Kara Scott uses a set of questions designed by psychologists to get to know poker pros like never before.
Legendary Poker Voice Lon McEachern on ”The Meaning of Life” | Ep: 33
In this episode of the Heart of Poker Podcast, Kara Scott speaks with long-time friend and colleague Lon McEachern.
An absolute poker legend, known as the "Voice of Poker", Lon McEachern has been one half of the commentary team that started providing commentary for the World Series of Poker Main Event in 2003. And for many years Kara has been right there with him as part of the WSOP broadcast team. The two developed a strong working relationship and friendship that shows in this far-ranging discussion.
McEachern's voice is burned into the minds of poker players around the world so it's interesting to hear him talking when he's not calling poker action. It's also striking to hear him when he's not playing the straight man to Norman Chad's comic relief.
In this episode, McEachern and Scott delve into existential quandaries like the meaning of life and how Kara big-timed Lon the first time they met at the WSOP back in 2008. You know, regular friend stuff.
Listen to the newest episode for another fascinating look at the people behind the world's most popular poker faces, and check back in our catalogue for episodes with Fedor Holz, Nadya Magnus, Phil Galfond, Jason Koon, Ebony Kenney, Benny Glaser, Maria Ho and many more of poker’s most fascinating personalities.
Jon Van Fleet on Streaming Success, Mental Health & His Purpose in Life | Ep: 32
On this episode of The Heart of Poker, Kara sits down with a true online poker OG, Jon “apestyles” Van Fleet.
Van Fleet, who regularly crushed the biggest online MTT’s in the mid 2000’s, continues to grind to this day and currently sits at #3 for all-time online poker winnings with over $20,300,000 in online cashes.
But his journey to this accomplishment hasn’t been without its share of challenges along the way. Now nearly 9 years sober, Van Fleet recalls multiple occasions where he punted his entire bankroll while playing in an intoxicated state.
However, as challenging situations often do, those moments (and the subsequent healing journey that followed) provided Van Fleet with tremendous insights into himself and his purpose in life: to touch lives positively and to give love.
Jon shares one particularly impactful experience of his healing journey when during day 3 of a 10-day silent retreat he was completely overwhelmed by a feeling of “being on fire with loneliness”. Working through this moment with the retreat leader, he was able to recognize that moment as a release of all the negative emotions he had pushed down over the years.
Kara and Jon go on to discuss a variety of topics including setting boundaries, the fear of rejection and how streaming (and the loss of anonymity that comes with it), has affected Jon's experience at live tournaments.
Don’t forget to check out previous episodes with Adam Pliska, Nadya Magnus, Brandon Shack-Harris, Jason Koon, Ebony Kenney, Benny Glaser, Maria Ho and many more of poker’s most fascinating personalities.
Adam Pliska on Gratitude, Opportunities of the Modern World and Singing to his Dogs | Ep: 31
Outside of big-name players, few people have had such an impact on the growth of poker globally as World Poker Tour President & CEO Adam Pliska.
Pliska, who has now been part of the iconic WPT brand since 2003, is credited as being the driving factor behind the company's expansion into numerous foreign markets around the world and exposing new players to the game through their big-budget, final table productions.
However, for all the accolades, you’d be hard pressed to find a humbler person in the industry. Pliska credits the humility of his parents, and their gratitude for life's simplest things, to his modest outlook.
It’s that very gratitude-first mentality that has helped Pliska get through some of the more challenging times in his life, like when his mother lost nearly all her memory and the passing of a young poker player who had sought out his guidance.
Kara and Adam also discuss his non-linear, thematic approach to life and the idea that 20 decisions could shape the entire course of your life. Pliska acknowledges his own tendency towards being too cerebral at times, which can often lead to spiral thinking.
The interview is not all serious though. We learn about Adam’s musical side and find out that he co-wrote the WPT theme song and sings to his dogs every morning while feeding them.
Don’t forget to check out previous episodes with Nadya Magnus, Phil Galfond, Jason Koon, Ebony Kenney, Benny Glaser, Maria Ho, Fedor Holz and many more of poker’s most fascinating personalities.
Benny Glaser on Pursuing Music, Being “Poker Famous” and Living a Fulfilled Life | Ep: 30
In a time where No-Limit Holdem still dominates the poker landscape, it’s rare to come across a young pro so proficient in mixed games as Benny Glaser.
This is perhaps best demonstrated by Glaser’s most recent WSOP results, where he cashed in 5 events (including winning his 4th bracelet in the $10k Razz Championship and placing 2nd in the $25k H.O.R.S.E. event) for a total of $784,243.
But don’t let these results fool you into thinking Benny is a one-dimensional poker grinder. As it turns out, he hasn’t played online for more than 5 months in order to make room for other interests in his life. Most notably, he’s looking to deepen his longtime relationship with music by learning to produce, joining a band and teaching guitar lessons.
Kara and Benny go on to talk about his recent move to Vancouver, his martial arts background and what it means for him to have a positive impact on the world, including the fulfillment he has gotten from teaching both poker and music. They also touch on what it means to be “poker famous” and protecting one's personal life. As a special treat, Benny frequently turns the questions around on Kara and we get to glean a little insight into her world as their conversation unfolds.
Don’t forget to check out previous episodes with Nadya Magnus, Phil Galfond, Jason Koon, Ebony Kenney, Dominik Nitsche, Maria Ho, Fedor Holz and many more of poker’s most fascinating personalities.
Nadya Magnus Talks Philanthropy, GPI POY and Staying True to Herself | Ep: 29
Fresh off the heels of her 2021 GPI Player of the Year award, Nadya Magnus gives Kara a glimpse into the sacrifice and dedication it took for her to achieve this prestigious title.
Magnus, whose first Hendon Mob cash dates back to 2008, has been steadily grinding the tournament circuit for well over a decade en route to the top of the GPI index. Her consistency paid off last year with her taking home $426,161 of her $1,287,596 total career earnings.
But there’s more to the story. Magnus was in position to earn the GPI title in 2020, when on December 3rd, it was announced the 2020 title would be canceled due to the pandemic’s effect on travel and live events. She goes on to detail the emotional and physical toll it took to replicate her results two years in a row, especially while falling victim to the bad side of variance in the final two months of the year.
Kara and Nadya then dive deeper and discuss her unwillingness to compromise her beliefs, her upbringing in the Soviet Union and what it means to see more women at the poker table. This includes her recent philanthropic efforts where she gifted three $5,000 buy-ins to women poker players at the Wynn Winter Classic.
Don’t forget to check out our previous episodes with Ebony Kenney, Phil Galfond, Mori Eskandani, Jason Koon, Dominik Nitsche, Vanessa Selbst, Maria Ho and many more of poker's most fascinating personalities.
Brandon Shack-Harris Talks Music, Muay Thai and the Meaning of Life (NBD) | Ep: 28
In this month’s episode, Kara asks poker pro Brandon Shack-Harris why it’s so important to bring the fun, the silly and the unexpected to the poker table.
Shack-Harris is a two-time WSOP bracelet winner with $3.5 million lifetime tournament earnings. Top-level poker skill notwithstanding, he’s probably better known for his personality and antics at the poker table.
Shack-Harris also made news when he voluntarily released his ROI numbers for every World Series of Poker he ever played.
All told, Shack-Harris competed in 230 events with total buy-ins of $1,227,830. He made 14 final tables, won two bracelets and took home $3,485,335 in prizes. That’s a net profit of $2,257,505 for an ROI of 184%. That is $188,125 per series on average, or $9,815 per event.
That move was just one example of Shack-Harris’s honest and engaging approach to being a poker pro. It’s a big part of his personality and it shines through in a big way in this episode of Heart of Poker.
Kara and Brandon have known each other for a while and as usual, the conversation gets into it right away.
Highlights include the intersection between music, muay thai and poker, and of course, the meaning of life, because it wouldn’t be an episode of the Heart of Poker Podcast without a serious existential deep-dive.
Make sure to check back on our channel for tons of in-depth interviews with poker’s most fascinating characters!
Love this podcast!
Kara does an excellent job at trying to dig deeper into the lives and minds of our fellow human beings. Most, if not all her guests are connected to poker, but don’t let that stop you from listening, because this podcast is for everyone. Being a poker fan is just a plus. Hearing the stories of peoples lives can be utterly fascinating and yet calming all at the same time. Please take the time and give this podcast a listen. You will not regret it!