Katie Dozier Interview
This is part of this interview series:
Cardschat Interviews - Online US Poker Players Who Have Re-located
A women of many interests, Katie Dozier has used her culinary school training to enjoy life and her creative writing pursuits at Florida State University to edit and write books, as well as pen many articles in her current career as a full-time professional poker player. A casual interest in home games led to a knack for the game that transitioned into a career, and combining that with the writing and poker pursuits of husband Collin Moshman, the two have become a force in the poker world. While both enjoy live games, online poker is not only their first love but their livelihood as well.
CardsChat (CC): When did you move from the US?
Katie Dozier (KD): Last summer, after I had a pretty good WSOP, I decided to think about leaving the country. My husband and I went to Mexico, checked it out, and had a bad first day but looked around and realized that we actually liked it a lot. We started going back and forth between Vegas and Mexico, and at the beginning of this year, we made the official transition because we liked playing online so much. It was worth it.
CC: To where did you move and why?
KD: We picked Rosarito because we have a giant yellow Labrador, and we didn't want to have him air-lifted to another country (laughs). We wanted somewhere we could drive to, and Mexico was the easiest for that. We also knew of other players relocating to Rosarito, and it offered a lot of good things, like a low cost of living and guacamole.
CC: Was it a difficult decision?
KD: The final move was really tough, to be honest, because we sold almost everything we owned. We went from a five-bedroom house in Vegas to owning just what we could fit in one car, plus our pets. That was really freeing in a way, but it was also kind of odd. When we bought our bed, we spent a lot of money on it because we thought we'd always have it, but suddenly we were selling it for an eighth of what we paid for it. That was a little overwhelming, but the factor of online poker was so major to us that we almost felt like we didn't have a choice.
CC: What did your family and/or friends say about the move?
KD: My dad was a bit concerned with safety, but I always reassure him that we live in a gated area, and there are security guards everywhere. Where I live now is probably safer than our neighborhood in Las Vegas. My mom was excited because she's a flight attendant and loves traveling, so she was excited to come visit me in Mexico. Everyone was a little nervous but excited for us because we were so excited.
CC: How much online poker do you play on a given day?
KD: Some days, I take off and don’t play. When I first got back online, I didn't take a single day off because I was so happy to be playing online again, but today, I tend to play about 60 hours a week. A lot of those hours are on Friday and the weekends, but I get in the other hours during the week.
CC: What games (tournaments and/or cash) and stakes do you play?
KD: I play tournaments up to mid-stakes and MTTs and SNGs. I started playing 27-man tournaments, but my bread and butter is 180-mans. I've played probably more 180-man tournaments than any other kind this year. I just decided recently that I want to expand beyond No Limit Hold'em tournaments, so I started playing $.20/$.40 mixed games on PokerStars. I'm having a blast, and it's really fun to be learning new games instead of just looking at it as my income source.
CC: What kind of online poker setup do you have?
KD: I have two monitors, but I play on one 30" monitor, and I tile and stack and use hot keys to make it easier. I play in a dark lair in our apartment, which keeps the sun glare off my screen. My husband and I play in separate rooms. He takes the ocean-view room, but I couldn't stand the glare, so that's fine with me. I like to play in a darker room. I'll play up to 35 tables on one screen, so I have to be able to see them all!
CC: What type of bankroll management do you use?
KD: I am an extreme bankroll nit. I play with way more buy-ins than I need to, in general with about 1500 times my average buy-in. That's how I feel comfortable, and I also like keeping my money on PokerStars because it feels very safe to me instead of a Mexican bank. My nittiness also comes from my time grinding super-turbo SNGs, where I've seen from the staking side of my husband's business just how extreme swings can be. I like to be at a level where I feel very comfortable.
CC: Do you practice or study in any way to improve your game?
KD: I talk to Collin a lot, but I use a lot of software programs for analysis, like SitNGo Wizard or the Nash equilibrium calculator. I go through my own hand histories. Also, coaching people has the great benefit of looking at my own game when I'm looking at someone who plays different than me. I'll sometimes look at Collin's games, too.
CC: How do you cope with swings?
KD: It was a lot more different in super-turbo SNGs, where you can easily drop 175 buy-ins without it being too dramatic. The games I play now are lower variance, so it's been easier. When I am in a downswing, I use that as an excuse to study a lot more, and oftentimes, my 60 hours a week also consists of studying at least 10 hours a week. During a downswing, I might increase the study time to 30 hours a week so I feel confident when I go back to the tables.
CC: Do you play live poker where you live now?
KD: Not any that I would feel comfortable playing!
CC: What is the general poker scene like there?
KD: There are a lot of really great restaurants, which is fun. It's also not uncommon that you run into people who you figure must be fellow poker players. The town isn't that huge, and I think there are over 200 poker players there. I also like to go down south to Encinatas to a fish market, which is really cheap but has the best seafood I've ever tasted. They also have other things like octopus and cactus that I get to cook with a lot. As a chef, it's really amazing. I went to a French culinary school, so I'm not well-versed in Mexican cuisine, but I'm learning and using that as a fun experience.
CC: How often do you visit the US?
KD: Before this trip to the WSOP, I had been in Mexico for about three and a half months straight, which is the longest I've ever been out of the US, so I was definitely homesick at that point. But now that we're there full time, we'll probably leave every few months and go to San Diego for a few days and enjoy being in the US, going to ridiculously gaudy malls and stuff (laughs).
CC: Do you miss your life in the US?
I really miss living in Vegas. I loved the 24-hour nature of Vegas because I tend to be a night owl. If you wanted to go eat at 2:00am, you had a lot of options, whereas in Mexico, that is not the case. I miss having access to live poker. But on the flip side, I get to play online poker in Mexico, live on the beach and go to the beach every day, eat great and inexpensive food, and live cheaply with a high quality of life.
What would you say to others who are considering a move for online poker?
Don't overestimate your win rate. Don't assume that because you were a winning player pre-Black Friday that it's going to be the same. When I got online, I broke even for about a month starting at much lower stakes than what I was used to leading up to Black Friday in order to make sure I was comfortable. It's not something that I could immediately 30-table when I first got back; I had to build up again to that level. Try to be realistic about your expectations.
The way Collin and I did it, first part-time and then full-time, it made the transition a lot less abrupt. That's something I'd look at, too. I'd try to find a friend in Rosarito or wherever you're going, go for a couple weeks, and see how you like it.
CC: Do you believe the US will offer online poker that will entice you to return to America?
It would take the ability to play on PokerStars. As a tournament player, no other sites will do at this point. Hopefully, if something builds up that compete with the player pool of PokerStars, it's a possibility, but it would take a lot. As a cash player, my situation would be different.
-Interview by Jennifer Newell