Archive for October, 2015

Faraz Jaka: “When Good Players Get Lucky They Make the Most of It”

Faraz Jaka is a poker nomad.

The international poker circuit is his home, and that means he’s at home most of the time.

Berlin, Malta, the Dominican Republic, Amsterdam, Prague … those are just a few of the places you can meet up with him this year if you want to.

We caught up with Jaka on Day 4 of the EPT Malta main event after he had just surged into the chip lead by winning two pots in a way that weren’t, let’s say, entirely governed by skill.

He unfortunately busted later in the day but in the meantime the affable and inspiring pro spoke about luck in poker tournaments, stalling at the tables, the WSOPE in Berlin and why the November Nine remain a mystery to him.

PokerListings: A long time ago in Prague you told us you spent all year traveling. Do you have a home now?

Faraz Jaka
Still “chasing the tour”

Faraz Jaka: No, nothing’s changed. I’m still chasing the tour and I’m basing my travels around that.

PL: Maybe you’re making these deep runs in tournaments only because you have nowhere else to go.

FJ: (laughs) No, there are usually places nearby where I play that are worth a visit, or I fill in the times between events by visiting friends.

I’m lucky to have friends all around the world so there’s always something to do.

PL: Usually we wouldn’t ask this, but how much luck is involved when you run like that in a tournament?

FJ: Obviously there’s a lot of luck involved. In many tournaments that I’ve won there have been some crazy hands and bad beats that went my way.

The difference is when the good players get lucky, they make the most of it. When the worst players get lucky, they don’t win as many chips as they can.

It’s the same the other way round. When a good player gets unlucky he minimizes the amount of chips he loses.

PL: A big issue this week has been stalling at the table. What’s your take on this?

Faraz Jaka
Not too bothered by much.

FJ: I don’t have a strong opinion on the topic. I’m not necessarily against stalling but I think it should be limited.

Sometimes it can get sort of ridiculous, and more importantly if it ruins the experience for players it’ll harm the game as they won’t come back.

PL: Does it bother you when it happens at your table?

FJ: Not really, no.

PL: You also played the WSOP in Berlin and it seems there was quite some criticism about it. What was your experience?

FJ: I remember they changed the starting time of a tournament. I think that was a big mistake and it upset a lot of people.

I think it was Day 1B of the turbo. Day 1A had begun at 4 pm but Day 1B was supposed to start at noon.

There weren’t many players there, so they postponed it, but some players had already showed up so they were annoyed.

Personally, I think that this was the first time they did it, so mistakes are bound to happen. To me it’s more important how they rectify them and solve the problems and improve.

PL: So you didn’t think it was bad.

FJ: No, I didn’t. There is certainly room for improvement but I think that people tend to exaggerate when they’re complaining about certain things.

Also, people tend to compare it with PokerStars events, which is a little unfair as PokerStars is a huge online site worth billions of dollars and they have more money at their disposal than most of the other tours.

PL: Why are the WSOPs in Europe and Australia so much smaller than the one in Vegas?

FJ: It’s simply a branding thing. The WSOP started out in the US, so that’s where their brand is strong.

I think you have to expect these lower numbers. Maybe it could change if the WSOP had an online presence over here in Europe

1 2015 WSOP November Nine 3
Not up on Nov. 9ers.

PL: Do you have a favorite in the November Nine?

FJ: To be honest I don’t know who’s in the November Nine and I’ve never even watched the Main Event.

I don’t really follow poker much. When I don’t play I prefer to get busy with something else. That’s my way of staying balanced in life.

Maybe I should watch a little more as there are some individual people worth following and learning from.

PL: Did you follow that John Juanda and Jen Harman were inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame?

FJ: Yes, that’s definitely of interest for me.

Faraz Jaka

PL: Europeans complain that they never have a chance of induction. Is the selection process biased?

FJ: I think you could see it that way, but we mustn’t forget that poker has been big in the States for many years and the boom in Europe is not that long ago.

Thus, I think it’s not surprising that most of the players are Americans because they’ve been around much longer.

There are superstars now who do their thing, and they should probably be inducted in maybe 10 or 15 years, but for now it’s OK to have mostly Americans in it.


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Niall Farrell Wins 2015 European Poker Tour Malta Main Event

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WSOPE Berlin: Kevin Macphee Is The Winner (€883,000)

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Daily 3-Bet: Ho AMA, Rolling Stone on Poker/DFS, McKeehen Soars

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a high-flying kite on a particularly blustery day in the mid-afternoon poker news world.

You can fire suggestions for future 3-Bet pieces in the comments section below.

In today’s Daily 3-Bet we’ll take a look at Maria Ho’s tell-all session on Reddit, Rolling Stone chiming in on DFS’ similarities to poker and Joe McKeehen taking control on this week’s WSOP episodes.

1) Maria Ho Gets Personal on Reddit

Maria Ho
Maria Ho

As promised Maria Ho (our host for the upcoming PokerListings Battle of Malta) did an AMA feature on Reddit yesterday and it was spectacular.

Among the many insights we learned about Ho:

Has an Amazing Race-themed tattoo that she got with other cast members from her season. Kids used to make fun of her last name but she claims it helped her develop a thick skin. When Poker Face was all the rage Ho actually choreographed a dance to go along with the song but she’s never actually performed it (come on BOM Karaoke!). She’s played poker with Ben Affleck. Fave poker books: Theory of Poker, Harrington on Hold’em.

You can check out the complete AMA over on Reddit but if you have any more questions for Ho you should just save them for the Battle of Malta next week!

2) Rolling Stone Predicts DFS Ends Up Like Online Poker

Howard Lederer
Hopefully no Full Tilt Poker shenigans though.

We’ve been saying it for months: There are simply too many parallels between online poker and Daily Fantasy Sports to ignore.

Well now Rolling Stone is saying it in a new article titled “Will Daily Fantasy End Up Like Online Poker? You Bet”.

The article points out the skill vs. luck argument, the super user scandal in poker vs. the recent DFS scandal and calls for regulation.

Of course there is one key way that DFS is different. Former poker pro and current DFS professional Teddy McDermott explained:

“The one advantage that DFS has that poker didn’t is all these companies and MLB, NFL, Robert Kraft, and Jerry Jones have equity stakes in it. I don’t think those guys are going to go down without a fight and lose millions, or billions even. Hopefully it won’t happen, but I’m definitely worried about it.”

3) This Week on WSOP: McKeehen Takes Control

We’re down to the last handful of WSOP Main Event episodes and eventual final-table chip leader Joe McKeehen is starting to take charge.

This week’s episodes also featured a nice showcase of Thomas Cannuli and his friends and family:


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