In autumn 2018, I was commissioned by the Guardian Long Read to write something about the super high roller poker scene. For numerous reasons, the article never made it to print, but what follows is a first draft. (The finished version would have been significantly shorter and, I am sure…

Interview date: October 27, 2018

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(Credit: Neil Stoddart/Rational Intellectual Holdings Ltd.)

Could you just run through your background in poker.
I was 16 years old and discovered poker on TV. I just loved it. I don’t remember if it was the EPT or something like that. I loved it so I opened my…

Interview date: November, 2018

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(Credit: Neil Stoddart/Rational Intellectual Holdings Ltd.)

Is it still possible to climb the ranks in poker, up to the Super High Rollers?
It’s a lot rarer now than it used to be because poker has got a lot tougher. But it’s still definitely possible. I started with $15 in…

Interview date: November, 2018

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(Credit: Neil Stoddart/Rational Intellectual Holdings Ltd.)

What prompted your tweet [of September 2017] when you said you weren’t “as good as these guys”?
In the last two years we’ve seen an advancement in technology across many domains, and poker is no different. Some of the new software programs and…

Interview date: November 2018

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(Credit: Rene Velli/Rational Intellectual Holdings Ltd.)

What’s the bullet-point list of steps to get to the $100K level?
If truth be told, when you play poker tournaments, you kind of start at the bottom. You work your way up. When you get good results you obviously have more money…

Interview (by phone): November 2018

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(Credit: Neil Stoddart/Rational Intellectual Holdings Ltd.)

In a nutshell, describe the changes of the past few years
The landscape has changed a lot because these kids spend a lot of time running stuff out on computers. They know specifically what to bet in many situations, what to do…

Interview (in Rozvadov): October 27, 2018

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(Credit: Carlos Monti/Rational Intellectual Holdings Ltd.)

What would be the chapter headings in the story of your life so far?
Over the last couple of years, people have been asking me what did you take away from it. What was the main learning? And the thing that…

Interview (by phone): October 15, 2018

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(Credit: Neil Stoddart/Rational Intellectual Holdings Ltd.)

How has the super high roller world got to where it is?
What it comes down to is if there’s a market for it. If there’s a recreational player and they want to play for giant stakes…it’s centred around the recreational…

Interview (at WSOP-E in Rozvadov): October 27, 2020

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(Credit: Danny Maxwell/Rational Intellectual Holdings Ltd)

How did the super high roller poker scene start for you?
I think the high roller tournament scene started about six or seven years ago, when I first took my groups of Chinese businessmen, VIPs, to go the Aussie…

Interview (by phone): November 21, 2018

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Credit: Neil Stoddart/Rational Intellectual Holdings Ltd.

How do you explain what happened to you this year?
It was a combination of factors. …

Howard Swains

Journalist

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