By Anutr ‘mapp888′ Amranand, January 2012
Jeff Duvall – The Best Poker Player You’ve Never Heard Of
If you have ever played in a live cash game, you will have come across many archetypal ‘old regs’. These are simply old regulars, often professionals, who do not play many hands and usually make money out of bad players. Jeff Duvall is old and is a ‘reg’, but he is on a completely different planet to these guys.
Jeff Duvall is primarily a cash game player and usually stays away from the limelight, but he has won a number of Omaha, Omaha Hi/Lo, Stud and HORSE tournaments. His local casino is The Grosvenor Victoria Casino in London, where he has played there for many years and still crushes the games on a regular basis. At ‘The Vic’, Jeff can be found playing a wide variety of games ranging from £2/£5 PLO to £10/£25 Round Of Each (one round of No Limit Hold’em and one round of Pot Limit Omaha), to £75/£150 Limit Mixed Games. You could say that he is a Mixed Games specialist.
Years of Experience
Jeff Duvall has been around for many years in the UK poker scene. But his poker story is remarkably different to the other poker superstars of today. He used to be a professional blackjack player in Las Vegas; he was part of a team full of card counters. But once the casinos did not let them play anymore, he turned to poker in the late 1980s. He admitted in an interview that he did not win at the beginning. But gradually, he studied the game more seriously and grinded his way up the stakes.
I have had the pleasure of playing against Jeff on a number of occasions, mostly in cash games. He always sits very deep, covering all the players at the table. He is obviously very confident of his game, and rightly so. Jeff is extremely proficient at all the games and has a vast amount of experience.
One of the things that I remember about Jeff is that, whenever the action is on him, he makes his decisions very quickly. He is easily one of the best players I have ever played with, and the only leak I can think of in his game is that he can sometimes make decisions too quickly and impatiently. But you have to remember, he mostly plays in live Mixed Cash Games. If you dwell for minutes like the Hold’em players in tournaments, the fish will not be around for long. Plus, when compared to No Limit Hold’em, the Mixed Games are more about the cards and how you play them, and less about the psychology.
At the poker tables, Jeff is always seen betting on something. This leads me to believe that he is a true gambler at heart, but a pretty good one. He is far different from T.J. Cloutier, who has more of a gambling addiction and cannot stay away from the crap tables, a game that the house has a permanent edge. Fellow UK pro Peter Charalambous says, “Jeff loves and knows a lot about American football; and he is definitely a sports bettor winner”.
Highly Respected by His Peers
The first time I played with Jeff Duvall was in a £5/£5 Pot Limit Omaha cash game in Blackpool during the GUKPT festival a few years ago. I remember the game being particularly juicy, but that was before Jeff sat down. Marc Goodwin, who was obviously not taking the game too seriously and had the money to splash around, tightened up tremendously as soon as Jeff sat down. The game broke about an hour later. I remember JP Wilkins who was also playing in the game said, “Nobody thought they were the best player at the table anymore”.
It is clear that the players respect his game highly. Peter Charalambous says, “As far as all the old poker pros in the UK, Jeff Duvall and Freddy Carle are the two old time legends at the Vic”. “I would say that Pot Limit Omaha, or possibly Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo, is his best game. But he is a very solid player in all the Mixed Games”.
Even though in cash games Jeff does not play Hold’em as much as other poker variants, he is still extremely competent at the game. Below are some of the biggest cashes Jeff has had in No Limit Hold’em tournaments in recent years.
|July 2011||£500 UKIPT Brighton Main Event||3rd||£ 25,300|
|April 2010||€2000 EPT Grand Final Monte Carlo Side Event||2nd||€ 54,000|
|July 2009||$10,000 WSOP Main Event||42nd||$ 178,857|
|November 2008||£3000 GUKPT Grand Final London Main Event||2nd||£ 96,600|
A Role Model
Nevertheless, Jeff Duvall is still renowned for his prowess in the Mixed Cash Games. He seems to be very honest about his game and knows exactly where his edges are, especially given the number of young online poker players that have mastered No Limit Hold’em. During a cash game in the recent GUKPT Grand Final in London 2011, Jeff was asked why he did not play in the Main Event, he simply replied, “I just didn’t fancy it”. The field was very tough indeed; the final table included the likes of John Gale, James Mitchell, Jake Cody and eventual winner Fabian Quoss.
He knew his edges were bigger in the cash games, especially with the Russian millionaire in town for the week. On the contrary, I have also seen Jeff refused to play in one of his best games, the £75/£150 Mixed Games; the game was short-handed and missing some of the action players that usually livened it. His first-rate game selection and money management skills have definitely separated him from the rest of the poker professionals.
With over $1.2m in tournament winnings, Jeff Duvall is currently 50th in the England All Time Money List, as of the writing of this article. This is very mediocre for someone of his ability. But remember, Jeff is not like the typical tournament players of today who are broke and backed by other people on a regular basis. Plus he spends more time playing cash games and I am confident that he has made much more money in them.
Jeff is a true professional, and also a great role model for the younger poker players. He is also very a nice guy at the poker table. Peter Charalambous adds, “I have always got on with him and respected him on and off the table, and that’s something I don’t feel very often”. Jeff has a few years left in him, hopefully he will win a major tournament and gain the recognition and limelight he deserves.
Jeff Duvall Interviews
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