If you have been reading results from tournaments held across Canada, you probably recognize the name Norm Overdijk by now; it’s pretty hard not to notice considering he has made Canadian “major” tournaments final tables in 7 provinces and at least as many cities over 2011, all No Limit Hold-em, with buy-ins ranging from $500 to $5000.
Events in Vancouver, Calgary, Regina, Winnipeg, Moncton, Halifax, Sydney and Charlottetown have all contributed in what amounts to more than $90,000 in winnings over the past year; with at least $200,000 “official” live tournament career winnings (as near as we can figure) in major live tournaments since rounding the Canadian Circuit for just the past few years. Messing around on PokerStars, Overdijk has racked up about $70,000 more over the same period.
Most recently, Norm had some quite impressive finishes in both the $3000 and $5000 events at the 2011 BCPC’s finishing 18th in the Main Event and a very respectable 5th in the “High-Roller”. Pending a final points tally and with Canada’s poker calendar all but wrapped up for the year, it looks quite likely that Overdijk will emerge as the CPT points leader for 2011, thus also earning their “Player of The Year Title. It will be a very close finish between him and Ryan Comely, though the BCPCs might end up being the “kicker”. As Norm, Todd Hunter and Gavin Smith all made a 3 way deal for CPT player sponsorship money in the Players Championship event at the start of the year, his performance can pretty much be considered the storybook ending from a few different angles.
We have to also say, Norm is definitely one of the most easy going, unique, laid back, poker personalities we have met on our travels and at 6’4”, with tons of table talk in him; he’s pretty hard to miss. Away from the felts, he rides Harley, flies ultralight planes and skydives, which should all help to paint the picture of what this adrenaline junky is all about.
We caught up with Norm in what might just be the most off the wall and easy reading interview we’ve done all year. We think you’ll enjoy getting to know what makes Norm “Road Kill_00” Overdijk tick; here is what he had to say…
CP: You’ve really put on some miles, playing from coast to coast over 2011 and doing a lot of cashing along with it. From what we’ve seen and photographed, you seem to just go out and have a good time. How did you get to this point in your game? Where and when did you start?
Norm Overdijk: “I started playing Texas Hold’em 5 years ago. It all started at my good friend Rollie Dixon’s; we played in the basement of a house nestled on the base of the Highland Mountains, in beautiful Big Baddeck, Cape Breton. My friend had a beer fridge and a wooden stove (go figure…that’s why it’s still Norm-Beer-Poker today) and two homemade poker tables that 14-18 guys would sit around every Tuesday with the soda of their choice. We named the basement bar ’Dixon’s Drinkery’ and that’s where I first started playing Texas Hold’em. I used to fold 2 pairs and the guys would give me a hard time, but I eventually got the hang of it and started winning all the time.”
“It was a friendly $20 game, and everyone would throw a toonie in the jar to play a tournament for $1,000 at the end of the year. I won that tournament and bought into the inaugural Atlantic Canada Lotteries tournament in PEI. We ended up making a deal and I finished 3rd, though I really wanted to push forward for the win. One thing I did learn from that tournament was that I was hooked, and knew I wanted to compete a lot more going forward! There is no better feeling than reaching out with both arms to drag in a monster pot that takes 5 minutes to stack, and then trying to decide what to build with your chips.”(Chuckles).
“At the end of the day though, if I bust out of any tournament, as long as I had fun I walk away happy. I don’t think anything is worth doing, unless you really enjoy doing it!”
CP: “How do your home game buddies take in all of this now? Is there a lot of support from the local players when they see you crushing across the country?”
Norm Overdijk: “My friends back home are very happy and supportive and follow along on CanadaPoker.com, and I thank you guys for you coverage and keeping them in the loop. I enjoy that I can walk into poker rooms around the country and have the friends I have made come congratulate come up, shake my hand, and congratulate me on my latest results. I also really like that on the wall at the Atlantic Lottery office is a wall size picture of me with my hands in the air after my 3rd in their event.”
CP: “You mentioned playing online prior to hitting the live scene hard and you’ve had some sizable scores. Do you think that the experience against the playing styles helped you make the final table of the BCPC High Roller?“
Norm Overdijk: “I used to play the 45 man and 180 man sit and goes until I constantly made it to the final table. I got pretty consistent at that and started taking cheques. In the large field multi-table tournaments, a couple of my best finishes were wining the $162 Nightly $100,000 GTD for nearly $25,000 as well as finishing 45th in the Sunday Million. I think this all most definitely helped me develop my play. I also think there is a bit of luck involved in poker and I consider myself fairly lucky.” (Laughs)
CP: “You’ve managed to play against a good number of the countries toughest household names an tournaments this year; first there was the chop with Gavin Smith at the CPT Invitational/Kick-off, then you had to deal with Scott Clements, Mike Watson, Tom Marchese and Matt Jarvis late in the $5,000 at BCPC. Obviously these WSOP bracelets, WPT titles and Player of The Year awards don’t scare you much. What’s your secret for dealing with these high level thinking players on the felts? What factors do you look for in choosing which tournaments to play.”
Norm Overdijk: “The big names are much more challenging, that is what I like. These are the guys I want to beat, the opponents that get me pumped up. I also love watching UFC, and if there was a seniors’ Ultimate Fighting Championship, even though I am 51 years of age, I would start training yesterday!(Laughs). I’m not nervous at the table with these guys, and there is no better feeling to outplay a pro with my amateur status. Final table with the pros is where the real challenge of who can outplay who to get to the top spot is…and I love it!”
“I do have a system though…as I said before I started playing poker over beers with friends; so that’s how I know how to play now. I start a list at about beer #5 – if you happen to be put on the top of the list, that most likely means I will be looking to felt you next. If you don’t want to be at the top of the list, buy me a beer and you’ll be moved to the bottom of the list again..it works! (Laughs). I am thinking of changing this strategy for final table though…probably going to switch from beer to caesars!(Laughs) Seriously though, it’s an honor to play with the Pros…you have to learn to beat the best if you want to be the best…and I do.”
“The BCPC is always my favorite stop as it is the largest event in Canada and the toughest field; I would have liked this year even better if the ’High-Roller’ field would have been bigger. The one thing that draws me to a tournament is the size of the field…the larger the better…and of course the bigger the pot at the end of the proverbial rainbow is nice, but the win is what really counts; the more players I can eliminate, the happier I am.”
CP: “You have a bit of a story about crushing the $5,000 satellite in BC, can you tell us a bit more about that?”
Norm Overdijk: “At first I wasn’t very happy to learn that only 1/15 players where going to gain entry into the $5,000 tournament, but then I guessed that just meant I would have to play a little harder. There were 150 players with 10 qualifying for a seat. I knew I didn’t need to win, so I just tried to chip up a bit every round and stay average stacked. With two tables left I ended up beating up the players as chip leader with everyone was playing tight as we neared the bubble. By the time it got down to 12, I didn’t think it was very polite to keep raising everyone, so I left the table and let the remaining players play it out. (Laughs). I think I have it down pat now; I have been fortunate enough to satellite into 3 Main Events at BCPC so far.”
CP: “We also have to ask you about the Atlantic Canada Poker Championships; during the $500 qualifying rounds, we couldn’t help but notice that you ended up with 2nd place chips early on, but then you played again to improve on this count, which you amazingly managed to do. Knowing the lower stack would be null and void, that was a pretty risky move. Was this just about staying warmed up or was it about only the top spot will do?
Norm Overdijk: “I wanted to improve my stack and get to be chip leader! I’m not a spectator, and I’ll play if for no other reason than for the love of the game. Those qualifying rounds were a lot of fun and one spectator was enjoying taking a body count. He told me I busted 18 players from one table (Chuckles).”
CP: “Are you burnt out yet, or can we expect to see you this active in 2012?”
Norm Overdijk: “My goal for 2012 is to play as much poker as I can and possibly even win a bracelet at a world class event. My dream would be to pick up a sponsor, and tour the circuit in Europe doing what I love to do and play against the best in the game. I have my sights set on playing in the PCA. As for getting burnt out, not yet and I have to send out lots of love to my hot wife Murdena; especially my two sons Joshua and Luke, and my beautiful darling daughter Luchia. They give me so much support and I thank them for putting up with me not being there for them while I am on the road playing poker. God Bless you. To any ’would be’ fans I may have picked up along the way and those who have cheered me on along the way, I really appreciate the support. As for my new poker friends ’thanks for the donation’ and see you next time on the felts!”
Thanks again to Norm for his time and kind words, and we would like to congratulate on all his success this year. We’ll keep you posted on the POY results as they become available, but until then, try to avoid becoming Norm’s next “roadkill”!