One year ago, Scott Montgomery was thrust into the spotlight as a member of the inaugural November Nine. He entered the final table in third chip position and eventually finished in fifth place to score a huge payday worth $3,096,768. With the this year’s World Series of Poker main event final table exactly one month away, Card Player caught up with Montgomery to talk about his November Nine experience, and he even offers a little advice for this year’s new set of nine.Ryan Lucchesi: What advice can you give this year’s November Nine players as they prepare for the most important final table of their career?Scott Montgomery: Looking back on it, I decided not to get coaching because I thought the game was based so much on personal style. If I had to do it again, I would have gotten some coaching, maybe not from one person, but a couple of different people to get a couple different looks at the game. I don’t know if it would have helped or not, but there is always a chance.RL: You played a lot of tournaments between the summer and the WSOP main event final table during this time last year. Were you happy that you did that?SM: I had a pretty bad run during that four-month period. It was kind of annoying being on a down-swing, but I don’t think it affected me much one way or the other. I’d do it again the same way, because I wouldn’t have wanted to go into the final table without having played in a tournament in the past two months; the nerves would have been just too much. I think that was a good decision on my part, so I’m happy with that.RL: Even with you playing a lot of tournaments leading up to that final table, it still must have been a completely different experience in November. Did you expect the huge crowds in the Penn and Teller Theater that created such an exciting and overwhelming atmosphere?SM: I was super nervous before the final table. I was one level away from freaking out. There was just so much to take in and so much build up, there’s no way to prepare for it.RL: How much has your life changed in the year since you made the November Nine appearance?SM: My life hasn’t changed too much because I was a poker player beforehand. Not having to worry about the money is the main difference. I can go play in any tournament, and even if I run bad for six months, it doesn’t matter. It makes life a lot easier and a lot less stressful.RL: Did the huge cash you scored give legitimacy to your lifestyle in the eyes of your family, or had they already accepted what you were doing outside of the normal boundaries of society?SM: They were always pretty cool with it. Right off the bat I won $300,000 in Los Angeles last year. That was the first World Poker Tour event I ever played in, so that was the win that told my family that this was not just a phase or something. They all knew what it was about.RL: ESPN is the biggest platform that poker has in the eyes of the general public, so after you starred on the network’s biggest stage do you find that people recognize you in public?SM: I never get recognized in public, only in poker rooms. Never on the street though.RL: Would you say that is a classic case of poker famous versus actual famous?SM: I’ve definitely heard that one. I remember last year at the World Series my sister asked me if I was playing with anybody famous. I told her that I was playing with Bobby Baldwin, and because she knows nothing about poker, she thought I was playing with one of the Baldwin brothers from Hollywood [laughs]. Afterwards, I told her I thought she meant poker famous, not famous-famous. There’s a big difference between the two.RL: Have any of the November Nine finalists from this year come to you for advice? And if they haven’t, what advice would you give them?SM: Somehow I doubt that anybody would ever come up and ask me advice, because I’m pretty much regarded as one of the worst players in the whole world. I would have to say go for broke. No matter what people have at the beginning of the final table, no matter what people have in mind, people are going to play tight for those first few hours. That’s the time to press on the gas. Last year, Ylon [Schwartz] was the only person who was aggressive during the first three hours, and he built up a huge stack. Suddenly he lost one pot, and then tightened up for the rest of the tournament. He was the one guy playing loose, and so he built up a lot of chips. It can be done.
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