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: Garrett Adelstein
Garrett Adelstein is a high-stakes professional poker player best known for being a regular on live-streamed cash games. The Tucson, Arizona native and University of Arizona graduate has made a name for himself with superb play on shows such as Poker After Dark, Live At The Bike, and Hustler Casino Live.
The 35-year-old was seemingly born to be in front of a camera, having also been cast on the CBS reality show Survivor. Adelstein competed on the 28th season of the gameshow in the Philippines for Survivor: Cagayan back in 2013.
Highlights from this interview include birthday mysteries, being the valedictorian of his high school, party school life, the big brother program, getting casted at a bar for Survivor, body building on two cups of rice, running it three times with Rick Salomon, getting busted by Johnny Chan on ESPN, playing with armed guards in Chula Vista, a 72-hour session, taking elder abuse at work, a long flight home from a Houston Rockets playoff game, Marty Funkhouser, and sitting on the throne of a commoner.
Poker Stories: Toby Lewis
Toby Lewis got a very early start in poker, picking up the game as a teenager and learning ups and downs of gambling from his father. He was just 20 years old when he broke out on the live tournament circuit, winning the EPT Vilamoura main event for nearly $600,000. He continued to travel the circuit for the next several years with numerous close calls, including final tables at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, the WPT Merit Classic, and the L.A. Poker Classic, twice!
In 2018 he found the winner's circle once again, taking down the Aussie Millions main event for $1.15 million. He returned to Australia a year later and won another combined $1.2 million after finishing second in the AUD$25,000 high roller and then winning the AUD$50,000 high roller the next day. After winning two online _WSOP Circuit_ titles this year, Lewis returned to live poker and chopped the _Wynn Poker Classic_ in July for $1.235 million. The Southampton, England native now has nearly $8 million in career tournament earnings.
Highlights from this interview include pub poker, learning what not to do from dad, self-deal rooms, becoming an EPT champion at 20 years old, taking shots in Australia, 'volume coming out of your nose,' staking and bankroll management adventures, negotiating deals for others, going viral for quads over quads, getting berated by Tony G, retooling his game in Colombia, losing a WPT title to a criminal, a seven-figure return to live poker, bagging grocery and delivering newspapers, a 36-hour session in London, and finding popularity with the misfits.
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.
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!!