Card Player, The Poker Authority, is an industry-leading publication and web portal specializing in poker media, strategy and tournament coverage.
Poker Stories is a long-form audio series that features casual interviews with some of the game’s best players and personalities. Each episode highlights a well-known member of the poker world and dives deep into their favorite tales both on and off the felt.
Poker Stories: Mike Watson
Mike Watson has been one of the more consistent tournament performers over his 15-year poker career, having racked up more than $12.5 million on the circuit. The St. Johns, Newfoundland native broke out in 2008, winning the WPT Bellagio Cup main event for nearly $1.7 million. In addition to numerous final tables on the high roller circuit, he also took down the 2016 EPT PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, giving him two parts of poker's elusive Triple Crown.
Watson does have two wins at the World Series of Poker. The first came in a 2011 WSOP Europe side event, and the second was a year later at the WSOP Europe when he banked $1.3 million in the high roller event. Unfortunately, neither of those WSOP events awarded bracelets.
In the last couple of years, 'SirWatts' has rededicated himself to online poker, bringing his career totals to $10 million. As a result, he is now Canada's top-ranked online player according to PocketFives, and reached a peak of no. 3 in the world earlier this year.
Highlights from this interview include when wedding season collides with poker season, having professors for parents, being a 'math nerd,' the Waterloo-poker connection, life-changing money at Bellagio, re-evaluating his game, winning two WSOP events and getting no bracelets, a big score in the Bahamas, a high-stakes online run, six-figure cash game pots, winning with Sam Greenwood, working as an umpire, fooling Dan Heimiller as Martin Jacobson, and enjoying sushi pizza for breakfast.
Poker Stories: Mark Herm
Mark Herm is a longtime professional poker player from Philadelphia who found the game in high school and has spent the last 15 years piling up results. Known as 'Dipthrong,' he has racked up more than $5 million online and was among the highest ranked players in the world for a time. Most recently, Herm became the first player to ever win a bracelet in the inaugural WSOP Online series in Pennsylvania.
Herm has also done well in live tournaments despite a limited schedule with nearly $2 million banked. He won two DeepStack Extravaganza events at Venetian and has four WSOP final tables on his resume. Herm also final tabled a $25,000 buy-in high roller at Aria and the EPT Prague main event. Although many players have warned against staking others, Herm has been quite successful with backing and at one point had a stable of 60 players.
Highlights from this episode include winning a 'dusty' bracelet, being a 'social mutant,' discovering poker in school, proving mom wrong, being a bankroll nit, finding sobriety, saying no to solvers, dealing with close calls, how to win money staking players, backing everybody, what is fair mark up, all the uses of 'chirp,' high-stakes crypto plays, washing dishes at a seafood restaurant, traveling in style, poker's elite, and paying for food convenience.
Poker Stories: Fedor Holz
Fedor Holz is just 28 years old but has already put together one of the most impressive tournament résumés in poker history. The German phenom seemingly came out of nowhere in 2015 to tear up the high roller circuit, but he had already reached the highest levels online before making the transition to live play, and in fact was at one point ranked no. 1 in the world.
In 2014, he banked $1.3 million in the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) main event, and that was just the first of many seven-figure scores. He won the Five Diamond World Poker Classic high roller the next year, and followed it up with victories at WPT National Philippines, EPT Barcelona, and the World Series of Poker.
His first bracelet win was particularly massive, taking down the $111,111 buy-in One Drop high roller for nearly $5 million. Two years later he finished runner-up to Justin Bonomo in the Big One For One Drop for another $6 million. He also finished second in the Triton Super High Roller Series, and the Super High Roller Bowl. Although he has taken a few extended breaks from the game in recent years, last year he returned to the online arena and did quite well, earning another $1.1 million and his second bracelet in the WSOP Online $25,000 buy-in heads-up event.
Holz has racked up more than $34 million on the tournament circuit, which is good for no. 8 on poker's All-Time Money List. He's also added another $11 million online.
Off the felt, Holz is also the founder and CEO of Pokercode, a training site and community dedicated to making players the best they can be. You can see Holz and his most promising students on the second season of Grindhouse. The series, available on Pokercode's YouTube page, follows the group's progress as they share strategy and a house in the Austrian Alps.
Highlights from this interview include ice baths, gambling with dad's DMV money, early bankroll struggles, a rapid rise up the ranks, not thinking about the money, maximizing his EV, avoiding $25,000 nightclub bills, winning and losing seven-figure pots, getting 'slowrolled' in the Super High Roller Bowl, the $150,000 hotel room match, the four-hour job, playing exploitatively, and what's left on his travel bucket list.
Poker Stories: Joe Stapleton
Joe Stapleton got his start in the poker world at Card Player, working the WSOP while on hiatus from his job at Mad TV. The Albany, New York native then moved on to other projects, including writing and podcasting, and commentating work for a number of poker broadcasts and TV shows.
Over the years, Stapleton has become a jack-of-all-trades voice for PokerStars, hosting shows such as The Big Game and Shark Cage, reporting from online tournament series like the SCOOP and WCOOP, and working alongside James Hartigan for EPT Live broadcasts and the Poker In The Ears podcast. The 38-year-old was a sideline reporter for the WSOP for ESPN and PokerGO, and was also the host for Poker Night In America and Poker Night Live.
In recent years, Stapleton has been touring as a stand up comedian, and even opened for fellow poker player and funnyman Norm Macdonald. He was also hired by legendary screenwriter Paul Schrader as a gambling and poker consultant for the upcoming movie The Card Counter. The film stars Oscar Isaac, Willem Dafoe, and Tiffany Haddish, and opens Sept. 10.
Highlights from this interview include styling it out, 'mistakes are my brand,' Smallbany and world expansion, Scott sacks up to L.A., stumbling into a Full Tilt meeting, tagging along for an internship, blowing off Jordan Peele, a strong nudge from Bobby Lee, debuting at the Comedy Store, scoring in London, mini golf with Norm Macdonald, accidentally criticizing Paul Schrader, spotting bing bong dealers, $2-$4 limit with Oscar Isaac in Biloxi, Jon Hamm - the dual threat, an awkward congratulations with Mike Watson, quitting the post office, Hollywood home games, the spray tan prop bet, and winning the lottery for a Dodge Challenger.
Poker Stories: Lex Veldhuis
Lex Veldhuis was a gamer from an early age, and found poker shortly after the boom thanks to his friends in the StarCraft community. He quickly shot up the ranks, and it wasn't long before he was traveling the world, playing in some of the biggest buy-in tournaments and cash games available. He was even more prolific online, where he achieved SuperNova Elite status three years in a row. His play caught the attention of PokerStars, which signed him to a sponsorship deal as a brand ambassador.
In addition to final tabling the $40,000 buy-in 40th Anniversary event at the World Series of Poker, Veldhuis also won the Dutch Poker Open in his home country of the Netherlands, and has appeared on poker TV shows such as The Big Game and High Stakes Poker. In 2016, he began streaming his online play on Twitch, and it wasn't long before he had one of the most popular poker channels on the platform. In fact, last year he set the record for most viewers of a single broadcast.
Highlights from this interview include dad wakeup times, sneaking in Nintendo time, 'leveling up' to higher stakes, sweating Patrik Antonius, the emotional investment of the game, getting some good TV time, becoming Dutch national champion, getting the call for High Stakes Poker, calling down Daniel Negreanu with king high, a series of escalating prop bets with Bertrand 'ElkY' Grospellier, kicking a friend in the head for €100,000, reinventing his career on Twitch, winning a $330,000 pot against Doyle Brunson, his football twin, and why the 'degen fund' is just a marketing expense.
Poker Stories: Andrew and Kristy Moreno
Kristy Arnett Moreno and Andrew Moreno met in college and simultaneously fell in love with each other and the game of poker. Together they made the move from Fort Wayne, Indiana to Las Vegas with the dream of making it in the poker world.
Kristy landed a job in poker media, and almost immediately made an impact, interviewing some of the best players in the world both on camera and in print for Card Player and PokerNews.
After starting his career focusing on cash games, Andrew has since transitioned to tournaments. He's had numerous close calls in the past, including a final table in the Monster Stack at the World Series of Poker, and a 28th-place finish in the $10,000 buy-in WSOP main event. However, he recently broke through with a victory in the inaugural Wynn Millions main event for a massive $1.46 million score.
Highlights from this interview include poker first dates, winning a wife in a tournament, the Vegas ultimatum, two days on a greyhound bus, shady business partners and a broken nose, going broke, working in poker media, learning from close calls, Ricky Bobby, running deep in the WSOP main event, earning a seven-figure score, losing $5k to Mike Matusow, a quick disaster on Poker Night In America, Taco Bell and corn de-tasseling nightmares, baby run good, check-raising veterans at the Navy Club, Maverick, and flinging Tom Dwan off a jet ski.
Excellent poker podcast
Great to get background and diverse info about the various players
Just discovered this podcast. It’s been great going through the back catalog and devouring old episodes. Fingers crossed for a Phil Laak episode sometime in the future!
Poker Stories is my go-to light hearted poker podcast to hear mindsets of successful poker players and their background stories. Keep them coming!!