Lee Markholt - Interview with a Champ
“Seattle Set” Lee Markholt, Jr. watched the GSN airing of the final table of the 2008 World Poker Challenge surrounded by friends and family. “I won again” he laughed, “I enjoyed the broadcast. I think Mike and Vince are great but I miss when they try and pick the winner before the show starts.” Informed that if given the chance both Mike and Vince would both have picked him, Lee laughed again, “well, that would have been fun for me too.” Winning a big money tournament on TV puts you in a good mood.
Surprisingly, nothing Lee saw on the telecast surprised him. “No, it was all pretty much what I thought. I did wonder what David (Pham) moved in with that time, [Ed note: Pham hit a set of eights on the flop and moved in for his last $115,000 with three players still to act behind him. Markholt reluctantly folded As 10c and Hyman and Devonshire folded as well) but David told me later that he hit top set, so even on that I didn’t have to wonder.”
Was that simply a professional courtesy of David’s or is Lee truly his favorite player as the Dragon says on the telecast? “Oh, David has told me that in the past. It’s nice to hear. David is one of the great No Limit Hold 'em players in the game.” But the mutual admiration only extends so far. “David just busted me at this last Bellagio Cup in Vegas. He’s already got me back,” said Lee, again with the easy chuckle of a winner.
And what of Lee’s remarkable string of cashes? Turns out that’s not a good thing. “It was very frustrating. To get that close that often and not make the final table was very frustrating. I was even chip leader or near the top on day two and three in a couple of those events and I just couldn’t make it all the way. So I made some changes in my game and finally it worked out.”
“The great thing about WPT events is the deep blind structure makes them play like a cash game. A lot of post flop play which is my strength. I’m not aggressive at all pre-flop but I think my post flop play is a good as anybody’s.”
And finally what of the “sick read” on Bryan. “Oh, its there,” said Lee. "At first I wasn’t so sure the first couple of times, so I waited and then I was sure. One hundred percent of the time I knew when he was bluffing. And I was to his left for the last two days which made things kinda hard on him.” This time the chuckle is deep.
Any chance Lee might spill the beans and say what the tell was? “No, I’m keeping that to myself. I might see Bryan again.” But could you see it on TV? “You know, I tried,” and for the first time Lee seemed puzzled by something that happened at the poker table. “But I really couldn’t tell from TV, but its there live.”
As for the future, Lee is playing the Legends of Poker in two weeks and after that? “I’m playing most of the WPTs. I don’t know if I’ll get to all of them but I’ll play as many as I can.” Why not play when you cash 42% of the times you enter a major tournament and now you’re a Tiffany bracelet wearing WPT Champion. The only surprising thing would be if he didn’t.