Poker Stories

By Card Player Media

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Reviews: 1

Robert Stovey
 Jul 25, 2019
Very good listen. I like that it's just not all about the poker and you get to learn about the people and all their various backgrounds...keep up the great guests!!


Card Player, The Poker Authority, is an industry-leading publication and web portal specializing in poker media, strategy and tournament coverage. Poker Stories is a long-form audio series that features casual interviews with some of the game’s best players and personalities. Each episode highlights a well-known member of the poker world and dives deep into their favorite tales both on and off the felt.

Episode Date
Poker Stories: Jesse Martin

Jesse Martin is a highly-respected poker pro and sports gambler from Massachusetts. Although he started out as a cash game player and has always competed in high-stakes mixed games, Martin has also done quite well on the tournament circuit, racking up more than $3.2 million. He has also won millions online playing under the name 'MazeOrBowie', and had a fourth-place finish in the SCOOP main event for $401,600.

Martin has several final-table finishes at the World Series of Poker, including a third-place showing in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship for $594,570, along with two bracelet wins. His first came in the 2013 $10,000 No-Limit Deuce-To-Seven event, where he won $253,524. His second title came in 2017, when he pocketed $130,948 for taking down the $2,500 Mixed Triple Draw event.

In the last few years following the birth of his son, Martin has started playing less poker and devoting more of his working time to daily fantasy sports. In December, he beat a field of 180 in the DraftKings Fantasy Football World Championship in Miami to earn a massive $2 million payday.

Highlights from this interview include catching poker right before the boom, Syracuse to TurningStone, Red Sox and Phish, talent vs. hard work, chasing a fish into a H.O.R.S.E. game, a painful finish at the LAPC, bracelet or watch?, $3,000-$6,000 game in Bobby's Room, dirty looks from Gus Hansen, thriving in crazy games, one hand at $200-$400 no-limit, getting paid by Chino Rheem, barbershop quartet conventions in Austria, being bad at bagels, Larry Bird words, what winning $2 million feels like, Joey Chestnut, running good/bad against John Hennigan, 175 concerts, why you shouldn't compliment his stack size, and how Rudy Gobert gave him a big COVID-19 win.

May 26, 2020
Poker Stories: Danny Tang

Danny Tang was first introduced to poker by his older brother back in Wales, and dreamed of one day sitting head-to-head with the likes of Phil Ivey or Tom Dwan. Less than a decade later, Tang is now hopping from high roller-to-high roller stop on private jets with the very same Ivey and Dwan. The 28-year-old poker pro didn't start competing on the circuit regularly until 2016, but he quickly rose up the ranks and has now racked up more than $8.4 million in live tournament earnings.  

Tang had a breakout victory at the PokerStars Championship Prague main event in December of 2017. The next summer, he went deep in the World Series of Poker main event, earning $230,475 for 31st place. Later that year, he very nearly repeated his win in Prague, ultimately settling for fourth place in back-to-back runs. In 2019, Tang picked up the three biggest scores of his career. The Hong Kong resident earned $1.83 million for his runner-up showing to Bryn Kenney at the Triton Montenegro Super High Roller, and then banked another $1.6 million and his first bracelet in Vegas. The Natural8 online poker ambassador followed that up with a third-place showing at the EPT Barcelona High Roller for another $940,803.

Highlights from this interview include quarantine days in Malaysia, being in Neymar's shadow, a helpful nudge from J.C. Alvarado, being the last man standing in the Uber to the Rio, jumping into the high rollers with Paul Phua, not realizing he won a WSOP bracelet, a $1.6 million pot in Macau, thinking in big blinds, dropping Tony G off in Lithuania, skiing with Tom Dwan, being snubbed at the airport, a 'not-ridiculous' six-figure baccarat bet, from James on Geordie Shore to Bob Lam on TVB, God Of Gamblers, a shout out to Michael Addamo, the appeal of short deck poker, lucky underwear, avoiding the shoulder tap, and 7-Eleven chicken teriyaki sandwiches.

May 11, 2020
Poker Stories: Quarantine Special With Barry Greenstein and Daniel Negreanu

In this special episode of Poker Stories, we revisit two of our most popular early guests to catch up on what's happened in their lives over the last three years.  

Barry Greenstein appeared on the podcast back in November of 2017. The Poker Hall of Fame inductee and two-time World Poker Tour champion has stayed pretty busy despite his age of 65, and has had a high cash rate at the World Series of Poker for the last two years, even finishing with 13 in one summer while looking to add to his three career bracelets.  

Daniel Negreanu was featured in an episode in March of 2017, and has experienced quite a bit of personal change in the time since. Although he was passed at the top of the all-time money list by Justin Bonomo and then Bryn Kenney, he did add several million to his earnings and now sits at $41 million for his career. At the 2019 WSOP, he played well enough to earn his third Player of the Year title, only to be slowrolled by a clerical error. He also managed to marry longtime poker host Amanda Leatherman, while also ending his 12-year relationship with PokerStars. He is now a team pro at GGPoker.  

Highlights from this interview include why jail isn't scary, a time for self-improvement, poker germs, finding the spots at the table, a pain in the eyes, Alice Cooper hair, the poker rope-a-dope strategy, slap boxing, an outgoing introvert, reading The Godfather, online poker sponsorships, what's really good for the players, Andre Agassi at the 1999 US Poker Championship, double hoop earrings, being mistaken for Phil, Scott Seiver wins the psychological war, gender swaps, and will the WSOP happen in the fall?

Apr 28, 2020
Poker Stories: Quarantine Special With Jason Koon, Nick Schulman, and Bryn Kenney

In this special episode of Poker Stories, we revisit three of our most popular early guests to catch up on what's happened in their lives over the last three years.  

Jason Koon was first featured on the podcast in December of 2016. At the time, the West Virginia native was coming off of his best year ever on the live tournament circuit, and had amassed $6.5 million in career earnings. Now, Koon has solidified himself as one of the top players on the high roller circuit, and has climbed to no. 9 on the all-time money list with $31 million.  

Nick Schulman's episode of the podcast came out in April of 2017. The high-stakes cash game grinder has since added a handful of high roller titles in limited tournament appearances, and even added his third World Series of Poker bracelet in the 2019 summer series. The New York pool hustler turned card shark is also regarded as one of poker's most popular commentators.

Bryn Kenney was just a modest 15th on the all-time tournament earnings rankings with $17 million in cashes when his episode aired in the Spring of 2017. He was confident he would some day be no. 1, however, and his premonition turned out to be correct when he won the biggest prize in poker history for $20.6 million. Kenney now has a $7 million lead over Justin Bonomo after his historic high roller run with $57 million total.  

Highlights from this episode include feeling the same after $25 million, high-stakes birthday parties in Thailand, Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Cracker Barrel, the exhaustion of telling people you play poker, hanging with Isaac Newton, the ups and downs of gambling life, nobody asks dentists their salary, David Oppenheim the mixed game GOAT, being a reluctant shoplifter, a time of self improvement, poker players are EV hunters, why you don't need a seven-figure watch, playing with your back against the wall, Vin Diesel at the grocery store, and why Uncut Gems was both amazing and terrible.

Apr 14, 2020
Poker Stories: Garry Gates

Garry Gates has worn many hats in the poker industry. After moving to Las Vegas from his native Titusville, Pennsylvania, Gates attempted to play professionally, with limited success. A chance encounter at the World Series of Poker, however, gave Gates an opening into the media side of the poker world. He then spent ten years working for PokerStars as a senior manager, dealing with player relations and community engagement.  

Then last summer, Gates got to put his player hat back on for his annual shot at the WSOP main event. He had previously finished in-the-money three times, including semi-deep runs in 2011 and 2015. Gates surpassed all expectations, however, when he made the final table, ultimately finishing fourth for a $3 million payday. He has since taken a position with daily fantasy sports operator DraftKings as a New Business Executive.  

Highlights from this interview include growing up with the Heisman and oil parties, getting the lead in Oliver!, learning about online poker from his dad, Elk's Club games with Loopy and the Butcher, sitting behind Doyle and Puggy at Binion's, how to lose $1,000 at $4-$8 limit, a long walk home from the Bellagio, why Tom Dwan needed six computer mouses, making Vanessa Rousso teach Barry Sanders how to play poker, being one of Jason Mercier's most successful horses, why he wasn't nervous at the final table, ignoring Mike Matusow criticisms, why Australia is his favorite poker trip, working in an underground mine, the resemblance between Justin Verlander and WWE wrestler Cesaro, and getting out of school to hunt deer in traffic.

Mar 30, 2020
Poker Stories: Tyler Patterson

Tyler Patterson found poker before the boom, and worked in the industry as a dealer for a few years before making the switch to professional player. The Washington-native has split his time between cash games and tournaments, but has still managed to rack up more than $2.6 million in earnings on the circuit.  

Patterson has a World Poker Tour title, having taken down the 2015 bestbet Bounty Scramble for $375,270. He final tabled the event the very next year, taking fourth for another six figures, and he very nearly did it three years in a row, finishing just short in 14th place. Patterson won a World Series of Poker bracelet in 2014, coming out on top of the $1,500 pot-limit Omaha eight-or-better event for $270,992. He's also final tabled the WPT Borgata Poker Open, and has wins at the LA Poker Classic, and Fall and Spring Poker Round Ups. Most recently, he finished fourth after an ICM deal at the Bay 101 Shooting Star for $113,840.

Highlights from this interview include having golf in his blood, playing trumpet in a ska band, diving into poker after becoming a dealer, a crazy night at Spanish 21 with a biker bandit, Too Lay Lip Casino, the adrenaline factor in tournaments, playing $25-$50 with half his bankroll on the table, winning his World Poker Tour title, the interesting timing of his WSOP bracelet, a love for PLO, being notoriously bad at prop bets, weigh-ins for marathons, beer-per-hole golf matches, being hospitalized after a race with Matt Savage, Hoge Bogey, losing an $80k+ home game pot, Alabama poker, how feta cheese ruined his pizza job, Parmesan cocaine, bath tub crocodiles, and the link between Chipper Jones and Boyz II Men.

Mar 16, 2020
Poker Stories: Faraz Jaka

Faraz Jaka is a former World Poker Tour Player of the Year, and has more than $6.8 million in career live tournament earnings, to go along with another $4.3 million won online. The 34-year-old from San Jose, California has several notable final-table finishes on his poker resume, including runner-up showings at the Bellagio Cup for $774,780 and Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown for $454,496. He finished third at the Five Diamond World Poker Classic for $571,374 and third at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure for another $755,000. He also has six final-table appearances at the World Series of Poker.  

Jaka is well known for his nomadic lifestyle, having reduced his belongings to just two small suitcases so that he could more easily travel the globe between tournament stops. CNN even went so far as to dub him 'The Homeless Millionaire' as the University of Illinois graduate split his time between five-star hotels and the couches of strangers. After nearly a decade of non-stop moving, Jaka briefly put down roots in Brazil for an online poker project, before recently resuming his travels on the circuit with his new wife.  

Jaka has also started to share his poker knowledge and years of experience to the students at Jonathan Little's Poker Coaching website. For a limited time, get half off your first month by visiting

Highlights from this interview include being an angry kid, running the mile with a torn ligament, escaping home and crossing the country, being TheToilet, blowing a six-figure bankroll in college, going from dorm games to Vegas, falling from $50-$100 no-limit to $5 sngs, WPT POY, getting Card Player Magazine respect, poker pros who 'fake it', reducing his life to two bags, the ups and downs of launching an online poker site, tying the knot, poker coaching, ten days of silence in Thailand, selling magnets and FUBU, underground cash games in Mexico City, playing with Kevin Hart and Nelly, and an ideal trip into the Congo. 

Mar 02, 2020
Poker Stories: David Tuchman

David Tuchman has one of poker's most well-known voices, having been in the commentator's booth for some of the biggest tournaments and cash games ever filmed. The New York-native got his start with Live At The Bike!, and then later Full Tilt's Million Dollar Cash Game. While living in London and covering the NFL and NASCAR for Sky Sports, Tuchman worked with PokerStars for online and live events. In 2011, he began working with the World Series of Poker, and has continued to call the action every summer since.  

Before finding poker and his career in sports broadcasting, Tuchman was in Los Angeles to pursue his passion for acting. He ultimately ended up with a few close calls, including a network TV series that wasn't picked up, and a movie he was cut out of. His IMDB page has half a dozen credits, including appearances on shows such as Beverly Hills 90210, Party Of Five, and Buffy The Vampire Slayer.  

Highlights from this interview include childhood nicknames, scoring five goals for grandma, pros and cons of college, wearing many hats, being extra for Pamela Anderson, close calls in Hollywood, why he had to miss his best friend's wedding, getting cut out of a George Clooney movie, shoving Jason Priestley, double pay on Buffy The Vampire Slayer, lonely lunches with Jennifer Love Hewitt, how poker keeps calling, working for Sky Sports in London, calling the WSOP, the player who was banned from the broadcast booth, betting on elections, Springsteen tattoos, Slapshot > Goon, from Corey Haim to Jim Carrey, and casting Shawshank: The Musical.

Feb 17, 2020
Poker Stories: Steve Albini

Steve Albini is regarded as one of the top recording engineers in the world, and has been creating music with his bands Big Black, Rapeman, and Shellac, since 1981. As the owner of Electrical Audio in Chicago, Albini has produced thousands of albums and has worked with numerous notable acts such as Nirvana, Bush, The Pixies, The Breeders, Chevelle, PJ Harvey, Joanna Newsom, Jawbreaker, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, and Cheap Trick.  

Despite having his name on some of the most memorable indie rock albums ever made, Albini chooses not to collect royalties and instead collects a flat rate for his time, leaving more cash on the table for the artists themselves. As a result, he has been relying on poker to supplement his income for several years. Albini has been competing in a regular low-stakes home game for years that includes several World Series of Poker bracelet winners, including Brandon Shack-Harris, Eric Rodawig, Jason Gola, Matt Ashton, and Matt Grapenthien. Albini has WSOP cashes dating back to 2010, and in 2018, he earned a bracelet of his own, taking down the $1,500 stud event for $105,629.

Highlights from this interview include mixed games with Norman Chad, fires so big they make their own weather, The Problem With Music, Go-go with Dave Grohl, balancing time for touring, engineering, and poker, ignoring his day job for Bill Withers, Bush's surprising American success, the stacked game above a bakery, whammy cards, being ethically poorer than he should be, working differently than Phil Spector and Brian Wilson, Jeff Lisandro reads from Matt Ashton, wearing a guitar like a belt, quitting drummers and nude singers, prank calling Gene Simmons for Kurt Cobain, cured bacon, Krakow poker, being 3% gamble, the problem with circular glasses, Fun House by The Stooges, tar targets in concrete bunkers, and the Krispy Kreme donuts at Gwen Stefani's wedding.

Feb 03, 2020
Poker Stories: Eric Rodawig

Eric Rodawig is considered to be a semi-professional poker player, having regularly maintained a day job, but he has managed to put together the poker resume of a solid pro despite a limited schedule on the tournament circuit. The 34-year-old Nebraska resident, who recently appeared on PokerGo's Dolly's Game broadcast, has five final-table appearances at the World Series of Poker, including a gold bracelet win.

Rodawig's victory at the summer series came in 2011, when he topped a field of 168 in the $10,000 stud eight-or-better championship, beating Phil Hellmuth heads-up for $442,183. The mixed-game specialist also has final tables in Omaha eight-or-better, pot-limit Omaha eight-or-better, razz, and O.E. A couple summers ago, he narrowly missed out on his second bracelet, finishing runner-up in the $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. championship for another $236,841.

Highlights from this interview include 'slumming it' at $50-$100, Thought Crimes at The Hoya, a close call with UIGEA villain Bob Goodlatte, earning a partypoker iPod shuffle, the instant validation of winning a WSOP bracelet, beating a well-behaved Phil Hellmuth heads-up, making poker more accessible to fans, obsessing over curling, flying as a polar bear, being a National Geographic geography bee finalist, meeting Alex Trebek, running the teleprompter for a news station, Jim Carrey's flat top, an affinity for Weird Al, and looking at noses with Crocodile Brandon.

Jan 20, 2020
Poker Stories: Antonio Esfandiari

Antonio Esfandiari stole the attention of the poker world with his breakthrough victory in the 2004 World Poker Tour L.A. Poker Classic main event, and he kept it by showing off his skills as a high-stakes prop gambler while keeping everyone else at the table entertained with his gregarious personality. Originally known at the tables as "The Magician," Esfandiari excelled as a staple of televised poker shows and live streams during the decade that followed the poker boom, and maintained his status as one of the game's best with consistent wins on the tournament circuit.  

Esfandiari won his first World Series of Poker bracelet in 2004, and added his second WPT title in 2010 when he took down the Five Diamond World Poker Classic at Bellagio, a tournament in which he has also finished fourth and sixth. He picked up another bracelet at the 2012 WSOP Europe, but his biggest score came at the summer series when he finished on top of the $1 million buy-in Big One For One Drop event, earning a then-record payout of $18.3 million. It was enough to see him temporarily overtake the top spot on poker's all-time money list, before being passed by Daniel Negreanu, Justin Bonomo, and eventually Bryn Kenney. The 41-year-old has more than $27 million in career live tournament earnings.  

Highlights from this interview include stage names, a childhood at war, obsessing over sleight-of-hand, why Phil Laak couldn't just enjoy the magic, showing off for dad at spread-limit hold'em, binking at Commerce with the last of his bankroll, being more modest than Phil Hellmuth, focusing on fatherhood, falling off the all-time money list, the exhilaration of getting shot by Dan Bilzerian, the 90 seconds following his One Drop victory, forcing Brian Rast into a tournament beast, how Phil Ivey was stoic in the face of death, considering love during trouble in the skies, washing cars and dishes for work, his Persian calling for real estate, being on the celebrity D- list, autographing body parts, Pinocchio insults, boxing training by Audley Harrison, buying out of a 'no release' prop bet, life as a bird, and being able to tell his kids he beat up Kevin Hart.

Jan 06, 2020
Poker Stories: Kitty Kuo

Kitty Kuo has always had gambling in her blood, taking weekend trips to Las Vegas for long blackjack sessions while studying at the University of Southern California. Although she ultimately got her master's degree in electrical engineering, it was poker that she chose to pursue as a profession. Despite being cut off by her parents for the decision, Kuo made the bold move to Vegas to chase her dream.  

In the years since, Kuo has earned more than $2.3 million in live tournaments, improving her game along the way with the help of poker superstars such as four-time WPT champion Darren Elias and high roller crusher Steffen Sontheimer. Kuo won the Macau Poker Cup, and has final tabled the Aussie Millions main event, the Hollywood Poker Open, WPT Malta, and the Legends of Poker main event. She also finished runner-up in the WPT Bobby Baldwin Classic and most recently took second in a $5,000 side event at the Five Diamond World Poker Classic.

Kuo has also made frequent appearances on live streamed games such as Live At The Bike!, and even had her own cash game on Poker After Dark. Last summer, she was named in an anonymous survey of high rollers as one of poker's best follows on social media. Kuo is also married to 2012 WSOP main event fourth-place finisher Russell Thomas.  

Highlights from this interview include growing up in Taiwan, how her parents tried to choose her future, a love for ping pong, weekend trips to Vegas, her USC blackjack team, using the Martingale strategy to deal with losses, why she has gambling in her blood, being disowned by her family for six months, bribing a floorman so she could sit next to Daniel Negreanu, learning from Darren Elias and Steffen Sontheimer, and why she turned down help from Bryn Kenney, why its easy to get Phil Hellmuth to fold, calling her future husband a fish, why men in poker are thirsty, celebrating wins by spending six-figures on Chanel bags, being a social media cartoon, selling CDs on the street, winning a spin class last longer bet, getting mistaken for Maria Ho, and the dance skills of Russell Thomas.

Dec 23, 2019
Poker Stories: Dan Shak

Dan Shak is not a professional poker player, but his tournament resume and travel schedule would lead you to believe otherwise. The 60-year-old New Jersey-native has spent the majority of his working time working as a hedge fund manager and commodities trader, and although he's been successful in his day job, poker has also treated him well with more than $10.6 million in tournament earnings. That's good enough for no. 80 on the all-time money list, along side players such as Andrew Lichtenberger, Gus Hansen, and David "The Dragon" Pham.

Shak's biggest score came in the 2010 Aussie Millions High Roller, when he pocketed $1.2 million for beating Phil Ivey heads-up. He nearly matched that cash four years later with the second of two runner-up finishes at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure high roller. Shak also won the 2013 PartyPoker Premier League. Shak doesn't yet have a World Series of Poker bracelet, but he has notched two wins at the series. In 2007, he stunned the poker world by donating all $243,893 of his winnings back to the charity in the inaugural Ante Up For Africa Event. In 2017, he won the €25,000 buy-in high roller at the WSOP Europe series for another $245,831.  

Highlights from this episode include why home is relative, discovering poker after wrestling matches, a brief college detour, running coffee on the trading floor at 12, staking and being a market maker, what he's doing on that computer at the table, why the high rollers aren't fun anymore, trying to make a deal with Phil Ivey, emergency landings in Iceland, renting bathing suits with Antonio Esfandiari, two WSOP wins with no bracelets, donating his entire winnings to charity after winning the Ante Up For Africa event, giving the recs a chance to win, getting cheated by nine high, why he sometimes has to leave a good game, losing a $600k pot to JRB, a painful bubble in South Florida, a humble job at KFC, preferring regular Joes to rich people, escaping the golf course, and how to make David Peters smile.

Dec 09, 2019
Poker Stories: Julien Martini

Julien Martini is just 27 and has only been grinding the tournament circuit for a few years, but during that stretch he has been red hot, winning more than $4.5 million. It's enough to already place him in France's all-time tournament earnings top 10. Nearly $3 million of those cashes came in January of this year when he finished runner-up in the $25,000 buy-in PokerStars Players Championship. Martini also has a win at the Poker Masters, and recently made the final table in the World Series of Poker Europe main event.  

However, the greatest score of Martini's short career came in 2018 at the WSOP in Las Vegas. The former handball standout navigated his way through a field of 911 players in the $1,500 Omaha eight-or-better event, winning his first bracelet, and the $239,711 first-place prize. Although the payout wasn't a personal best, he also managed to land a date with his heads-up opponent, mixed-game specialist Kate Hoang. Martini and Hoang got married in September, in one of the best off-the-felt stories of the year.

Highlights from this interview includes one bad jump out of 100,000, an unwise decision to turn pro at 18, going broke and starting a real job, learning life lessons while selling door-to-door, the joy of being your own boss, being an early GTO advocate, why he's not really a tournament pro, gifting his bracelet to his father, finding love at the poker table, what Americans think of the police, France's top five players, the player he couldn't quit in a 42-hour session, losing to a one-outer for a $260k pot, rewarding yourself with expensive watches, last name jokes and a love for red wine, underground cash games in Taipei, bricking an entire WSOP, Ryan Gosling's looks, $25k flips, running from robbers, and why he prefers cats to dogs.

Nov 25, 2019
Poker Stories: Jamie Gold

Jamie Gold was just a teenager when he got started in the entertainment business, and was the youngest talent agent in Hollywood when he broke in, landing clients such as James Gandolfini, Jimmy Fallon, Felicity Huffman, Jeffrey Wright, and Donnie Wahlberg. After getting burned out by being constantly on call, however, Gold decided to take some time off and focus on his new passion, which was poker.

Gold jumped head first into some of the biggest cash games in Southern California, and eventually found success playing tournaments. Later that year he worked out a deal to play the World Series of Poker main event, and after navigating his way through a field of 8,773 players, earned the title and the $12 million payout. In the years since, Gold has been seen on numerous poker shows, including High Stakes Poker and Poker After Dark, but has spent the majority of his time on the felt helping to raise more than $500 million for various causes and charities.  

Highlights from this interview include missing Dean Cain's birthday party, a Woodstock birth, being the youngest agent in Hollywood, the year Jimmy Fallon slept on his couch, why James Gandolfini hated the spotlight, jumping into the biggest cash games BEFORE winning the WSOP, hanging around Johnny Chan for poker tips, table talk, trading celebrities for buy-ins, the truth about his deal with Crispin Leyser, money misconceptions, 'losing $1 million' in a city he hasn't been to in a decade, being cheated in private games, from Molly's Game to Inside Game, the Hollywood party that made the Playboy Mansion look boring, getting yelled at by Jack Nicholson and being consoled by Paul Reiser, a four-day poker session, what Robert Downey Jr., Stephen Colbert, and Chad Lowe have in common, betting a yacht on the Super Bowl, and seeing Bad News Bears 22 times in the theater. 

Nov 11, 2019
Poker Stories: Vince Van Patten

Vince Van Patten is a man of many talents. The son of legendary actor Dick Van Patten got his start as a child, appearing in numerous commercials, as well as TV shows and movies such as Bonanza, Baywatch, The Six Million Dollar Man, Hell Night, and The Break. Despite being introduced to gambling at a young age by his father, Van Patten ultimately dedicated himself to tennis, and won the ATP Rookie of the Year award. In 1981, he even beat John McEnroe to win the Seiko World Super Tennis Tournament in Tokyo, reaching a peak of no. 26 in the world.  

After his tennis career was over, Van Patten returned to Los Angeles to continue acting, as well play host to some of Hollywood's biggest home poker games. His experience with the game and his time in front of a camera made Van Patten a natural choice for the World Series of Poker in 1998, and when the World Poker Tour made its debut in 2002, he was hired alongside Mike Sexton as commentator. Van Patten is now sharing the duties with poker pro Tony Dunst, and is in the middle of his 18th season on tour.  

Van Patten's most recent project is a gambling movie that he co-wrote and stars in called 7 Days To Vegas. The film focuses on a group of poker players who will bet on anyone and anything. As the prop bets get bigger and bigger, Van Patten's character agrees to attempt to walk from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, in under seven days, while wearing a suit. The film is available now on demand through Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, and more.  

Highlights from this interview include 600 drives to Vegas, selling toothpaste as a child actor, his slow start in tennis, fighting for a top ranking and beating John McEnroe, Dick Van Patten the smart gambling degenerate, learning poker at age 8, running three-card monte games in seventh grade, fake beards and mustaches, scraping up $5 of fountain change for gas money, his new movie 7 Days To Vegas, Hollywood home games with Jerry Van Dyke, John Huston, Ben Affleck, and Tobey Maguire, winning some teeth in a poker game, calling Scotty Nguyen's WSOP win, how he got the WPT gig, dodging the cigar murderers, a three-day poker session, a sketchy game on the Mexican border, bear encounters at Yosemite, and trips to the racetrack with Mel Brooks.

Oct 28, 2019
Poker Stories: Dylan Linde

Dylan Linde didn't find poker until he was 23, instead focusing on competitive video games and Magic: The Gathering during his youth. The Coeur D'Alene, Idaho native began taking poker more seriously after seeing the wins put up by his friend and fellow poker pro Kevin MacPhee.  

Linde has become a consistent force on the tournament circuit in the years since, having won more than $4.1 million live to go along with another $6 million won online. Last December, Linde earned the biggest score of his career, banking $1.63 million for taking down the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic at Bellagio. He also owns a WSOP Circuit ring, haing won the Chicago main event in 2016 for another $350,000.  

When he's not playing, Linde provides content for training site Run It Once. He also recently wrote a poker book, available now from D&B Publishing, called Masting Mixed Games: Winning Strategies For Draw, Stud, And Flop Games.  

Highlights from this interview include an amazing seat draw in his first WPT event, a rude gift from Mike Matusow, all sorts of nerdery, cruising the lake on The Dylan, going to college at 16 and staying there for 7 years, being a Street Fighter, high-stakes video games, unique short-stack strategies, coming up in the game with Kevin MacPhee, teaching Stephen Chidwick how to be an adult, using solvers to find exploitative spots, the barrier to entry in mixed games, getting Phil Hellmuth to endorse his book, escaping arson charges in Canada, a 30-minute crying session at the PCA, and the $1.6 million score that allowed him to play on his own.

Oct 14, 2019
Poker Stories: Mike Matusow

Mike Matusow was born in Los Angeles, but has spent the majority of his 51 years in Las Vegas. His autobiography, Check Raising The Devil, chronicles his time playing video poker before he was taught hold'em in the late '80s and shifted his focus to poker. In 1998, Matusow backed Scotty Nguyen to the World Series of Poker main event title, giving him a third of the $1 million prize. The next year, he won his first bracelet, taking down a $3,500 no-limit hold'em event.  

Matusow has four bracelets in total, his other three coming in the 2002 $5,000 Omaha eight-or-better event, the 2008 $5,000 no-limit 2-7 lowball event, and the 2013 $5,000 stud eight-or-better event. He has also made the final table of the WSOP main event twice, and won the Tournament of Champions in 2009 for $1 million. In 2013, he took down the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship for another $750,000.

The Poker Hall of Fame nominee has more than $9.3 million in career live tournament earnings, but has had as many downs as ups during his career. Matusow served time in jail on drug charges in 2005 after he was set up by undercover police officer. He has also dealt with going broke, and health issues have threatened to derail his playing career.

Matusow's popular webshow The Mouthpiece has returned as a podcast, with episodes featuring Jennifer Tilly, Mike Sexton, Michael Mizrachi, Greg Raymer, and Daniel Negreanu. You can also check out his YouTube channel Mike The Mouth, which features action vlogs from his cash game and tournament sessions.  

Highlights from this interview an explosive introduction, free speech for comedians and Michael Jackson cosplayers, high school fights, some advice for Michael Phelps, demanding a raise from Full Tilt, a lack of respect for the old school guys, the politics of the Poker Hall Of Fame, Barry Bonds has Phil Hellmuth ego, his WSOP main event final table shot, drugs for world peace, a 72-hour session, two secrets for Phil Hellmuth, Doug Polk and ranges, why GTO is for players with no talent, Trump's biggest problem, beating Daniel Negreanu heads-up for a bracelet while detoxing from crystal meth, the $2 million weight-loss bet with Ted Forrest, and his thoughts on climate change.

Sep 30, 2019
Poker Stories: Randy Ohel

Randy Ohel spends most of his working time grinding high-stakes cash games at Bellagio in Las Vegas, but the 34-year-old mixed-games specialist from Coral Springs, Florida does concentrate on tournaments during the annual World Series of Poker. In the last seven years, Ohel has done quite well at the summer series. In 2012, he won a bracelet, taking down the $2,500 triple draw event. In 2014, he finished runner-up in the $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. championship. In 2016, he took third in the $3,000 pot-limit Omaha six-max event, and second in the $10,000 stud eight-or-better championship. Last year, he finished second once again, this time in the $10,000 triple draw championship.

When you add those scores to the occasional no-limit hold'em cash, Ohel has accumulated more than $2.1 million in live tournament earnings. He has appeared on numerous poker live streams to offer commentary, and most recently, Ohel has started sharing his mixed-games expertise in a semi-regular column for Card Player.

Players interested in poker lessons can contact Ohel directly on Twitter @RandyOhel. Check out his first three articles on 2-7 no-limit lowball, triple draw, and stud eight-or-better on

Highlights from this interview include growing up happily indoors, why his grandmother takes credit for his poker career, being unqualified for McDonald's, a highschool tournament series, going broke and getting a job, grinding his way back, some realism from his grandfather, a sad and lonely dinner break, winning a marathon heads-up battle for a WSOP bracelet, all of the painful close calls since, a bad beat against George Danzer and Justin Bonomo, the politics of a 12-game mix, being a jack of all trades and master of none, playing with Doyle, being a dad in poker, a 24-hour session, a $5,000 prop bet, a secret need to sing, and the future of driving ranges.

Sep 16, 2019
Poker Stories: Ali Nejad

Ali Nejad is one of poker's most experienced television personalities, having lent his talents to productions such as the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship, The Poker Parlor, The Ultimate Poker Challenge, The Pro-Am Equalizer, and Poker After Dark. He has also done commentary for a majority of the major poker tours, including the World Poker Tour, European Poker Tour, World Series of Poker, and most recently, the Triton Millions.

The 41-year-old has also done his fair share of work outside of poker, having worked on Road Trip and UNite for ESPN, and The Daily Share for CNN. While attending UC Berkeley, he was tapped to host Total Request Live on MTV before tragedy changed the course of his career. Before stepping in front of poker cameras, the San Francisco native worked as a prop and dealer in local cardrooms, eventually working his way up the cash game ranks. These days you can find Nejad on PokerGo, including coverage of the upcoming British Poker Open and Super High Roller Bowl in London.

Highlights from this interview include being confused for the pantyhose rapist, confidence vs. arrogance, landing a TV gig in high school, First Cut, consuming condiment cocktails at Cal, entering the teepee kingdom, getting hired to host TRL on MTV, and why Carson Daly took the job instead, dealing with tragedy, self-destructive escapism into the poker world, befriending Prahlad Friedman and Erick Lindgren, propping his way up to the high-stakes games, a lifeline from SuChin Pak, playing soccer in a literal dump in Guatemala, a game of backgammon with the Ice Princess, a chance meeting with Mori Eskandani on the PartyPoker Million Cruise, subbing in for Daniel Negreanu, NY to Bristol and back, landing a dream gig with ESPN, an infamous call for Justin Bonomo, a death match with Maria Ho, playing football with Kevin Durant, why Don Cheadle gets great service, a crooked 11-handed poker game, a low-limit $800-$1,600 game at Bellagio with Joanna Krupa, and the perspective of a 59-cent taco.

Sep 02, 2019
Poker Stories: Joao Vieira
Aug 19, 2019
Poker Stories: Jackie Glazier
Aug 05, 2019
Poker Stories: Steffen Sontheimer
Jul 22, 2019
Poker Stories: Scott Blumstein
Scott Blumstein had a magical run through the 2017 World Series of Poker main event, topping a field of 7,221 to earn his first gold bracelet and the $8.15 million first-place prize. The win, however, came just a year after the Morristown, New Jersey native considered quitting the game entirely. While the 2016 WSOP main event was playing out in Las Vegas, Blumstein was back home in New Jersey, considering his options. After a conversation with his dad, he ultimately decided to give it one last shot at the Borgata Summer Poker Open. Blumstein won the opening event for just shy of $200,000, and that score kept him in the game. By the time the next summer rolled around, Blumstein was ready for the $10,000 main event. After building up his stack during the bubble, Blumstein rode his chip lead to the final table, which included players such as Ben Lamb, Jack Sinclair, Bryan Piccioli, Antoine Saout, Benjamin Pollak, and the headline-grabbing Englishman John Hesp. Now 27, and two years removed from his life-changing win, Blumstein remains relatively active in the poker world, and has lent his support to various charity causes and events. Highlights from this interview include the quality over quantity strategy, being better in pass protection, TurningStone Casino: an 18-year-old's Disneyland, accounting regret, the New Jersey cheat code, getting knocked out by Darvin Moon, why the story gets good at Borgata, a tough conversation with dad, learning the lesson of taxes, finding a backer, streaming on Twitch to 18 people, punishing the money bubble, hiring a mental coach, turning down a world-class player for final table help, helpful tips from Ryan Riess, having the freedom to not know what he wants to do, not relying on poker for happiness, lessons from an actuary, a scandal at Dick's Sporting Goods, the sharp side of Utah St., a love for rotisserie chicken, and a message from Mac Miller.
Jul 08, 2019
Poker Stories: Adam Friedman
Adam Friedman got his start in poker with a deep run in the 2005 World Series of Poker main event. Just 23 at the time, he has since put together a remarkably consistent career playing both cash games and tournaments. In 2006, he won the Midwest Regional Poker Championships main event. Incredibly, after skipping the tournament in 2007, he won the very same event again in both 2008 and 2009. This would not be the last time that Friedman was able to successfuly defend a tournament title. The Gahanna, Ohio native scored his first WSOP bracelet back in 2012, topping a tough final table in the $5,000 stud eight-or-better event that included the likes of Todd Brunson, John Monnette, Bryn Kenney, and Phil Ivey. In 2013, he won the HPT main event in Indiana, and in 2014, he final tabled the L.A. Poker Classic. In 2018, he won his second career bracelet, earning $293,275 in the $10,000 dealer's choice event. Amazinly, he returned to Las Vegas this summer and won the very same event again, this time banking a $312,417 payday. In total, the 37-year-old mixed-games specialist has $2.9 million in career live tournament earnings. Highlights from this interview include summer series accommodations, becoming a Hoosier, sleeping through the final four, a love for sports but not sports betting, being too emotional at the table, demanding the safe at the Tropicana, the 2005 WSOP main event, why his dad took away $100k, Ohio living, making sure he booked a win at Commerce, a slow peel vs. Phil Hellmuth, a compliment from Doyle Brunson, the emotional turmoil of downswings, taking ego out of the game, why you need a plan for your money, betting on The Voice with Gavin Smith, back-to-back bracelets, drowning his sorrows in room service, and why we're drawing dead on another 1,000 years.
Jun 24, 2019
Poker Stories: Darren Elias
Darren Elias is just 32 years old, but he's already established himself as the end boss of the World Poker Tour. The New Jersey resident not only holds the tour record with four titles, but he's also the tour leader in cashes with 35, and final tables with 13. His first WPT title came at the 2014 Borgata Poker Open, where he won $843k. His second title came immediately after that at the WPT Carribbean stop. Elias' third win came in Canada at the 2017 Fallsview Poker Classic, and his latest victory was at Aria in the 2018 Bobby Baldwin Classic. This year, Elias has already won a $25,000 high roller at the Gardens Poker Championship, and he nearly won his fifth WPT title, the LA Poker Classic, ultimately falling just short in third place for just under half a million dollars. In total, Elias has cashed for more than $7.1 million dollars during his live career, along with another $4 million won online. Highlights from this interview include off days in Vegas, living all over with a football coach dad, a love for watersports, winning big in college, the dorm room fan club, the growing pains of live poker, unintentional intimidation, the one time he lost his cool at the table, $200-$400 2-7 games with Billy Baxter, running at expectation, his attitude towards the high rollers, being the top-ranked dad, revisiting a decade-old blog post, a healthy fear of mediocrity, using his internal solver, a scary situation at home, bluffing in six-figure pots, Nick Petrangelo's beer tips, online poker on the highway, the only other job he's ever had, a whiskey shot prop bet, big picture science, and the grinding ability of David Peters.
Jun 10, 2019
Poker Stories: Jennifer Tilly
Jennifer Tilly is an Academy Award-nominated actress who has starred in films such as Bullets Over Broadway, Bound, Liar Liar, Monsters Inc., St. Ralph, The Fabulous Baker Boys, and the Chucky series. But she also happens to be an avid poker player, and a World Series of Poker bracelet winner. Tilly, who is in a relationship with poker pro Phil Laak, won the ladies event at the 2005 WSOP, picking up the title and the $158,625 first-place prize. She also has a win a the 2010 Bellagio Cup, taking down a $5,000 no-limit hold'em event for $124,455. Poker fans will recognize Tilly from her many appearances on shows such as the Celebrity Poker Showdown, Poker Royale, Poker Night In America, The National Heads Up Poker Championship, The Poker Superstars Invitational, High Stakes Poker, and Poker After Dark. Highlights from this interview include the brilliant mumblings of Norm MacDonald, what Wikipedia got wrong, Lou Diamond Phillip's Monday night poker game, intruding on guy's night, playing the teamsters for their per diem, Tilly chili, trying to friend zone Phil Laak, bad driving on a bad first date, Joan Allen's bedroom hair, taking $20k to a $1-$2 home game with Ben Affleck, getting 'passed a check,' being a D-JEN, virtual bracelets and real bracelets, her father's hidden poker life, seeing ghosts, using her voice to get rid of telemarketers, comedy math with Dave Foley, winning a $260k home game pot, passing on a piece of Antonio, the poker problems with Molly's Game, James Bond's terrible betting style, and a joke from Charles Durning.
May 27, 2019
Poker Stories: Scott Clements
Scott Clements has a unique poker origin story, having been so infatuated with the game that he overpaid for his buy-in into the World Poker Tour Canadian Poker Open event. Despite the bad bankroll management decision, he managed to lead the tournament wire-to-wire and emerge with a win. That tournament gave him an automatic entry fee into the WPT North American Poker Championship, which he also won, this time banking $1.45 million. In addition to his two WPT titles, Clements also has two World Series of Poker bracelets. He earned the first in the 2006 $3,000 Omaha eight-or-better event, and the second in the 2007 $1,000 pot-limit Omaha event. The Washington-native has come incredibly close to more bracelets in the years since, with numerous final tables and six runner-up finishes. In total, the 37-year-old poker pro has nearly $7.8 million in lifetime live tournament earnings, along with another $4 million or so won online. Highlights from this interview includes a strict gym regimen, buying a house while still in school, cards games with family, expensive nights of 4-5-6, hosting the home game without knowing the rules, running up his first online deposit, getting knocked out by Maria Ho in his debut, a disputed World Poker Tour win, buying into a sold out tournament, ignoring the money on a seven-figure score, an early knack for Omaha, where he keeps his bracelets, dealing with close calls at the WSOP, the 100 McNugget challenge, how he backed into a piece of Martin Jacobson's main event win, where he got his work ethic from, flipping drug houses for profit, and the many ways he has earned stitches.
May 13, 2019
Poker Stories: Layne Flack
Layne Flack is a six-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner, which puts him in a tie for no. 9 all time with poker legends such as Daniel Negreanu, TJ Cloutier, Jay Heimowitz, Jeff Lisandro, and Ted Forrest. He also has numerous World Poker Tour final table appearances, and a title in the WPT Invitational. The 49-year-old poker pro has slightly more than $5 million in career live tournament earnings. Flack got his start both playing in, and running poker games near his childhood homes in Montana and South Dakota. After a nudge from 1996 WSOP main event winner Huck Seed, he made his way to Las Vegas and immediately found his way into the winner's circle. He earned the nickname "Back-to-Back Flack" after taking down consecutive events at the Legends of Poker series in 1999, and then further cemented that moniker by doing it again at the WSOP in both 2002 and 2003. Highlights from this interview include a passion for singing competitions, the stabbin' cabin, crushing games in Deadwood, why he didn't last long as a dealer, how to properly hit and run, playing Men the Master for the Orient Express, no sleep between bracelets, the unfortunate influence of Mike Matusow, putting his underwear on the table, how Ted Forrest lost one of his bracelets, the politics of the Poker Hall of Fame, $250k pots in Larry Flynt's game, getting a piece of Doyle Brunson, two weeks at McDonalds, stand up strip club games, and that one time he almost went undercover for the Chicago mafia to play in Michael Jordan's home game before being outed by David Letterman.
Apr 29, 2019
Poker Stories: Matthew Waxman
Matt Waxman learned the game in high school, but really got his career going in 2009 when he final tabled a $5,000 no-limit hold'em event at the World Series of Poker. The Parkland, Florida native won a WSOP Circuit ring the next year in Atlantic City, and followed that up with his biggest score to date, taking down the World Poker Tour Grand Prix de Paris for just over $720,000. Waxman nearly won the Festa al Lago Classic the next year, and in 2013, he won his first WSOP bracelet, banking $305,000 for topping a $1,000 no-limit hold'em event. Waxman had a deep run in the 2014 WSOP main event, and just last year, he picked up his second WPT title, pocketing $463,000 at the WPT Tournament of Champions. In total, the 34-year-old has more than $4.1 million in live tournament earnings to go along with millions more won online. Highlights from this interview include being a resident of the world, flipping noodles for profit, being on the middle school basketball team with Alex Jacob, poker on the boat, playing among the ashtrays, the benefit of ignorance, being British at the tables, catching cheats, going broke, blinding out of an FTOPS win, having parents unimpressed by six-figure scores, a WPT championship in France, being a millionaire and feeling empty, a seven-hour heads-up match with Eric Baldwin, bad news from home a world away, pushing time shares, hearing 'water' in his ear, and dealing with stabbed TVs and the police.
Apr 15, 2019
Poker Stories: Steve Sung
Steve Sung trudged through college, always knowing in the back of his mind that he wanted to play poker for a living. Having always been a gambler, Sung immediately jumped on the tournament circuit when he turned 21 and quickly found success, making several World Poker Tour final tables and racking up large cashes around the world. In 2009, Sung won his first World Series of Poker bracelet, taking down a $1,000 no-limit hold'em event for $771,106. He followed that up with a second WSOP title in 2013, earning $1,205,324 for topping a stacked field in the $25,000 buy-in six-max no-limit hold'em championship. Most recently, Sung finished third in the WPT Gardens Poker Championship, adding another $259,880 to his poker resume. In total, the 33-year-old has just shy of $6 million in career live tournament earnings, but those numbers pale in comparison to the amounts he won and lost during high-stakes cash game sessions, and even his time gambling in the casino pit. Highlights from this interview include growing up in Seoul, visualizing the United States, being thirsty for some wata, how a pay-per-view fail led to poker, dominating pusoy, why Phil Hellmuth quit him in Chinese poker, how Ryan Young won in Vegas before turning 21, paying for good grades, getting his feet wet with a $25k buy-in, battling it out at $2k-$4k online, losing seven-figures in a day, an unhealthy love for blackjack, blacking out with $1.2 million in a middle school pencil case, being numb to losses, the concept of Korean Han, weed paranoia while winning a bracelet, jumping in $300-$600 badugi without knowing the rules, going to space, beating Galfond for bracelet no. 2, a decade-old compliment from Shannon Shorr, winning $300k after closing the window, mastering the flute, and why he settled on Steve as his name.
Apr 01, 2019
Poker Stories: David 'ODB' Baker
David Baker is one of the most recent players to add his name to the World Poker Tour Champions Cup, having just taken down the L.A. Poker Classic main event for $1,015,000. The 46-year-old originally started as a salesman after graduating from Auburn University, and ultimately gave up a six-figure job to pursue his poker dream when his regular home game became too lucrative to ignore. Although Baker spends most of his playing time in high-stakes mixed games at the Commerce Casino, he does has a stellar track record at the World Series of Poker, having averaged nearly two final tables each summer for the last decade. In 2010, he finished 17th in the WSOP main event for $396,967, and he won a bracelet in 2012, earning $271,312 in the $2,500 eight-game mixed event. In 2015, Baker finished third in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship for another $514,926. In total, the Arizona resident has banked more than $5.5 million in live tournament earnings. Highlights from this interview include tearing himself away from a good cash game, the muscle memory of poker, being almost senior eligible, War Eagle, going to the racetrack as a kid, learning blackjack with his parents, drowning in credit reports, being the live one in Ray Henson's game, quitting a six-figure salary for poker, flying to Commerce Casino every other week, the bad beat he took to Carlos Mortensen, why he doesn't wear green at the poker table, his deep run in the WSOP main event, dealing with a lot of third-place finishes, forcing Cord Garcia to win the Colossus, how to become elite, staring at opponents to see the pain in their eyes, maintaining a good rep, and calling his shot as a WPT champion.
Mar 18, 2019
Poker Stories: Jeff Shulman
Jeff Shulman worked in land acquisition in Seattle before his father Barry recruited him to join the family business in Las Vegas. Together, they grew Card Player Magazine into the industry-leading media company it is today. As a player, Shulman was just a rookie when he broke out on the poker tournament scene, making the final table of the 2000 World Series of Poker main event. The "whippersnapper," as described by his opponents, was actually the chip leader at one point before a bad beat to Chris Ferguson sent him to the rail in seventh place. Nine years later, Shulman got his chance at the main event title once again, making the final table alongside poker legend Phil Ivey. This time, he managed to make it to five-handed play before yet another bad beat ended his run, with his chips going to eventual winner Joe Cada. Now 44, Shulman spends most of his live poker hours grinding high limit hold'em cash games at Bellagio, with his summers dedicated to the WSOP schedule. In total, he has just under $3.5 million in career live tournament earnings. Highlights from this interview include being a summer camp lifer, how Michael changed the grades, Barry the ass kicker, the Chip and Doyle of spades, making money while you sleep, building a bankroll at the Orleans, dealing with bad beats to Chris Ferguson and Joe Cada, a love for limit hold'em, Hollywood home games in Costa Rica, running into Ben Affleck at the Oscars, getting owned by Gus Hansen, trash talking ElkY, hiring Phil Hellmuth as a coach, getting winning advice from Orel Hershiser, trash bracelets, running into Michael Jordan's Bulls, and sucking out on Chau Giang in Bobby's Room.
Mar 04, 2019
Poker Stories: Jack McClelland
After a brief stint as a professional bowler, Jack McClelland spent the rest of his career working in poker. He started out at the bottom cleaning ash trays and running chips before moving up the ladder to dealer, shift supervisor, and eventually tournament director. McClelland spent more than 30 years as one of the most respected figures in the industry, running tournaments all over the world. The Ohio-native was in charge of the World Series of Poker for most of the 80's and 90's, and made Bellagio one of the flagship casinos of the World Poker Tour from 2002 until he retired in late 2013. McClelland was inducted to the Poker Hall of Fame in 2014 alongside Daniel Negreanu. Highlights from this interview include starving on the PBA Tour, from Russia not with love, learning cards from Grandma, moving to Vegas for the weather, the big games at the Sahara, breaking in at the WSOP, dealing with Johnny Moss, Stu Ungar, and the mob, the trouble with Sam Grizzle, heads-up penalties with Men The Master, Mrs. McClelland the bracelet winner, the lake in the middle of The Strip, his poker Mount Rushmore, a summer job at the copper factory, and the $300-$600 stud pot with Sarge Ferris that ended his playing career.
Feb 18, 2019
Poker Stories: Matt Savage
Matt Savage got his start in the poker industry as a chip runner at Garden City Casino, and worked his way up the ranks to dealer at Bay 101, and eventually, tournament director. The San Jose-native saw a need in poker for a standardized set of rules, and with the help of Linda Johnson, Jan Fisher, and Dave Lamb, formed the Tournament Directors Association. Savage was named tournament director for the World Series of Poker when he was just 34 years old, and served in that position during the onset of the poker boom from 2002 to 2004. In the years since, Savage has continued to work tournaments at his home casino of Bay 101 and also at Commerce Casino in Los Angeles, which is currently hosting the L.A. Poker Classic. He's also seen his role with the World Poker Tour increase since he was named Executive Tour Director. Savage was heavily featured in the 2007 poker movie Lucky You, and also has a WSOP final-table score of his own, finishing fifth in the 2009 $1,500 stud eight-or-better event. He was the inaugural member of the Poker Room Manager's Hall of Fame, and has been nominated for the Poker Hall of Fame the last few years. Highlights from this interview include trying to get unplugged, why you don't need a 16 lb. ball anymore, a disdain for homework, working since 14, going from chip runner to floorman, auditioning at Bay 101, being forced out of the box, the baby faced TD at the WSOP, being proactive with Men Nguyen and John Bonetti, Hellmuth steals the spotlight, how he almost screwed up the infamous Moneymaker/Farha bluff, running out of chips in the main event, proposing to his wife at the final table, how $400,000 went 'missing' from the prize pool, why he's the real star of Lucky You, a testy scene with Robert Duval, John Juanda's grudge, Dick Corpuz: king of the soul read, and why poker needs a museum.
Feb 04, 2019
Poker Stories: Eli Elezra
Eli Elezra has put together quite the list of poker accomplishments. The former businessman was one of the stars of the poker boom, enduring seven-figure swings by playing in some the biggest cash games in the world. He has also had quite a bit of success in live tournaments with more than $3.6 million in earnings. The 58-year-old won his World Poker Tour title back in 2004 at the Mirage Poker Showdown for $1,024,574. He also has three World Series of Poker bracelets, having taken down a 2007 stud eight-or-better event, a 2013 triple draw event, and a 2015 stud event. But poker was the furthest thing from Elezra's mind growing up in Jerusalem, and later serving in the Israel Defense Force during the Lebanon War. After being wounded in battle, Elezra moved to Alaska, where he worked in a salmon cannery, as a taxi driver, and even hunted bears and whales. He later moved to Las Vegas when he spotted a business opportunity to run a photo processing store on the Strip. It's these stories of high-stakes poker and the near-death experiences of his youth that are featured in his autobiography, Pulling The Trigger. Highlights from this interview include growing up 10 minutes from Jesus, losing the school's money at street poker, spending three weeks in jail, becoming an Israeli Green Beret, enduring starvation week, losing men and being wounded in the war, working 18-hour days in an Alaskan cannery, hunting whales and bears with the Inupiat tribe, moving to Vegas to run photo huts, getting cheated at the Stardust, why the game moved from Mirage to Bellagio, jumping to $4,000-$8,000 stakes, being in the "poker hospital", crushing three-handed games against Chip and Doyle, why they couldn't play props on High Stakes Poker, a $1 million bracelet side-bet score, Scotty Nguyen pieced out, a stinky pickle job, a $1.8 million winning session, ordering one of everything on the menu, and high-stakes games against the KFC colonel.
Jan 21, 2019
Poker Stories: Shannon Shorr
Shannon Shorr wasn't even 21 when he found his first taste of success in the poker world. The University of Alabama student won a satellite to the Aussie Millions and finished fourth in the main event for nearly $200,000. Later that summer after turning 21, he chopped the Bellagio Cup main event. With nearly seven-figures in cashes, Shorr decided not to go back to school, at least for the time being. Shorr was one of the most consistent performers on the tournament circuit during the height of the poker boom, scoring final tables and wins all over the world. Shorr was so good during that stretch that in 2013, he was named by GPI as the no. 7 player of the decade. Shorr is coming off a deep run in the 2018 World Series of Poker main event, where he finished 39th for $189,165. He now has $6.6 million in live tournament earnings. Highlights from this interview include the switch from Alabama to Vegas, a passion for baseball, $5 home games, how berating a player led to an important friendship, winning life-changing money, how a coin flip led to Australia and a poker career, leaving college and ultimately going back for the degree, dealing with six-figure downswings, the comfort of Bellagio, a motivating weight-loss prop bet, traveling the world, fighting back the negative thoughts, dealing with fifth-place finishes, being a risk-averse poker player, new thoughts on bet sizing, why poker players have anxiety, and his deep run in the WSOP main event.
Jan 07, 2019
Poker Stories: Mohsin Charania
Mohsin Charania became just the sixth person, and is one of only eight total players, who have won poker's Triple Crown. To earn the honor, a player needs to win a World Series of Poker bracelet, a World Poker Tour title, and a European Poker Tour main event. The Chicago-native picked up his EPT title back in 2012, winning the Grand Finale for more than €1.3 million. He won the WPT Grand Prix de Paris in 2013, and then the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic in 2014 for almost $1.5 million. The University of Illinois graduate then completed the Triple Crown in 2017 when he took down a $1,500 no-limit hold'em event at the WSOP. Although he briefly worked in finance and considered law school, poker kept calling Charania back. In total, the 33-year-old has earned more than $6.1 million in live tournaments, and just slightly more than that online as well. Before Black Friday, Charania was one of the top-ranked online players, competing under the names 'sms9231' and 'chicagocards1.' Highlights from this interview include getting used to jewelry, an athlete's walk of shame, taking the hard classes for fun, being 21 in Vegas and playing $50-$100 no-limit, going broke and needing mom's debit card to get home, getting a real job for just two weeks, winning TV upgrades and furniture, leaving law school for poker, a diet of coke, pizza, and Indian food, turning a win into a tenth-place finish, a helpful basketball game with Faraz Jaka, interview do-overs, winning poker's Triple Crown, why life is a honeymoon, finding a woman who understands Sundays, swapping with a WSOP main event champion, why Americans are the worst poker players in the world, and Kevin McAllister with a gun.
Dec 24, 2018
Poker Stories: Jamie Kerstetter
Jamie Kerstetter has been a rising star in the poker world for the last few years, but her path to the profession was anything but typical. The New Jersey-native was a two-sport athlete at Rutgers University, and then earned her law degree from the University of Michigan. Her timing, however, couldn't have been worse. Kerstetter passed the bar exam and landed a job, but the recession caused layoffs, leaving her without employment. Rather than submit some more resumes, Kerstetter instead turned to poker, a hobby she had picked up in law school. Her original goal was just to win enough to extend her vacation, but soon, she was taking home enough to make it her full-time job. In addition to playing tournaments and cash games, Kerstetter has also appeared on Friday Night Poker, and Poker Night In America, and has done commentary for events at the Seminole Hard Rock, the Heartland Poker Tour, WPT Deepstacks, and even the World Series of Poker. Highlights from this interview include a playful croutons, soccer at Rutgers, running a five-minute mile, jumping into law school blind, inter-tube water polo, why someone would be drunk at 8 a.m., witnessing a mental breakdown at the bar exam, the blessing of being fired, prolonging the poker vacation, splashing around in the private games, convincing mom that poker is a good idea, the $2 burrito diet, playing her 'husband's chips,' big pots on Poker Night In America, overcoming shyness with live poker commentary, a karmic payout for a late night, poker couple note sharing, envisioning a life of dog hoarding, and lap cats vs. jerk cats.
Dec 10, 2018
Poker Stories: Ryan Laplante
Ryan Laplante was barely in high school at the height of the poker boom, but even at that early age, he knew he wanted to be a professional player. The Brainerd, Minnesota-native was so dedicated to poker that he would walk two miles each way to his college campus so that he could play online after his laptop broke. After a rocky start that included some tilt issues, backing troubles, and the rough side of variance, Laplante hit his stride with his game. The 28-year-old has since pocketed just under $2 million in live tournament earnings, along with another $2 million or so won online. In 2015, he topped a massive field of 2,483 to win the World Series of Poker $565 'PLOssus' event, banking the $190,328 first-place prize. The next day while accepting his first bracelet, in the wake of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Laplante delivered an emotional speech to the room saying he was proud to be "an openly gay man," encouraging people to "be proud" of who they are. Highlights from this interview include the subtle difference between a solid year and an incredible year, how emotions can help your poker game, tilt issues, having no time to fly, a three-day Mario session, walking four miles a day for poker, the one college class he showed up for, a bad downswing in Canada, why you shouldn't watch all-ins, forgetting the details, giving his bracelet winner speech, the diversity of live poker, why poker pros are more open-minded, why he loves poker coaching, giving away the keys to the house, adjusting from GTO play, the skill of looking busy, the pros of working at Subway, the realities of deal-making, and preferring Hemsworth with two eyes.
Nov 26, 2018
Poker Stories: Kelly Minkin
Kelly Minkin missed the poker boom completely, and has only been playing tournaments for the last five years, but she has already established herself as top competitor on the circuit. Minkin was twice the last woman standing in the World Series of Poker main event, taking 29th in 2015 and 50th last summer. She also has two World Poker Tour final table appearances, taking third in both the 2015 Lucky Hearts Poker Open and the 2018 bestbet Bounty Scramble. In total, the 31-year-old has racked up more than $1.3 million in live tournament earnings, and she's done so mostly while holding down a full-time job. Minkin had her sights set on a career in medicine as a surgeon, but after taking the LSAT on a whim, she got into law school. She decided to finish it out, and eventually took a job with a Phoenix-area law firm, spending her days working with clients and her nights at the poker tables. Highlights from this interview include spelling bee words, having very specific goals, taking the LSAT for fun and getting into law school, heads-up in front of Hellmuth, science's lack of fluidity, being the green M&M, completely missing the poker boom, playing tournaments for dad, lawyer by day-poker pro by night, electrocuted strippers, last-minute trips to South America, two WSOP last-woman-standing titles, $25k pots at Commerce with Danny Wong, getting fired from Abercrombie & Fitch, busting from a tournament with three cards, listening to cool guy music, arm wrestling for cash, and trimming the end for free.
Nov 12, 2018
Poker Stories: Chance Kornuth
Chance Kornuth was just one semester shy of graduating from college when he decided to plunge headfirst into life as a professional poker player. He earned his first major taste of success in 2010, when he won the $5,000 PLO event at the WSOP for his first bracelet and $508K. The Denver-native continued to take shots with his bankroll, and found success both live and online. In 2014, he won the Bellagio Cup main event for another $526K. A year later, he finished third in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure for $641K. He won the AUD$25,000 high roller at the Aussie Millions for $553K, and an event at the EPT Grand Final for $398K, and made several final tables all over the globe along the way. Most recently, he won his second WSOP bracelet, taking down an online event last summer for another $341K. In total, the 32-year-old has racked up nearly $6.4 million in live tournament earnings. Kornuth now runs Chip Leader Coaching, a premier training program for mid-stakes MTT players who want to take their poker career to the next level. Site instructors include notable poker pros such as Nick Petrangelo, Joe McKeehen, Ryan LaPlante, Alex Foxen, Ryan Jones, and Ryan Leng. Highlights from this interview include the difference a new haircut can make, using pennies for poker chips, dropping out one semester before graduating, dominating the Bellagio nightlies, stealing Adam's aces, taking over dad's online poker account, winning the first WSOP bracelet, the PLO palace, learning to treat poker like a job, staying out of the seven-figure club, why he decided to train poker players, winning and losing $450k pots, the importance of shot taking, Ben Lamb running bad at credit card roulette, helping JohnnyBax at the final table, his heist car, weighing dog crap for cash, giving a rebate to impress a dealer, and why live tells still matter.
Oct 29, 2018
Poker Stories: Doyle Brunson
Doyle Brunson is widely regarded as the most legendary card player in poker history with a career that spans more than six decades. After a work accident ended his dream of playing in the NBA, the Longworth, Texas-native turned to poker. After years on the road with "Amarillo" Slim and "Sailor" Roberts, playing in dangerous, illegal games often set up by members of organize crime, Brunson finally settled down in Las Vegas. In the years since, Brunson won an incredible ten World Series of Poker bracelets, which is tied for second all-time with Johnny Chan and Phil Ivey, behind Phil Hellmuth's 15 wins. His run included back-to-back main event wins, in 1976 and '77, in which he famously won both events with 10-2. Despite recently turning 85, the Poker Hall of Fame member insists that he's operating at 95 percent, and is still a regular in the high-stakes games in Bobby's Room at Bellagio, where he has held court since it opened in 1998. Highlights from this interview include feeling your age, suffering through poker withdrawal, a trip to March Madness, the two royals he made against Bobby Baldwin, letting his wife get some sleep, the deadly nature of ace-to-five lowball, the mixed results of publishing Super/System, sucking out for the first seven-figure pot in Vegas history, losing out on a $230 million deal, Doyle's top five players, million-dollar weight loss prop bets with Chip Reese and Lyle Berman, and who will play him in the movie of his life.
Oct 15, 2018
Poker Stories: Jared Jaffee
Jared Jaffee has been grinding the tournament circuit for the better part of the last decade. The Staten Island, New York-native initially set out to be a lawyer, passing the bar exam and even scoring his first job, before his friends convinced him to quit. His real passion was for poker, and although he's seen the downside of variance more than a couple times in his career, he's never been afraid to put up the rest of his bankroll when his back was against the wall. In addition to a World Series of Poker Circuit ring, Jaffee has a World Poker Tour title. In 2013, he took down the bestbet Fall Poker Scramble for $252,749. He also owns a World Series of Poker bracelet, having earned $405,428 in a 2014 $1,500 mixed-max no-limit hold'em event. In the last few months, the 37-year-old has even successfully dabbled in the $25,000 buy-in high rollers, cashing for $640,000. In total, Jaffee has banked more than $4.1 million in live events over the course of his career. Highlights from this interview include beeper codes for poker, accidentally winning a cruise, playing the wrong game in a $10k tournament, Hellmuth buys all the bottles of Dom, delivering pizzas to avoid law school, making a joke of the Socratic method, the underground New York poker scene, A-Rod at the tables, his very own 'Worm', self-sabotaging his law career, getting a stake from mom and dad, the one time he celebrated a win, sympathizing with the complainers, a nice run in the high rollers, being unafraid to gamble, picking off bluffs from Antonio Esfandiari in six-figure pots, a Hawaii swap courtesy of Jake Bazeley, stopping the angle shooters, the clown show of sunglasses at the table, and the sabermetrics of flirting.
Oct 01, 2018
Poker Stories: Dominik Nitsche
Dominik Nitsche is only 27 years old, but he is already considered a veteran in the poker world after traveling the tournament circuit for the last 10 years. The Minden, Germany-native picked up the game early, and had a six-figure bankroll while still in high school. When he was 18, he won a Latin American Poker Tour event for $381,000 to kickstart his career. Nitsche wandered all over the world, cashing in nearly every country with a major tournament series, and along the way he picked up three World Series of Poker bracelets, and a World Poker Tour title. But the 888Poker Ambassador wanted more, especially from the high roller scene that fellow countrymen such as Fedor Holz, Christoph Vogelsang, Rainer Kempe, Ole Schemion and others had dominated over the last few years. The last 12 months have seen Nitsche get his turn in the spotlight, with more than $8 million in cashes. After finishing third at the Asia Championship of Poker in Macau, Nitsche won the $111,111 buy-in, High Roller For One Drop at the WSOP Europe in Rozvadov. Not only did he pick up his fourth bracelet, but also a top prize of almost $4.1 million. He's since made ten high roller final tables, and scored three more wins. As of right now, he has $15.4 million in live tournament cashes, along with another $5 million online. Highlights from this interview include the evolution of poker strategy, Harrington on Hold'em's relevance today, trying to be more GTO than the other guy, holding a half-million dollar bankroll in high school, why solvers can help even low-stakes players, an $8 million year, the relief of a big score, why he can't go broke, a growing concern in high roller tournaments, a love for Beirut poker, watching The Simpsons, and quickly reloading after losing a $2.3 million pot.
Sep 17, 2018
Poker Stories: Bob Bright
Bob Bright has two World Series of Poker Circuit titles, and a few WSOP final-table appearances, but he's best known in the poker world for the time he has spent battling it out at the highest-stakes cash games. Bright, who has been seen on poker shows such as Poker After Dark, is a regular in Ivey's Room at the Aria, spent years playing in Bobby's Room at Bellagio, and has even taken part in the nosebleed stakes games abroad in Manila and Macau. But it was at the blackjack tables that Bright first got his start in Las Vegas. Bright was in his mid-30s, and married with three children when he decided to leave a stable job to play blackjack for a living. The decision paid off, with Bright becoming one of the more successful card counters of that era. After the casinos shut down his action, he dove head first into the stock market. He quickly established himself as one of the nation's top day traders, and later started Bright Trading, which became one of the largest firms in the country with several hundred traders in more than 50 offices in North America. Highlights from this interview include being a numbers guy, getting perfect scores in the Army, learning poker on his paper route, betting on the rules, bowling a 300 game, quitting the stable 9-to-5 job to play blackjack for a living, a six-month grind with the red chips, gambling with an edge, the life of a 'lone wolf' card counter, crushing Caesars Palace in one weekend for a house, working with Ken Uston, getting 'back roomed', jumping head first into the stock market, being called "the nation's no. 1 day trader", driving the same car from 2001, being driven from the pits to Bobby's Room, $4k-$8k cash games, seven-figure buy-ins, 10-minute $5 million swings, trying to keep up with Jean-Robert Bellande, a $3 million bet on the river, getting coolered by Andrew Robl, watching paint, and an AI-themed casino.
Sep 03, 2018
Poker Stories: Jay Farber
Jay Farber is best known for finishing runner-up to Ryan Riess in the 2013 World Series of Poker main event, where he earned $5.2 million. Farber was a relative unknown in the poker world at the time, but had made a name for himself in Las Vegas as a nightclub promoter and VIP host, which led to some high-profile people on his rail including Ben Lamb, Shaun Deeb, and Dan Bilzerian. Now five years later and considered retired, the Santa Barbara, California-native is coming off of another solid summer. In late June, he took third in a a $1,500 bounty event at the WSOP for $121,000, and in July, he finished fifth in the Card Player Poker Tour Venetian main event for another $134,000. Highlights from this interview include the joys of retirement, growing up in a pool hall, gambling as a child, sneaking into casinos, going from bouncer to club promoter, playing for rent money, partying for a living, finding clients at the poker table, knowing your table image, running like god in the main event, finding ways to spend a seven-figure score, not watching himself on TV, losing six figures in a blackjack session, the politics of high-stakes games, losing $250k+ pots to Rick Salomon, getting Chino'd by Chino, how to eat a lot of McDonald's, and why the octopus will take over the earth.
Aug 20, 2018
Poker Stories: Steve Zolotow
Steve Zolotow has been gambling for the better part of six decades, and that's only a small part of what has been an extraordinarily eclectic life. Born into a famous family of writers that hobnobbed with the Hollywood elite, Zolotow dropped out of the Ivy Leagues to pursue a life of gambling, drugs, women, and even an acting career. It was gambling that led Zolotow to the Mayfair Club, which started as a bridge and backgammon space before becoming a secret poker club that produced legendary gamblers such as Erik Seidel, Jay Heimowitz, Mickey Appleman, Howard Lederer, Stu Ungar, Paul Magriel, and Dan Harrington. When he wasn't wagering up to $1 million a week with his sports betting operation, Zolotow was playing high-stakes poker with VIPs like Larry Flynt. Zolotow also has two World Series of Poker bracelets, having taken down a Chinese poker event in 1995 and a pot-limit hold'em event in 2001. Highlights from this interview include a family of famous writers, ignoring Marilyn Monroe to play with horses, sharing a bed with Elizabeth Taylor, getting acting compliments from Lee Strasberg, dropping acid and dropping out, getting beaten out of the army, a three-some proposal leads to a marriage proposal, Stu Ungar cleans up in bridge, poker comes to the Mayfair Club, how to Moss-proof your loose change, how X-22 almost lost his Cox, up to $1 million a week in sports bets, avoiding jail time in Las Vegas, a Chinese poker bracelet, avoiding going broke, $2k-$4k stud with Larry Flynt, real estate sticker shock in NYC and SF, losing a $300k pot to Lyle Berman, and why you can't drown a fly.
Aug 06, 2018
Poker Stories: Michael Mizrachi
Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi is one of the most accomplished poker tournament players in history, with four World Series of Poker bracelets, and two World Poker Tour titles. The 37-year-old got his career started by winning the L.A. Poker Classic in 2005, and followed that up by taking down the Borgata Winter Poker Open in 2006, the same year he won the Card Player Player of the Year award. Although Mizrachi has experienced his fair share of hardship following downswings, a tough real estate market, and some failed investments, he has always seemingly bounced back, as he did in 2010, when he took fifth in the WSOP main event for $2.3 million. Mizrachi has particularly excelled in the $50,000 buy-in Poker Players Championship, which he has won an incredible three times. The South Florida native first held the Chip Reese Memorial trophy in 2010, and did so again in 2012, and again this summer. (He even finished fourth in 2016!) With more than $16.7 million in career live tournament cashes, Mizrachi currently sits in 26th place on the all-time earnings list. He is one of four poker-playing Mizrachi brothers, including Eric, Donny, and four-time bracelet winner Robert. Highlights from this interview include a disdain for robots, 10-second decisions, a family of gambling enthusiasts, Rob's envelopes, ladies poker night with mom, the living room casino, bussing tables at Bennigan's, the six-figure RV, the downside of real estate, the upside of gold, being a three-time $50k champ, being a feel player, playing with no cards, holding on to your money, not gambling for a year, joining an adult swim team, high-stakes mixed games, losing a $170k pot to Daniel Alaei, losing money on swaps, listening to the way they breathe, getting fired from his dealing job, and fictional arrest scenarios.
Jul 23, 2018
Poker Stories: Chris Moneymaker
Chris Moneymaker forever changed the poker world when his win in the 2003 World Series of Poker main event helped to spark a boom. The accountant from Tennessee with the prophetic last name bested Phil Ivey and Sam Farha on his way to a $2.5 million payday, and a lasting endorsement deal with PokerStars. Although he doesn't play much during the summer anymore, Moneymaker has still managed to rack up some big scores in the years since, finishing runner up in the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star and in the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship, as well as making a deep run in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure main event. Now 42 years old, Moneymaker is getting his own tour from PokerStars. The online poker site is partnering with casinos from around the U.S. to send players to the $25,000 buy-in, PokerStars Players Championship at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas this January. For just $86, players on the Moneymaker PSPC Tour have a chance to win a $30,000 prize package that will be added to the prize pool at each stop. Highlights from this interview include Hall of Fame worthiness, getting your own tour, was it $39 or $86?, fake Moneymaker prostitution charges, an easy summer schedule, playing with Jack Keller and giving back to the fans, the perfect amount of fame, getting impromptu rap performances from the rail, moving out of the city, being the 'dumbest guy in the room,' adjusting to life after the main event win, living under Peyton Manning, finding the eye of the tiger, and stacking Ben Affleck in a cash game.
Jul 09, 2018
Poker Stories: Kristen Bicknell
Kristen Bicknell is only 31 years old, but has already accomplished quite a bit in the poker world. The St. Catherine's, Ontario native started with online cash games and earned Super Nova Elite status on PokerStars for three consecutive years before turning her attention to live tournaments. Bicknell has two World Series of Poker bracelets, having won the ladies event in 2013 for $173,922, and a $1,500 bounty event in 2016 for $290,768. She has been on quite a run in the last six months, having won an event at the Five Diamond Classic for $199,840 and the APPT Macau high roller for $284,960. Most recently, she chopped the $5,000 MSPT event at the Venetian DeepStack Championship Poker Series for $200,000, with her boyfriend Alex Foxen of all people. Highlights from this interview include the perils of pre-workout, the difference between Tim Horton's towns and Starbucks towns, growing up with Mr. Small Block, racing against the boys, a different college experience, 24-tables at once, spewing in ladies events, a love for European cities, relationship heaters, nailing a hole-in-one, army pants and black eyeliner, romantic heads-up battles, an intense focus on Daddy Yankee, and bluffing it off on Poker After Dark.
Jun 25, 2018
Poker Stories: Mike Leah
Mike Leah gambled on a career in poker, giving up a cushy six-figure salary as a sales manager to try his luck on the felt. The gamble paid off, as the 43-year-old Canadian has been one of the more accomplished tournament grinders of the last decade, having racked up more than $10 million in combined live and online scores. In addition to winning to a World Series of Poker bracelet back in 2014, Leah has also dominated at the Fallsview Poker Classic, having won the same huge event three out of four years. Earlier this year, he returned to Fallsview and won the World Poker Tour main event, but not without a little controversy. Highlights from this interview include unscheduled days off, high-stakes fantasy poker, avoiding cauliflower ear, missing the Moneymaker boom, giving up a good job, a quick start in Vegas, POY expectations, why ego cost him a few hundred grand, Fallsview: the home away from home, the birthday bracelet, chop controversies, loving it at McDonalds, drowning out Kabrhel and Hawkins, and a thing for Alyssa Milano.
Jun 11, 2018
Poker Stories: Brandon Adams
Brandon Adams is a high-stakes cash game player who now resides in Miami, but in the last 18 months, the 39-year-old has done quite well on the high roller tournament circuit. Adams finished second in the 2017 Aussie Millions $25,000 event, third in the 2017 Hard Rock Poker Open $25,000 event, first in the $50,000 Poker Masters event and most recently, he won another $25,000 event at the Hard Rock Poker Showdown. Adams now has $3 million in live tournament earnings. Adams has also written three books, including Broke: A Poker Novel and Personal Organization For Degenerates. He has gambled for hundreds of thousands of dollars in big prop bets, and faced off against some of the best players in the world, even while teaching game theory courses at Harvard University in his spare time. Highlights from this interview include unfashionable George, graduating college at 19, the desire to be a jock, Ivy League poker, teaching game theory at Harvard, dealing with smoke in Biloxi, Cash Poker at Binion's, clearing his box to play heads-up PLO with Sammy Farha, locking up a win in an insane high-stakes game, a push for transparency in swaps and staking, writing for degenerates, working with Michael Lewis, using Tool the run a 5:33 mile, playing a $600k pot that didn't go to showdown, denying equity vs. realizing equity, owning 100 $300 shirts, and adopting an open-door policy.
May 28, 2018
Poker Stories: Jeremy Ausmus
Jeremy Ausmus went into the final table of the 2012 World Series of Poker main event as the shortest stack, but managed to navigate his way to fifth-place finish worth $2.15 million. The Colorado-native may have been a relative unknown to the home audience at the time, but he had already spent years establishing himself as a respected cash game pro in Las Vegas. In the time since, the husband and father of two has split time between his usual daily cash game grind at Bellagio and the occasional tournament. Ausmus has also notched a few wins at the Venetian, and even has a WSOP bracelet, taking down a pot-limit Omaha event in Europe back in 2013. In total, the 38-year-old has amassed more than $5.15 million in live tournament earnings. Highlights from this interview include residual hair product, the flat part of Colorado, being an outdoor-indoor kid, paying bills by building cabinets, an affinity for spreadsheets, putting down roots in Vegas, having six-figures locked up online, getting annihilated in fantasy football bets, learning ICM in the NICU, being a slow deep thinker, a generous Greg Merson freeroll, why list manipulation is bad for poker, Phil Ivey's Punchout, and the greatness of a BJ burger.
May 14, 2018
Poker Stories: Brandon Shack-Harris
Brandon Shack-Harris was the breakout player of the 2014 World Series of Poker and finished runner-up in the Player of the Year standings only to three-time bracelet winner George Danzer. Shack-Harris won the $1,000 PLO event for $205,000, finished second in the $10,000 razz event for $182,000, took third in the $1,500 limit hold'em for another $78,000, and then he topped it all off by finishing runner-up to John Hennigan in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship for $938,000. In the following years, Shack-Harris proved he wasn't a one-summer wonder with six more final tables, including a win in the 2016 $10,000 PLO event for $895,000 and his second career WSOP bracelet. In total, the 37-year-old mixed-games phenom has cashed for more than $2.8 million in live tournaments, the majority of which came in just the last four years. A jack-of-all-trades musician himself, Shack-Harris was actually introduced to poker by the lead singer of the rock band Muse. Highlights from this interview include birthday interviews, a lack of slurpies, fleeing Silverchair drama in New Jersey, a sensory overload project, bonding with Muse over Chopin tattoos and poker, needing some disco rock band closure, a Super Massive Black Hole of disappointment, being a respectable short-stacker, why the polar bear comes out for stud 8, a dream connection with Phil Laak, selling his grandmother's house with Eric Rodawig, giving rebates to Dan Kelly, and trolling razz players in Russian.
Apr 30, 2018
Poker Stories: Sorel Mizzi
Sorel Mizzi was at one point, the no. 1 ranked online poker player in the world. After turning his attention to live tournament poker, Mizzi continued to thrive, scoring wins on the European Poker Tour, and at the Borgata Spring Poker Open, Festa al Lago, and Wynn Classic, as well as high roller events at the Grand Prix De Paris, WPT Vienna and the PartyPoker Premier League. Mizzi has also done very well at the Aussie Millions, finishing 16th in 2009, third in 2010, ninth in 2011 and second in 2014. In total, the 33-year-old Toronto native has amassed $11.9 million in live earnings, which is no. 45 on the all-time money list and no. 4 on Canada's list, behind just Mike McDonald, WSOP main event winner Jonathan Duhamel, and of course, Daniel Negreanu. Mizzi is no stranger to controversy, and feels as though he was singled out because of his status in the poker world. However, after some "self-editing," as he puts it, he believes his days of finding trouble are behind him. Highlights from this interview include a family of gamers, punching Brian Rast in the face for charity, early gambling with pogs, getting berated by Phil Hellmuth, living life for the adventure, why poker players can fail math, an unhealthy online poker routine, meeting Bill Nye The Science Guy, learning to self-edit, dealing with bracelet envy, dominating down under, taking mushrooms on the moon, 'sparring' with Forrest Griffin, the worst 'Hi' of Nenad Medic's life, high-stakes Monopoly props, betting on Ari Engel's name, and being a LAG salesman.
Apr 16, 2018
Poker Stories: Mori Eskandani
Mori Eskandani spent the better part of three decades grinding out a living on the poker felt, even notching a handful of tournament wins along the way, but it's his contributions as the President of Poker PROductions that has earned him deserved praise as one of the more influential people in the game today. A natural story teller with a knack for spotting big poker personalities, Eskandani and his crew are responsible for thousands of hours of original poker programming, including shows such as High Stakes Poker, Poker After Dark, Face The Ace, the Poker SuperStars Invitational Tournament, the National Heads-Up Poker Championship, and coverage from events such as the World Series of Poker, WSOP Europe, and the Super High Roller Bowl. Highlights from this interview include working for free, grinding in the 80's, the power of pomegranate, an 80-hour week at the Stardust, naming the game of H.O.R.S.E., showing Henry Orenstein his hole cards, bad TV show ideas, being wrong about mixed games, watching Jamie Gold lose on High Stakes Poker, getting out the pickle business, a $600,000 poker table, the Wild, Wild West, and the importance of a Johnny Chan bad beat story.
Apr 02, 2018
Poker Stories: Freddy Deeb
Freddy Deeb is one of the most accomplished poker players in history, with two World Series of Poker bracelets, two World Poker Tour titles, and more than $8.5 million in live earnings. The Beirut-born Deeb was well on his way to a degree in mechanical engineering at Utah State University before a civil war broke out back home in Lebanon, forcing him to turn to poker to get by. In addition to his success on the tournament circuit, which includes a win in the 2007 WSOP $50,000 Poker Players Championship, the now 62-year-old Deeb has also been a regular in some of the biggest cash games in the world, and appeared on shows such as High Stakes Poker, and the Poker Superstars Invitational. Highlights from this interview include the problem with being a hands-off owner, the meat hustle, escape from LA... to Utah, real estate regret, turning $60 into $97k in one day, why he doesn't play props anymore, losing an $800k pot to George the Greek, a big swap with Chip Reese, a two-hour stint canning fruit, surviving hurricanes, and why a quick bet is usually a bluff.
Mar 19, 2018
Poker Stories: Justin Young
Justin Young was working as a mechanical engineer on an Marine Corps base before his surging bankroll gave him the confidence to pursue a career in poker. His first major score came when he finished second at the 2008 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic, earning $936,700. He continued to post good results, with many close calls along the way, before he broke through to win his first World Poker Tour title at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown in 2016 for $669,161. He now has $4.8 million in live tournament earnings. Most recently, he appeared on Poker After Dark, posting big wins in the high-stakes cash game. Highlights from this interview include painting your own walls, beans in your ears, how the apple can fall far from the tree, checkmate leads to punching, the Varkonyi effect, loose plane bolts, a thorough 30-point check list, a unique nature vs. nurture test, getting shell-shocked by Dan Bilzerian, getting one-upped by Chino Rheem, getting back-roomed at the Wynn, winning at the 7-2 game, a big bet with Devilfish, and the joy of delivering sandwiches.
Mar 05, 2018
Poker Stories: David Peters
David Peters is only 30, but is already one of the most accomplished tournament players in poker history. The Toledo, Ohio native currently has $19.5 million in live cashes, which is good enough for no. 15 on the all-time tournament earnings list. Peters' poker resume is filled with high-profile wins, including a WSOP bracelet, an EPT title, many high roller events and the 2016 Card Player Player of the Year award. Highlights from this interview include the worst orbit of his career, blinding off in Australia, dealing with a down year, unavoidable high-equity spots, an appearance on SportsCenter, Katy Perry is not Lady Gaga, losing $30k playing Yahtzee, the benefits of soothing jungle sounds, another plug for the big-blind ante, never collecting a paycheck, refreshing the crypto page, and a dream phone call with Michael Jordan.
Feb 19, 2018
Poker Stories: Eric Baldwin
Eric Baldwin burst onto the live tournament scene in 2009, making 17 final tables en route to a World Series of Poker bracelet and the Card Player Player of the Year award. He followed up that campaign with the largest score of his career, earning seven figures for finishing runner-up to David Williams in the 2010 World Poker Tour Championship. In the years since, Baldwin has remained remarkably consistent despite cutting back on his travel schedule, notching a six-figure score nearly every year of his career. In 2017, Baldwin won both the Wynn Classic and Venetian DeepStack Extravaganza main event. To date, he has racked up nearly $5.5 million in live tournament earnings. Highlights from this interview include nicknames for 12-year-olds, majoring in baseball, winning a collegiate national title, having paralysis by analysis, multi-tabling to win POY, playing cash for the kids, staying motivated for the second million, running bad at swaps, calculating the beer EV of a craps game, haggling for a good deal on a six-figure car, poker commentary from T.J. Cloutier, scooping cream cheese in a truck, and a love for Paul Goldschmidt.
Feb 05, 2018
Poker Stories: Linda Johnson
Linda Johnson, dubbed "The First Lady of Poker" by Mike Sexton, is a real living legend of the game. Johnson has been playing poker for more than four decades, and along the way she won a WSOP bracelet, helped start the WPT, owned and operated Card Player Magazine, saw the world with Card Player Cruises, and helped found the Tournament Director's Association, serving on the board. Linda was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2011, becoming the second woman to join the exclusive club and Just last year, she was also given the inaugural WPT Honors Award. Highlights from this interview include going postal, a big life gamble, blowing off law school for poker, not being married to the president of poker, putting her foot down, defending the live one, making Men the Master lose his hat, being a jet-setter on the high seas, betting on grocery store totals, calling out assholes, final table hot flashes, and forgotten WSOP history.
Jan 22, 2018
Poker Stories: Ankush Mandavia
Ankush Mandavia has been playing poker for the better part of the last decade, but it wasn't until a couple years after Black Friday that the online specialist made the successful transition to live tournaments. The 31-year-old has since become a regular in the high-stakes events, and has a third-place finish in the $100k buy-in PCA super high roller for almost $800k. The University of Georgia graduate also has a WSOP bracelet, having won the $5k turbo event a couple summers ago. He currently has $4.5 million in live-tournament earnings to go along with the millions more he won online. Highlights from this interview include eight trips to Jacksonville, getting weeded out, observing the yellow sub, running up big rolls online, five-minute nerves, gunning for buy-ins, getting even chops when short-stacked, being a low-tabler, swapping etiquette, scorpions and chicken broth, and the problem with day 1 tanking.
Jan 08, 2018
Poker Stories: Matt Affleck
Matt Affleck might forever be known as the guy whose pocket aces were cracked by Jonathan Duhamel deep in the 2010 World Series of Poker main event, but in the years since, the Washington-native has established himself as a consistent force on the tournament circuit. Now 30, Affleck has racked up $3.8 million in combined live and online earnings. He has wins at the Borgata Winter Poker Open, Fall Pot of Gold, and Coco Poker Open. In 2016, he narrowly missed out on winning his first WSOP bracelet and this year, he had three six-figure scores, including a final table in the massive Colossus event and a win in the Wynn Fall Classic. Highlights from this interview include a high-stakes cafeteria table, celebrating a big win with cheap drinks, stacking classes to stack chips, getting poker sympathy from railbirds, the joy of being your own boss, going through poker withdrawal, chopping PLO pots with Sam Farha, a great year of poker opportunities, getting the best of it in swaps, listening to silence, dodging poker agents, being Ben Affleck's cousin at Jersey Mike's, and avoiding snakes and spiders.
Dec 25, 2017
Poker Stories: Nick Petrangelo
Nick Petrangelo is a poker pro from Massachusetts who broke out onto the high-stakes tournament scene back in 2015 with numerous final tables, including a second-place finish in the $100,000 buy-in Five Diamond World Poker Classic high roller for more than $1 million. Since then, the 31-year-old former hockey and golf standout has been a consistent force on the high roller circiuit, amassing $9.4 million in live tournament cashes. In 2017 alone, he finished second in PokerStars Caribbean Adventure $25,000 high roller for $740,032, won the Aussie Millions $100,000 high roller for $665,734, and also took down the $25,000 PokerStars WCOOP high roller for another $624,676. Highlights from this interview include living in extremes, why high roller fish are better players than regular fish, being 'less chill' in a hockey game, why tournaments > cash games, not being dollar motivated, a six-figure slow roll, a short stint as a bank teller, wanting the farm in Vermont and table draw confidence.
Dec 11, 2017
Poker Stories: Matt Berkey
Matt Berkey is a 35-year-old poker pro from Leechburg, Pennsylvania who has risen through the ranks to become a regular in both high-stakes tournaments and cash games. The former baseball standout has earned nearly $4 million in live tournaments, including a $1.1 million score for taking fifth in the 2016 Super High Roller Bowl. Berkey's most recent accomplishments include a third-place showing in the Little One For One Drop for $240,588 and a third-place finish in the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open for another $341,618. He's also spent a lot of time battling elite players in some of the biggest cash games in the world, and estimates that he's been involved in as many as 10 seven-figure pots during his career. Highlights from this interview include a one-stop-light town, being a responsible eight-year-old, betting the whole jar of pennies, shoveling snow on the diamond, why 25 is old, poker in a steakhouse, the why of risk, misreading hands with JRB and Rick Salomon, getting pity from Mrs. Galfond, going postal, getting royal flushed by Sippl, dates at Tropical Smoothie, and the $1.6 million session.
Nov 27, 2017
Poker Stories: Barry Greenstein
Barry Greenstein is a three-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner and two-time World Poker Tour champion with more than $8.3 million in live tournament earnings, but the 62-year-old member of the Poker Hall of Fame is perhaps best known for his success in the high-stakes cash games during the poker boom. In fact, Greenstein was winning so much playing in the big games (he won $5 million during the 2003 WSOP alone) that he actually donated his tournament profits to various charities, earning himself the nickname "the Robin Hood of poker." Highlights from this interview include a neighborhood of ball players, the perils of not owning an alarm clock, being aggressive with his collegiate career, working a 9-to-5 for the kids, living a life of Gatsby, saying no to soft play in Vegas, a 15-minute break in 1985, turning down Bill Gates, selling out a math lecture, paying the IRS seven figures, heads-up matches with Negreanu, five seconds of faking it, Ivey doesn't even know to Google, listening to Seidel about swapping, playing the weekend, and the benefit of Matusow's annoying voice.
Nov 13, 2017
Poker Stories: Greg Mueller
Greg Mueller is a former professional hockey player turned high-stakes poker pro. Mueller, otherwise known as FBT or Full Blown Tilt in the poker world, picked up the game on a long road trip between games. After nine seasons, Mueller retired from hockey and took up poker professionally. In 2009, he made headlines at the World Series of Poker when he won his first two bracelets, taking down the $10,000 limit hold’em championship event and the $1,500 limit hold’em shootout. But although he’s managed to rack up more than $2.8 million in live tournaments, Mueller focuses primarily on high-stakes mixed games, battling it out with some of the best players in the world. Highlights from this interview include a love for fish and chips, why sporting events are his crack, the reason why European hockey players don’t fight, retiring at a young age, the origin of full blown tilt, the current state of the high-stakes poker world, why cash games are preferable to tournaments, the thrill of having other people win you money, paying friends to eat slugs, the difference between Phil Ivey and Phil Hellmuth, Phil in the third person, and why salads are for winners.
Oct 30, 2017
Poker Stories: Tom McEvoy
Tom McEvoy is the 1983 World Series of Poker main event champion, and a member of the Poker Hall of Fame. The 72-year-old from Grand Rapids, Michigan considers himself to be semi-retired from the game these days, but managed to win a total of four WSOP bracelets over the course of his career. McEvoy was working as an accountant in Michigan when he lost his job and decided to play poker for a living, which was considered an insane idea in the late '70s for a married man with three kids. In the years since, McEvoy wrote more than a dozen poker strategy books and was instrumental in making poker rooms smoke free. Highlights from this interview include saying no to the party of no, abandoning accounting, taking the paper boy's bankroll, a cross-country commute, being anti-cheating during a time of cheating, pushing smoke to the rail, the horror of working for Binion's, making mom proud on the front page of the Grand Rapids Press, cutting deals with Johnny Chan, knowing the value of bracelets, being a nationally ranked table tennis player, and getting offers from Erik Seidel NOT to write.
Oct 16, 2017
Poker Stories: Chris Moorman
Chris Moorman is the no. 1 online tournament player in poker history, and it's not even close. The 32-year-old U.K. poker pro has managed to rack up $14.2 million in online tournament earnings over the years, which is $3.3 million more than his nearest competitor. Now based in the United States, Moorman has proven that he is quite the live player as well, with $5.1 million in earnings. After a few years of close calls in big events, he finally picked up a marquee win of his own in the WPT L.A. Poker Classic main event, and just last summer, he won his first World Series of Poker bracelet. Highlights from this interview include playing cards with the elderly, why bullying leads to billiards, being no. 1, enjoying mince pie and Christmas pudding, having his dad act as his accountant, learning to close, an unsustainable stable of horses, writing his own book of Moorman, a fake friend named Adam, calling an audible on his proposal, a last longer to avoid a white suit, and the rush of bluffing Phil Ivey.
Oct 02, 2017
Poker Stories: Upeshka De Silva
Upeshka De Silva, known as Pesh, didn't really start concentrating on the live tournament circuit until 2013, but in the few years since he's still managed to win two World Series of Poker bracelets while banking nearly $2 million in earnings. De Silva's first bracelet came in a 2015 $1,500 no-limit hold'em event for $424,577. His second bracelet win happened just last summer, when he took down the $3,000 shootout event for $229,923. De Silva also made a deep run in the 2015 main event and final tabled the WPT Legends of Poker main event in 2016 for $198,720. Highlights from this interview include a brief stint in Sri Lanka, growing up with Supermom, playing in some secret Texas Texas hold'em games, getting dad bad beat apologies, a stable of unstable horses, filling up two wrists, a battle with ego, big fields vs. big buy-ins, hero calling Fedor, watching $100 turn into $45,000 in 15 minutes, the isolation of being a poker pro, and an aversion to country music.
Sep 18, 2017
Poker Stories: Ari Engel
Ari Engel is one of the hardest working grinders on the tournament circuit today. The former no. 1 online poker player in the world has been practically living out of a suitcase as he chases big cashes all over the globe. The 33-year-old has done quite well for himself, with nearly $5 million in live tournament cashes. He's currently tied for fourth place with eight WSOP Circuit titles and in 2016, he took down the Aussie Millions main event. Despite the fact that he didn't really concentrate on live poker until after Black Friday, Engel has somehow managed to rack up 284 live tournament cashes so far in his career, 48 of which came last year. To compare, 53-year-old Phil Hellmuth, who won the 1989 WSOP main event, has a total of 280 career cashes. Highlights from this interview include being a world-traveling child, Canadians with Australian accents, lazily finishing college in two years, inspiring his landlord to take up poker, being a poker workaholic, the positives of a fragmented online poker market, how to cash 48 times in one year, having the third worst set and still winning, and figuring out where to live in the world.
Sep 04, 2017
Poker Stories: Frank Kassela
Frank Kassela is a three-time WSOP bracelet winner and the 2010 World Series of Poker Player of the Year. In addition to $3 million in live tournaments earnings, Kassela is also a regular in the nosebleed-stakes mixed games that run in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. When he's not tearing up the felt, Kassela owns and manages several business throughout the United States. He's also passionate about politics, and even ran for Congress in 2013. Highlights from this interview include WSOP funk, channeling his inner-Forrest Gump, selling office supplies to feed the new baby, waiting in line to play slots, getting a poker education from Jack Keller, finding inspiration from Matt Damon, being the reason why Johnny Chan has a tenth bracelet, why PLO is the mixed-games gateway drug, running for congress, an obsession with Broadway, and losing a $350,000 pot to Rick Salomon.
Aug 21, 2017
Poker Stories: Tony Dunst
Tony Dunst knew he wanted to be a poker player even before he could legally enter a casino. His dream became a reality and the Milwaukee, Wisconsin-native has put together a solid poker resume with $2.9 million in live tournament earnings and another $1.9 million online. He won his WSOP bracelet in 2016 and even has a WPT title from 2013. These days, Dunst considers himself to be more of a broadcast personality than a professional poker player. After longtime commentator Mike Sexton stepped down from the WPT to become Chairman at PartyPoker, Dunst was promoted to the full-time commentator spot alongside Vince Van Patten. Highlights from this episode include taking over for a poker legend, why Phil Hellmuth is the way he is, the glamorous world of gambling, being a sandwich artist and selling shoes, being banned from Australia, loneliness in Shanghai, being backed by a 17-year-old, being a WPT employee and champion, and throwing half his buy-in in the trash.
Aug 07, 2017
Poker Stories: Jonathan Little
Jonathan Little is a two-time World Poker Tour champion who was also named WPT Season VI Player of the Year. The Pensacola, Florida native has more than $6.5 million in live tournament earnings in addition to the millions he won online. Little has established himself over the last decade as one of the hardest working players int the game. When he's not on the road playing the circuit or doing commentary for live streams, Little lives in New York with his wife and son, working on poker training videos, hand packs, webinars and private coaching. He's authored more than a dozen poker books, including his latest, Mastering Small Stakes No-Limit Hold'em: Strategies to Consistenly Beat Small Stakes Tournaments and Cash Games. Highlights from this episode include an eclectic childhood, mutes for all occasions, fueling planes at the airport in a hurricane, making $20,000 a month in college, getting fired from McDonalds, buying real estate at 18, the learning curve of his first year on the circuit, the secret of not wanting much, building his poker training empire, the benefit of being the ninth wheel, making a WSOP final table with his parents, and listening to classical music at the table to keep calm.
Jul 24, 2017
Poker Stories: Joe Cada
Joe Cada became a household name in the poker world in 2009 when he won the World Series of Poker main event for more than $8.5 million. By doing so, he surpassed Peter Eastgate as the youngest champion ever, at the age of 21, and scored a $1 million contract with PokerStars. Already a feared cash game grinder, Cada continued to put in time in high-stakes online games after his main event win, preffering to stay close to home in his native Michigan rather than travel the tournament circuit. But despite his preference for cash games, Cada has proven that he's no one-hit wonder when it comes to tournaments. After notching three more WSOP final-table finishes, Cada won the 2014 $10,000 six-max no-limit hold'em event for $670,041 and his second bracelet. Now 29, Cada has racked up more than $10.5 million in live tournament earnings. Highlights from this interview include being exposed to gambling at an early age, buying a house at age 19, gifting his roommates $100,000, being the youngest WSOP main event winner ever, getting $1 million to sign with PokerStars, dealing with all the haters and embracing the spotlight, paying his carjacker's parking tickets, why boat people got money, the trouble with running your own poker room, forgetting six-figure pots, and playing in a $100-$200-$900 game.
Jul 10, 2017
Poker Stories: Maria Ho
Maria Ho is not only a feared, high-stakes cash game grinder, but also quite the tournament player, having cashed for nearly $2.2 million. The 34-year-old is perhaps best known for being the last woman standing in the WSOP main event, having done so twice, in 2007 and 2014. But the L.A.-based poker pro doesn't just have her mind on the tables. She's also done work as a commentator and sideline reporter for the Heartland Poker Tour and the Super High Roller Bowl. Most recently, she signed on to host Amazon's Mobile Masters Invitational, which will air later this summer on CBS Sports. Highlights from this interview include maintaining professionalism with Kevin Hart, the boyfriend that lost her bankroll, risk-taking lessons from her father, why Simon Cowell was mean to her, a trip to the police station, running away from home and being shipped to boarding school, using book money for her poker bankroll, unfair Amazing Race challenges, getting called by seven high, and why her parents weren't impressed that she was the last woman standing in the main event.
Jun 26, 2017
Poker Stories: Greg Raymer
Greg Raymer became a household name in the poker world back in 2004 when he won the World Series of Poker main event and the $5 million first-place prize. With his signature reptilian sunglasses and his fossilized card protectors, Raymer nearly went back-to-back before bowing out in 25th place back in 2005. The former patent lawyer has seven other WSOP final tables on his resume, and in 2012 he won an unprecedented four Heartland Poker Tour main event titles en route to HPT Player of the Year honors. Raymer has racked up more than $7.5 million in career tournament earnings. Highlights from this episode include giving badugi lessons, a knack for racquetball, abandoning academia, being a card counter in Minnesota, why Bret Maverick is weak tight, an appreciation for Matt Damon, selling action for the main event, hosting a poker game for Mickey Mouse, fighting off armed robbers at Bellagio, the error rate of the death penalty, the rarity of royal flushes, and a bad beat that cost him $40 million.
Jun 12, 2017
Poker Stories: Noah Schwartz
Noah Schwartz has put together quite the poker resume since he first made his debut back in 2007. The 33-year-old has racked up more than $5.5 million in tournament earnings and has made seven final tables on the World Poker Tour. In addition to claiming a WPT title, Schwartz also won a World Series of Poker Europe event back in 2013 to claim his first bracelet. His biggest score came in 2015 when he took down the $100,000 buy-in Alpha8 high roller event for $585,000, but the always engaging Schwartz is also known for his success in both casino and private cash games. Highlights from this interview include throwing the 12-to-6 curveball, being a numbers guy, sub-prime mortgage sales, buying six-figure Range Rovers with cash, the importance of alone time, being a sneaker head, avoiding the Fyre Festival, sitting courtside with Pacquiao and hugging LeBron, and why Noah is a good name to pay for.
May 29, 2017
Poker Stories: Justin Bonomo
Justin Bonomo is on quite the hot streak, coming off of his best year on the tournament circuit where he cashed for $4.2 million. He is currently no. 21 on the all-time tournament earnings list with $15.1 million. Bonomo's biggest score came in 2012 when he took down the EPT Grand Final super high roller for just over $2.1 million. Not only has the 31-year-old Virginia native done exceptionally well on the high roller circuit, but he also owns a World Series of Poker bracelet and a WSOP Circuit title. Highlights from this interview include three-way bad beats, not being suited for college life, how artificial intelligence will affect live poker, future music for birds and cats, the allure of Burning Man, snowflake avalanches, getting some life extension, battling Isildur, walking 16 miles in Australia, and the benefits of sharing intimacy.
May 15, 2017
Poker Stories: Bryn Kenney
Bryn Kenney is currently no. 1 in the Card Player Player of the Year race and has been one of the most consistent performers on the tournament circuit for the last four years. The 30-year-old, Long Beach, New York native has racked up more than $15 million in career live tournament earnings, which is good enough for no. 20 on the all-time list. Although he does own one World Series of Poker bracelet, most of his success has come on the high roller circuit where he frequently puts up buy-ins of $25,000 or more. Highlights from this interview include an early knack for sabermetrics, trash talking with Phil Hellmuth, the not-so-crazy lifestyle of a top-ranked Magic: The Gathering player, weight loss prop bets, hurting his bankroll with staking, douchebags with four lamborghinis, high-stakes battles with Rick Salomon, and flying to Mexico for one $5,000 meal.
May 01, 2017
Poker Stories: Nick Schulman
Nick Schulman is widely regarded as one of the top all-around players in the game today, regularly competing in some of the biggest cash games around. Although he doesn't play a lot of tournaments these days, he's done quite well in the past, racking up $8.3 million along with a World Poker Tour title and two World Series of Poker bracelets. The New York native has been a gambler since he was a teenager, dropping out of high school to play in pool halls before finding poker. Now 32, Schulman lives in Las Vegas and is a regular face in the nosebleed games in Bobby's Room. Highlights from this interview include pool hustlers, NYC underground poker games, blowing through seven figures, staying a student of the game, losing big to some banker, shooting expensive free throws, gangsta rap vs. classical music and why live reads are still important.
Apr 17, 2017
Poker Stories: Jean-Robert Bellande
Jean-Robert Bellande made an immediate impact on the poker world back in 2005 as a brash and outspoken player known for playful table talk, but in the years since he has managed to climb the ranks and play in some of the biggest games cash games in the world. The New York native has also had quite a bit of tournament success, coming close to a bracelet twice at the World Series of Poker, including a runner-up finish in the 2015 Poker Players Championship. He has more than $2.1 million in live tournament earnings. Bellande also appeared on the reality game show Survivor, on the 15th season of the program. Highlights from this interview include being tall in China, going from nightclub promoter to the life of the party, losing big in his first session, running the worst, hanging out with celebrity DJs, visiting movie sets and going to the Oscars, avoiding reality TV, and assembling fake Apple products in Taiwan.
Apr 03, 2017
Poker Stories: Daniel Negreanu
Daniel Negreanu is currently no. 1 on the all-time tournament earnings list with nearly $32 million in live tournament earnings. The 42-year-old Toronto native was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2014 and has six World Series of Poker bracelets and two World Poker Tour titles. He was named Card Player Player of the Year in both 2004 and 2013. The Team PokerStars Pro has also become a notable online presence in recent years, maintaining his Full Contact Poker blog, website and podcast, as well as a popular YouTube channel featuring vlogs, rants and hand analysis. Negreanu is also the author of numerous poker books and has appeared in movies, TV shows, music videos, a video game and even his own documentary, Kid Poker. Highlights from this interview include saying no to drugs, being whipped, why the Germans are inspiring, being a mama's boy, pathetic clickbait headlines, crazy fan tattoos, punching online trolls in the face, the romantic idea of being broke, why Mike Matusow is a deadbeat, the importance of integrity and why the UIGEA cost him a private jet.
Mar 20, 2017
Poker Stories: Mike Sexton
Mike Sexton is a legend of the game, not only for his achievements as a player, but also as one of poker's greatest ambassadors. The 69-year-old member of the Poker Hall of Fame is perhaps best known for his work as a commentator for the last 15 seasons on the World Poker Tour. But Sexton has also proven that his game is as sharp as his wit with a WPT title of his own, a WSOP bracelet and the Tournament of Champions title. Sexton is also the author of two books, the most recent being an autobiography titled Life's A Gamble. Highlights from this interview include collegiate gymnastics, growing up with a fellow poker great, volunteering for Vietnam, working as a salesman, a passion for little league coaching, crazy North Carolina home games, betting more than you have, why shag dance music is the greatest and a big sweat he had in a bet with Phil Ivey.
Mar 06, 2017
Poker Stories: Andrew Lichtenberger
Andrew Lichtenberger broke onto the poker scene back in 2009 when he finished 18th in the World Series of Poker main event. Most recently, he won his first bracelet at the 2016 series. The New York native has nearly $9 million in live tournament earnings and another $3 million online. The 29-year-old also keeps himself busy away from the felt, with an online poker site with, a clothing line and even a book called Yoga Of Poker: A High-Stakes Journey To Freedom. Highlights from this interview include smuggled daycare cereal, bowling with children, an insurmountable mountain/hill, the tempo of Celtic folk music, being an unattached, modern man, inspirational Uber drivers and an $80,000 cooler.
Feb 20, 2017
Poker Stories: Brian Rast
Brian Rast is one of the best all-around players in the game today and currently sits in 10th place on the all-time tournament earnings list with $18.7 million in cashes. The Southern California native won the Super High Roller Bowl in 2015 for $7.5 million and he has also won the $50,000 buy-in Poker Players Championship twice, in 2011 and 2016. The 35-year-old is also a prominent high-stakes cash game grinder and an owner and operator of the WSOP School of Poker, as well as 3Bet Poker Clothing. Highlights from this interview include how to clear your head, quiz bowl challenges, college break ups, playing Counter-Strike alone, insane prop bets, stale playlists, cooking a good salad and a $3 million pot.
Feb 06, 2017
Poker Stories: Scott Seiver
Scott Seiver is only 31 years old, but he's already established himself as one of the top poker players of all time.That's not an exaggeration. He has $21.7 million in career live tournament earnings, which is currently good enough for sixth place all time. Scott has five seven-figure scores on his resume, with his biggest being a runner-up finish in the $500k buy-in Super High Roller Bowl in 2015 for $5.1 million. Seiver earned his World Series of Poker bracelet back in 2008, taking down a $5,000 no-limit hold'em event for $755,891. He is also a World Poker Tour winner, having won the WPT Championship in 2011 for $1.6 million. Highlights from this interview include why Tokyo is a real city, Ivy League schools, betting on a butterfly stroke, offseason tournament destinations, the surprising importance of Bill Gazes and how to play pocket jacks.
Jan 23, 2017
Poker Stories: Matt Stout
Matt Stout is a New Jersey native with a big personality that has made him a standout player both live and online for the past decade. Stout has $3.5 million in career live tournament earnings, along with another $3.7 million won online. He is the founder of the Charity Series of Poker, a non-profit that has raised more than $150,000 for worthy charities and causes, and he is also an ambassador for the both the Borgata and Seminole Hard Rock. Highlights from this interview include 600-inch TV screens, Vegas real estate, being friends with your ex-girlfriends, accidentally dropping out of college, comedians and high-stakes Monopoly.
Jan 10, 2017
Poker Stories: Jason Koon
Jason Koon is coming off of his best year on the tournament circuit with nearly $3 million in earnings. In fact, four of Koon's five biggest scores came in 2016. Koon won the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showodwn in August for $1 million and most recently, he nearly took down back-to-back $25,000 high roller events at Bellagio. In total, the West Virginia native has $6.5 million in live cashes. Highlights from this interview include a high speed police chase, track and field injuries, an $800k pot, why modern country music is terrible, online trolls, lying travelers, bad blackjack strategy and another exciting credit card roulette story.
Jan 04, 2017
Poker Stories: Jesse Sylvia
Jesse Sylvia banked nearly $5.3 million when he finished runner-up in the 2012 World Series of Poker main event. In the years since, the Martha’s Vineyard native has proven that he is no fluke, making two more WSOP final tables and winning his first World Poker Tour title at the Borgata Poker Open for a little over $820,000. In total, Sylvia has earned more than $6.8 million in live tournaments. Highlights from this interview include living on an island, big pressure final tables, wonderful college professors, the 4Heart Suit, credit card roulette, imaginary numbers, pepper steak, and being a master of your domain… at the table.
Dec 22, 2016