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Poker Stories

Updated 8 days ago

Rank #158 in Games category

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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.

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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.

iTunes Ratings

128 Ratings
Average Ratings
113
8
4
3
0

Great work

By barxbadass - May 26 2020
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Love the pod. Biggest question. Why haven’t you had Phil Helmuth or Phil Laak

Great Stuff

By TheRealBeauRyan - Feb 18 2020
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I look forward to each one!

iTunes Ratings

128 Ratings
Average Ratings
113
8
4
3
0

Great work

By barxbadass - May 26 2020
Read more
Love the pod. Biggest question. Why haven’t you had Phil Helmuth or Phil Laak

Great Stuff

By TheRealBeauRyan - Feb 18 2020
Read more
I look forward to each one!

Best weekly hand curated episodes for learning

Cover image of Poker Stories

Poker Stories

Latest release on Dec 22, 2020

Best weekly hand curated episodes for learning

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 8 days ago

Rank #1: Poker Stories: Doyle Brunson

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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

56mins

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Rank #2: Poker Stories: Daniel Negreanu

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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

52mins

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Rank #3: Poker Stories: Barry Greenstein

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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

1hr 22mins

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Rank #4: Poker Stories: Antonio Esfandiari

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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

58mins

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Rank #5: Poker Stories: Eli Elezra

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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

1hr 13mins

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Rank #6: Poker Stories: Mike Matusow

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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

1hr 43mins

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Rank #7: Poker Stories: Jamie Gold

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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

1hr 17mins

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Rank #8: Poker Stories: Michael Mizrachi

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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

51mins

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Rank #9: Poker Stories: Chris Moneymaker

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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

54mins

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Rank #10: Poker Stories: Jennifer Tilly

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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

1hr 21mins

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Rank #11: Poker Stories: Freddy Deeb

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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

49mins

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Rank #12: Poker Stories: Layne Flack

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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

1hr 12mins

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Rank #13: Poker Stories: Steve Zolotow

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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

1hr 31mins

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Rank #14: Poker Stories: Dan Shak

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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

58mins

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Rank #15: Poker Stories: Vince Van Patten

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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

54mins

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Rank #16: Poker Stories: Jeremy Ausmus

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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

1hr 19mins

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Rank #17: Poker Stories: Sorel Mizzi

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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

1hr 17mins

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Rank #18: Poker Stories: Matt Berkey

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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

1hr 24mins

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Rank #19: Poker Stories: Matt Savage

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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

1hr 38mins

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Rank #20: Poker Stories: Matt Affleck

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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

52mins

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