Casino World Magazine

Q. WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?

When I’m not traveling, I harness my inner soccer mom.  I start the day dropping my 9 year old at school and my golden retriever at doggie day care. I still can’t believe I turned into the guy who takes a dog to day care, but it keeps him out of trouble with my wife, who has the more demanding job in the family. Then I blast rap music much louder than any 44 year old man should as I gear up for the day. I come in, talk to some people and try to lift the energy in the office. If it’s not an event window, I’m basically working normal office hours collaborating with the team about the next deal or event. If an event is on, then it’s a lot more time on-site. As long as the day includes being able to tuck my son into bed it’s a good day.

Q. WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT FOCUSING YOUR ENERGY ON THE WSOP ACTIVITIES?

I golf. I like to check out the restaurant scene, obviously.  I’m my wife’s personal shopper, and I gleefully watch bad television as part of the late-night routine but I’m really just obsessively focused on spending time with my family.  My 3rd grade son is a real serious athlete training 5-6

times a week and already traveling internationally. My most important job is his manager/trainer. I’ve been to Super Bowls, NBA Finals, World Series, The Masters, you name it, but my favorite sporting event is whatever he’s playing that weekend and it’s not even a close comparison.

Q. TOP 3 THINGS ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?

Play the Old Course at Saint Andrews (still can’t believe I haven’t done it yet!), take an African Safari, and be present for my son’s last game wherever and whenever that may be.

Q. MOST EMBARASSING MOMENT?

So many. One that comes to mind was in Cannes, France.  We were scouting welcome party venues and our new partners at Barriere had me go tour some insane yachts at the marina. As you might expect, the yacht leasing specialist picked me up in a Ferrari. I’m a big guy to get in and out of a Ferrari. Sure enough, as they are dropping me back at the casino just in time for a big operations meeting, I try to climb out and just absolutely split the seam in my pants. I mean from the belt loops all the way to the zipper, and I have no back-up and can’t cancel the meeting. So I literally have to take my suit jacket off and tie it around my waist like schoolkids do with their sweaters. I’m in one of the most luxurious places on earth trying to impress new French colleagues and I am basically wearing no pants.

Q. IF YOU WERE TO SWITCH PROFESSIONS WHAT WOULD YOU DO AND WHY?

I’d be an elementary or junior high basketball coach.  Firstly, I’m competitive, and I love trying to inspire people and push them to be innovative. I see these youth sports coaches making profound differences in kids lives and their sense of self-worth, and it’s amazing.   

Q. MOST PRIZED POSSESSION?

Guess I’d say my wedding band. I married my high school prom date the very first day after college graduation. We were two kids from a small town and had no idea what life would hold. Fast forward twenty years and the ring itself is now quite humble in comparison to the cars we drive or the watches on our wrists, but I’m never upgrading it.  I’ve been all around the world and back wearing that same ring, purchased with the money my wife made waiting tables. The only close second is my phone because it has all the pictures and memories from a truly blessed life. Stuff doesn’t matter, but memories matter a lot.

Q. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE?

I’ve got to go with Jerry Maguire, which is now 20 years old. I have probably watched it fifty times, laughed and cried fifty times. I love the message that following your heart is the best path to personal redemption.

Q. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FOOD AT WHAT PLACE?

That question is much too hard. In Vegas I’d say pizza from Grimaldis, matzah ball soup from Weiss Deli, and kabobs from Habib’s Persian Cuisine.

Q. WHAT IF YOUR FAVORITE TRAVEL DESTINATION?

My family has been going to a tiny Barrier Island outside Beaufort, SC called Fripp Island since I was a little boy. I’ve been to many five-star places, and Fripp is definitively not five-star, but it’s a special place that never changes and I’ll be taking the majority of my vacations there for the rest of my life.

Q. IF YOU COULD PLAY POKER WITH ANY FIVE INDIVIDUALS, DEAD OR ALIVE, WHO WOULD THEY BE AND WHY?

Michael Jordan because he was my hero growing up and you know he’d bring amazing cigars. Justin Timberlake because he’s about the coolest guy on the planet who would likely be a ball to hang out with. Cristiano Ronaldo so I could take a selfie and send it to my son. Chris Rock because I think there should be a lot of laughs around the poker table and no one’s ever made me laugh harder, and Phil Hellmuth because winning even one pot from Hellmuth would be pure ecstasy.

Q. ALL TIME FAVORITE CASINO PROPERTY?

Come on, it has to be Caesars Palace! It’s been my home for 11 years and is just so iconic. Caesars is just quintessential Las Vegas, but I recently did a big swing across Asia and was impressed with both casino resorts in Singapore.

Q. IF SOMEONE WANTED TO SEND YOU A DRINK, WHAT WOULD MOST PLEASE YOU?

Just a Coke, not that I haven’t dabbled in every other libation at one time or another, but wherever you are in the world there is absolutely nothing that tastes better than an ice cold Coke.

Q. WHO IS YOUR ALL TIME FAVORITE IDOL/MENTOR?

When I was young I was too arrogant and stupid to find a mentor. Now I’m trying to pattern myself after others all the time. (CIE President) Mitch Garber has taught me so much about generosity, loyalty and leadership.  (WSOP Executive Television Producer) Mori Eskandani has influenced me to be less emotional, more patient, to be flexible to what life throws at you. I’ve been very lucky to be around some good people who want to succeed but not at the expense of others.

Q. WHAT CAN PLAYERS EXPECT TO SEE IN THE FUTURE OF THE WSOP? EXTENSIONS? NEW PRODUCTS AND/OR SERVICES?

We continue to grow our international offerings. We are working on some things in Asia that could be truly transformative for interest in poker and our event series. We’re hoping to see additional states pass regulation for legalized online poker which would lead to growth through accessibly priced online satellites via WSOP.COM.

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