How does it feel being back at the WSOP for your 10 year anniversary since winning the main event?
It’s never the same as your first time but it certainly brings back great memories as well as a current level of excitement from being a part of YOUTSTAKE.COM. I am so proud of how we’ve steadily built the brand into the premier sports staking site now handling eSports and Poker. As an investor with YOUSTAKE.COM, marketing advisor, and current player I am truly honored to be a brand ambassador for them at the WSOP. With backers from YOUSTAKE.COM I take their support very seriously and am dedicated to being successful for them. I tend to thrive in high pressure situations and do enjoy the challenge. Poker is a game of skill but luck will always play a factor, over the last 2 years I’ve shown high returns based on how few events I play per year. 3 years ago I took serious time to intensely study and retrain myself as the game of poker changes and evolves. I took 6 years off essentially and started really playing again 2 years ago and averaged a 6x return during that period. 40x return in the last 4 major events so I’m feeling great about the next 6 months of play. This is the first year I’m even considering going on the tour year round but I’m looking forward to it now because it makes sense in my life.
What has changed in your life since winning your bracelet? For better or worse?
I lost my father shortly after winning which is the biggest change certainly not for the better, I would trade anything to have him back.
How has winning changed you?
Winning most importantly gave me the platform and opportunity to help so many others in need as well as affect positive change in a world that desperately needs it.
Is your personal life better or worse?
Different. Can’t say for better or worse I’ve always enjoyed life and have been so fortunate in many different ways. I remain humble and I am certainly more grateful and truly thankful for having the most incredible family, friends and partners. They are a major reason for all my success and inspire me on a daily basis.
Any regrets? Anything you would do different?
I make an effort not to live with regret, but rather to make things right when I can. I do my best to fix any mistakes I make and avoid allowing toxic people near me, but I certainly could have done many things differently, way too many to list. I’m a work in progress, always working on being better in all areas of my life. Driven and passionate.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I’m on a very odd schedule lately. Tore my Achilles so couldn’t walk for almost a year had to keep it elevated so kept me in bed a lot so on the phone or computer. Either play poker 12 hours a day now at WSOP, work 6 sleep 6 hours or work 12 sleep 8 with time to watch TV and try to have a meal with great people in between. Looking forward to a full physical recovery, and having more of a social life and free time again.
I travel a lot. Just established residence in Las Vegas this week while spending a lot of time in California.
What are your hobbies?
I enjoy movies, TV, sports and music when I have the time. I love to work, it’s one of the reasons my life is so amazing. I try to find balance between work, poker and philanthropy. I’m overseeing the marketing for the celebrity owned public company World Poker Fund Holdings and just became a brand ambassador as well as marketing advisor for Ojai Energetics so very little time lately for other hobbies.
Do you have any vices or things that you can’t live without?
Poker is a vice at times. TV can be for me as well. Always looking for the best available health supplements and greatest food I can find. Couldn’t live without air and water but seriously #1 is LOVE for and from my family and friends without it what’s the point of life?
Most memorable moment?
Being at my mother’s wedding as a little boy was the best, seeing her and my step father and my grandparents so happy.
If you could pursue any life path tomorrow, what would it be and why?
I’m on that path now, and lucky that I can choose to do exactly what I love the most. I’ve had moments wishing I could spend 2 years just creatively producing an incredible, inspiring film while training to direct one in the future, but it wouldn’t allow me to do all the other things I love so much. Life is about trade-offs I think.
When you close your eyes and think of happy thoughts, what do you see?
My mom laughing she’s got the best laugh and I often then can’t stop laughing which keeps her laughing and on and on till tears of joy. Not many things are better than that feeling in life.
What is your favorite book?
Books like movies for me there’s so many and a type of art I don’t rank one or even 5 as favorite I can fill your whole magazine with ones I’ve loved most really. One I’m into now is Rovelli’s new book on Physics but no time to finish it lately.
What is your favorite food / restaurant?
I love food and cooking is an art form, you don’t have enough room in the magazine for the list BUT I can say the restaurant I’ve been to most is Nobu in Malibu, not just because I’ve lived down the road since it’s opening 15 years ago but rather because it’s just amazing in every way and the original head chef still cooks there, Gregorio is a true genius.
What is your favorite travel destination?
I love traveling and value NEW EXPERIENCES so for me I couldn’t pick a favorite and would rather choose somewhere I have never been.
If you could play poker with any five individuals dead or alive who would it be and why?
My Grandfather- Growing up my mom and I lived with my Grandparents for the first 10 years of my life and he was a master gin rummy player and we only ever played gin together.
My Grandmother- Also a card player who helped raise me, and we never got to enjoy a hand of poker together.
My Mom- She taught me to play cards and is the most fun person you could ever play poker with.
My Biological Father- I barely knew him before he passed away but I remember playing poker with him at age 6 and would love to have known him as an adult.
My Great Grandfather- Who I was named after, he must have the most amazing stories from his life.
All time favorite casino property?
I have way too many friends that own, operate or work at casinos to pick one or risk insulting the rest. It’s often more about the feeling I have being around good company at the Casino than the actual property that makes me happiest.
If someone wanted to send you a drink, what would most please you?
Blended organic fruit, superfoods, and a shot of Ojai Organics miracle CBD! It’s the reason I’m walking today months ahead of schedule and out of pain and so focused at the poker table. So proud of how many lives I can change offering free samples everywhere I go.