Big Six #4

When & what started you playing poker?

I started playing poker in its current form a little after I started law school. I remember I was about to head out to meet a friend for some drinks and at 10pm, I saw the WPT on the Travel Channel. I thought to myself, "Who the hell would watch people play cards on the TV?" An hour later, I was running late to the bar so I set up my VCR and taped the second hour. I was instantly hooked. Then I remembered Howard Stern advertising Golden Palace Poker, so I signed up there. It helped that they had a $20 minimum deposit. I limited myself to $20/mo. since I was a student, and by the end of the month, I was paying as low as .10 SNGs, trying to win .45 (1st place) just so I could buy into the .25 game and work my way back up. Eventually, I got better and after winning the $1k freeroll twice and coming in 2nd once, three months in a row, I started to gain more confidence. After that, I really didn't need to rebuy back in, and it's been smooth sailing since.

But way before that, I used to play cards with my two grandmothers as a young kid and by high school, I'd regularly play poker with my buddies with all sorts of wild rules. It was usually draw poker with wild cards, but we'd bet decent money, so I guess part of me was always a card player and gambler.

First poker blog you read?

It was called the Intrepid Card Player. I was working in a firm and was bored as shit one day, so I searched for CardPlayer magazine's site. It was blocked, but the Intrepid Card Player also came up on my search and wasn't blocked. It was interesting reading about some guy's similar struggles and personal life. I followed a link to Tao and the rest is history.

Will online poker become legal, illegal, or no change?

God willing, nothing will change. Realistically, I predict in about 20 years it'll be legal and regulated. But we need the 20 years for the people in power to understand technology better. Right now, not enough politicians are willing to risk their reputation on a bill that their opponents will say promotes a vice, gambling. But I think the gambling culture and the computer culture will become more pervasive until it'll be the big pink elephant in the room, and then, finally, it'll be illegal, but taxed to shit. Lower level players won't be able to win consistently given the higher rake (due to the taxes) and the government will have reports of everyone's wins/losses for tax purposes, further cutting into the small players' pockets. But poker will survive as long as gambling gets people's rocks off.

One thing you could change about Poker what would it be?
I would make it legal to play live poker everywhere in the continental US (that's right, suck it Alaska). And there wouldn't be any BS restrictions on limits or anything like that. Free the poker, man! Other than that, I love the game and wouldn't change a thing.

Dead or Alive: One person you would like to play poker with? Why?

That's really tough. At first I thought, Jesus, but then I remembered that I am Jewish. So, let's go with Stu Ungar. After all, it's poker and Stu Ungar was the best there is at the time. If I'm going to get one shot, I want it to be someone who I respect as a poker player, can learn from, and then party with afterwards.

Vanilla or chocolate?

I'm going to go with vanilla, cause my wife is white. Unless you are literally talking about ice cream, in which case, I'd go chocolate.


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