Under The Gun: Inside the mind of David Lappin

Adam Hampton
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Posted on: December 16, 2023 10:00 am EST

David Lappin is a poker writer, player, commentator and coach, as well as host and producer of the award-winning poker podcast ‘The Chip Race’.

Hailing from Dublin in the Republic of Ireland, Lappin has accrued live tournament winnings of close to $800k since recording his first result of note in 2007. Lappin is known as a tournament specialist, has enjoyed a string of scores from the WSOP to the EPT and beyond, and is an ambassador for Unibet Poker.

What’s one bit of essential prep you do before a big tournament or cash game session?

“I’m not one of those people who drinks a smoothie, meditates, takes a cold shower and writes in my gratitude journal. I’m more of a double espresso, doomscroll Twitter, hot bath, one-finger type a thousand-word article on my phone kind of guy.”

What piece of strategy advice did you get when you started playing that you wish you’d ignored?

“When multi-tabling first became a thing, I was advised by a fellow pro to play no more than six tables, because more than that would be too much to process. I listened to him initially but, in reality, my hourly was far greater playing as many tables as I could. The little bit of EV that I surrendered in each game by missing something was more than compensated by being able to multiply my edge by a greater number. Once I realised that, I ended up 40-tabling.”

Irish poker pro David Lappin, at the poker table
Lappin’s biggest live score to date came in 2009 at the Full Tilt Poker Series in Barcelona

What’s the dumbest thing you’ve seen/done at the poker table?

“It was in an EPT live satellite about six years ago. Two from the seat, two players with more than three times the average stack clashed. With six big blinds in the middle, the flop came J-5-2 with two hearts and the pre-flop flatter donk-shoved 50 big blinds with the K-Q of hearts.

The original raiser called with middle set. It was counted down and their stacks were virtually the same. I remember that play on all tables was paused, which added to the drama. The short stacks, myself included, could barely contain our mirth. There must have been a dozen players with sub-5bbs and these guys were probably the two biggest stacks.”

What’s your most memorable hand?

“I’m terrible at remembering hands. My friends will testify that I am the most unreliable hand-history narrator. The flop, at least one of my hole cards and the effective stack all change along the way as I butcher telling my story.”

Poker pro David Lappin wears a Sonic the Hedgehog t-shirt at the poker table
Lappin in a ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ t-shirt (presumably playing a turbo)

What’s your best piece of advice for poker players?

“Be sensible with your bankroll, figure out your pain threshold and be kind to yourself when it gets reached by negative variance. Study at least 30% of the time you give to poker.”

If you owned a poker room, who’s the first player you’d want to sign as an ambassador and why?

“I think that poker has done a really crumby job marketing to older players who have more disposable income than their younger counterparts. I also think that a modern ambassador needs to sing for their supper, be that as a blogger, vlogger, podcaster or twitcher.

For that reason, I would choose my longtime partner Dara O’Kearney because I have seen first hand how people respond to his various contributions. His strategy books with Barry Carter speak to professional and recreational players alike. He’s a superb blogger. He’s an excellent coach and commentator. He’s very approachable and generous with his time. He’s been a consistent winner for 17 years. He also has exceptional taste in podcast co-hosts.”

Images courtesy of the WPT