a live cash table recently with £30 and walked away with £2100. So that was pretty good as well. I feel like I've got one half decent MTT win in me, you know for a prize of £20K or something. So I'm currently waiting for that to drop in my lap!
ML Where is your favourite poker room to play at live and online?
RO I love Dusk Till Dawn in Nottingham and in some ways I'm glad it's so far away from my house in London. Otherwise I'd be in there 2 or 3 times a week and probably not in profit. Online? Sky Poker. Yes I know it looks like I'm toeing the company line, but it allows me to play when I'm away from home as it's internet-based. There's also a really good community on there and I know a lot of the players through the show and the live events we do.
ML In poker, what has been your most unusual situation on TV where you thought What the F***?
RO I was fairly deep-stacked in a live event recently. There was a big raise from mid-position and I had AK in the cut-off so I pushed all-in. The big blind (on the same stack as me) called for practically all his chips, the original raiser folded. The big blind turned over Q 10 off-suit. WTF. Obviously he hit his Q on the flop to send me out the tournament.
ML On your mobile phone do you have many celebs' numbers?
RO I've got all the Sky Poker presenters and analysts. So I guess there's a fair few blokes that might be impressed I've got Helen Chamberlain's number. I've only used it a couple of times though and once had a conversation with her whilst she was in the bath! I felt like such a stalker!
ML What stakes do you like to play? And. what is your favourite variant of poker?
RO It varies of course- but I'm a big fan of 6 seater 1/2 no-limit hold 'em. It could be £1/£2 or $1/$2. I think that's where the majority of the fish are and if you can play tight aggressive and keep your discipline it's fairly easy to ramp up some cash in a short time. Holding on to it though, well- that's a different story...
Richard thank you for your time and look forward to seeing you on Sky Poker "The Open"