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: Miikka Anttonen
Miikka Anttonen has been gambling since he was just 10 years old. He was originally drawn to sports betting and slot machines, but after moving from his native Finland to Australia, Anttonen discovered poker. Despite a few false starts, he stuck with the game, and eventually built a bankroll and turned pro.
During his nearly decade in poker, Anttonen won millions, including a title at his native Helsinki Freezeout main event in 2011. Although he was mainly an online specialist, his time on the live tournament circuit saw him travel to 70 different countries.
A few years ago, however, Anttonen took on a prop bet that saw him forced to end his poker career. In the years since, he has focused on his love of writing, and took a job in poker media working with Pokerisivut on the Last Call documentary series, now available on YouTube.
Highlights from this interview include being an 11-year-old sports bettor, a teenaged slot machine addiction, buying all the candy, dropping out and moving to Australia, from the cheese factory to picking mangos, the rainforest home game, losing all of his prawn money in minutes, sleeping on benches, Spice-Gossip Girl love, three days trapped in a New Zealand hostel, spinning it up from zero and six-figure swings, why live poker is the tax of online poker, a costly swap, playing with Vince Vaughn, lucky underwear, waking up in jail, and the bet that ended his poker career.
Poker Stories: Jeff Platt
Jeff Platt found poker during the Moneymaker boom, but it was more than a decade before he could work it into his career. The Dallas, Texas native graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in broadcast journalism, and scored his first gig working the sports desk at a Jackson, Mississippi news station.
He then worked for ESPN covering his hometown Dallas Mavericks of the NBA, and followed that up with a job reporting on the San Antonio Spurs. He decided to take a shot in 2018, moving to Las Vegas for a chance at combining his two loves. It wasn't long before he got his chance on PokerGO with shows like Friday Night Poker and The Big Blind, while working events like the WSOP, SHRB, U.S. Poker Open, and Poker Masters. Platt is now the co-host of No Gamble, No Future, alongside Brent Hanks, which airs every Tuesday on PokerGO, with past episodes available on demand.
As a player, Platt has also found success. He made consecutive deep runs in the WSOP main event, and last year finished fourth in the Double Stack event for $160,000. He added another $100,000 just last month when he took down a tournament at the Venetian.
Highlights from this interview include having above-average pipes, performing at nursing homes, hold'em in Texas, the Mississippi sports market, rubbing elbows with Dirk Nowitzki, sweating questions with Coach Popovich, being the jack-of-all-trades for a poker channel, the aloofness of Ivey, watching the best play every day, finding the winner's circle, sucking out for $25k on Poker After Dark, having to pay the 10th grade bookie, how Daniel Negreanu moves the needle, crushing on American Idol contestants, white Kumar, and being a semi-finalist in the Mr. West pageant.
Poker Stories: Brad Ruben
Brad Ruben is a rising star in the poker world who has exploded for four World Series of Poker bracelets in the last few years. As a result, the 36-year-old Florida native 'leads the decade' with the most bracelets won so far since 2020.
The mixed-games specialist got his first title in August of 2020 during the online series held during the pandemic, taking down the $1,500 pot-limit Omaha event for $220,160. His second bracelet also came in PLO, this time during the 2021 online series. Later that year, as the live series moved to October, Ruben added a win in the $1,500 razz event, even though it was one of the first times he had ever played the game. Then last summer, Ruben was the last man standing in the $1,500 dealer's choice event, joining a club of just 66 players with four or more WSOP bracelets.
Ruben donated a portion of the winnings from his last title to the Shields and Stripes organization, a charity that helps first responders who are suffering from PTSD and other mental health issues. It's a cause that is near and dear to Ruben, having had to overcome a very tragic and traumatic experience of his own.
Highlights from this interview include running good in Oklahoma, Miami to manatees, Walmart scavenger hunts, how poker paid for studying in Spain, France, and Italy, crushing South Florida PLO games, knowing when to apply pressure, avoiding razz tilt, getting the Phil Hellmuth speech, hypnotherapy, why his ex has one of his bracelets, how poker can battle PTSD, the dangers of trading crypto, being a violin concert master at age 10, developing a Whopper addiction, sounding like Antonio Esfandiari, lucky underwear, and appraising his Pokémon collection.
Poker Stories: TDA Rule Changes With Matt Savage
The Tournament Director's Association (TDA) was formed in 2001 by Matt Savage, Linda Johnson, Jan Fisher, and Dave Lamb with the goal of standardizing poker tournament rules. Before the TDA, each venue would have their own 'house rules,' creating problems and confusion for new or traveling players, while suppressing the growth of the game.
In the two decades since, almost every licensed cardroom in the world has jumped on board, adopting TDA policies and procedures for their own events. Today, the TDA has more than 4,000 members in 65 different countries.
Every two years, poker room managers, tournament directors, and event organizers from all over the globe gather in Las Vegas for the TDA summit. It is there that rule and procedure changes are proposed, voted on, and ultimately made.
World Poker Tour Executive Tour Director Matt Savage is not only a co-founder of the TDA, but also sits on its Board of Directors. Card Player recently caught up with him for a special episode of the Poker Stories podcast to talk about the most recent summit and the latest rule changes to look out for.
Highlights from this episode include subjects such as the big blind ante, player abuse, the order of mixed games, stalling, tournament guarantees, and the use of real-time assistance, better known as RTA.
Poker Stories: Dan Zack
Dan Zack was perhaps the youngest player to get bit by the poker bug when Chris Moneymaker won the 2003 World Series of Poker main event. The Princeton, New Jersey native was just 10 years old at the time, but he was hooked, even going on to read the Harrington on Hold'em strategy series by age 13. The gaming standout had the skills to build up big bankrolls online, but lacked the discipline to hold onto it.
After having to rebuild a few times, Zack finally plugged his leaks and it wasn't long before he established himself as a threat in any game he entered. He won his first WSOP bracelet in 2019, taking down the $2,500 Mixed Triple Draw event. The next year, he bubbled the final table of the $10,000 online main event.
This summer, the 29-year-old was the runaway winner of the WSOP Player of the Year race, having racked up 16 cashes, four final tables and just over $1.45 million in earnings. He also managed to nab his second and third career bracelets, winning both the $10,000 Omaha eight-or-better championship and the $10,000 stud eight-or-better championship.
Highlights from this interview include winning the jar of pennies at the family reunion game, reading Harrington on Hold'em at age 13, losing $20,000 on a church retreat, why children shouldn't learn poker, quitting poker and finding it again in Germany, turning $1,000 into $100,000 in one summer, a crucial PLO pot in the Bahamas, eight 62-hour poker sessions, setting his sights on the series, battling a barker, getting staked for a high roller by a stranger, live stream stakes, losing a $200,000 pot to Garrett Adelstein, getting owned at $2k-$4k by Ray D, betting big on the election, Dustin Diamond, and never having a real job.
Poker Stories: Eugene Katchalov
Eugene Katchalov is a World Series of Poker winner and World Poker Tour champion with more than $9.2 million in career live tournament earnings. The Ukrainian-born and New York-raised pro won the 2007 Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic for a massive $2.5 million and also the 2011 $1,500 stud event at the WSOP for his bracelet.
The 41-year-old has come close to earning the Triple Crown title on a few occasions, most notably taking third at EPT Barcelona and also finishing runner-up at EPT Deauville. He does have three EPT side events wins, including a $1.5 million payday in the $100,000 Super High Roller at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. He's also played in some of the biggest cash games in the world, including the infamous Molly's Game.
Katchalov has spent the last few years focusing on Qlash, his esports company with fellow poker pro Luca Pagano, and moved back to Kiev with his wife. In February of this year, however, he was forced to flee his home following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Highlights from this interview include leaving the Soviet Union, having a professional gambler for a dad, the symbolic freedom of Coca Cola, speaking Russlish, NYU business school, day trading, watching Antonio Esfandiari get felted, running well at Bellagio, buying a place for his grandparents, a $400k pot with a record label exec, beating Daniel Negreanu for a sponsorship, Korea trips with ElkY, misreading his hand in a high roller, Robin Williams and Angelina Jolie, and onion phobias.
Favorite poker podcast
Simply my favorite poker podcast that’s it have a nice day (kiss kiss)
The guests are always great, with a good mix of top players and historical figures in the poker world. Interviewer does a lot of research beforehand and usually gets the most out of the subject.
Excellent poker podcast
Great to get background and diverse info about the various players