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!

In case you haven’t noticed after 26 episodes, Heart of Poker is about a lot more than just poker. We’ve had incredible guests from the top of the game share insights into their lives off the felt, including some of their most personal and intimate moments and struggles they’ve overcome.

Enter Xuan Liu. Over a star studded career in poker Xuan has won over $3,000,000, but these days she’s just as interested in seeing how poker experience can be applied in other aspects of life.

She and Kara discuss the essential skills of being a successful poker player - whether it’s aggressiveness, risk-taking, or reacting to a loss - and how they can contribute to success in tons of other parts of life. On that note, they discuss PokerPower, the platform for which Xuan Liu acts as an advisor that runs workshops and classes to empower and inspire women using a poker framework.

Xuan grew up in China during the one-child policy, and she shares a fascinating window into her childhood, as well as some tougher times during her parents divorce - which was a complicated thing to navigate in the country at the time. Kara and Xuan have a natural rapport, and both wind up talking honestly about some of the tougher times they’ve each experienced since the pandemic landed. But there’s also plenty of positivity in this episode too, including reminiscing about sailing around the Greek islands sipping Ouzo, and a hopeful look ahead to the future.

Don’t forget to check out previous Heart of Poker episodes with guests like ​​Fedor Holz, Phil Galfond, Mori Eskandani, Ebony Kenney, Dominik Nitsche, Vanessa Selbst, Maria Ho, and more.

Patrick Leonard is an online superstar. He has collected ​​$13 million in online tournament cashes so far, regularly just crushing online MTT fields. He’s no slouch on the felt either, with more than $2.5 million in live tournament cashes. That’s a huge amount of money in anyone’s book - even if money is ultimately irrelevant and we’re all just living in a simulation.

That’s just one of the pretty out there theories that Patrick and Kara get into on this week’s episode of Heart of Poker. Patrick is clearly very much on board with thinking outside the box, which makes him a perfect candidate to answer Kara’s special psychological questions.

Patrick and Kara are on the same wavelength from the start, bonding over their shared FOMO of not being able to make it to the WSOP this year. They both have lots of interesting thoughts on the psychology behind being a successful poker player, including whether the game attracts marginalized personalities or creates them.

They trade lots of stories, from their respective lockdown experiences to some extremely intense and dangerous moments they’ve both had in the back of cabs. In fact, it turns out Kara and Patrick have a lot in common, which is funny since as far as Kara knows they’ve never met before in person. That turns out not to be strictly true however, as Kara soon discovers in this episode...

Don’t forget to also check out the Heart of Poker back catalogue, including episodes with Fedor Holz, Phil Galfond, Mori Eskandani, Jason Koon, Dominik Nitsche, Vanessa Selbst, Maria Ho, and more.

Quite simply, Fedor Holz is one of the best poker players of all time and one of the most emblematic players of poker’s modern era. At just 28 years old, Fedor has more than $32,000,000 in live cashes alone. What makes all of this even more remarkable, is that poker is just one string to Fedor’s bow. As Kara says in this episode, he’s a true modern day Renaissance man and he’s a dream guest on Heart of Poker.

Kara’s set of psychologist-designed questions were originally created to see if two complete strangers could fall in love. She’s adapted them a little, but they’re basically tailor-made for someone like Fedor, who is so naturally inquisitive, philosophical and self conscious in the best kind of way.

As you might expect, poker is just one small part of this episode. Fedor and Kara discuss NFTs and deconstructing the concept of art, the psychology behind helping other people, and the different ways we build communities. Fedor has clearly thought a lot about family and personal relationships, and his own have evolved significantly over time. He shares some of the things he’s discovered that work for him with Kara.

We do also find time for at least one great poker story, although maybe not one that Fedor wants to remember. It was his most embarrassing moment at a poker table, and it came at a high roller event in Monte Carlo.

Fedor Holz is a very familiar name to poker fans, but this is a side to him you certainly don’t see at the poker table. Don’t forget to check out our previous episodes, including with Ebony Kenney, Phil Galfond, Mori Eskandani, Jason Koon, Dominik Nitsche, Vanessa Selbst, Maria Ho, and more.

Ebony Kenney is so much more than just a poker pro. She’s a model and a content creator. She’s an entrepreneur, a women's advocate and a life coach. And this week she’s joining Kara on Heart of Poker.

Heart of Poker is all about stripping back the layers and getting to, well, the heart of each guest - and Ebony couldn’t be more open to the experience. Kara uses a specially modified set of questions that were originally designed by psychologists to see if they could get two complete strangers to fall in love. Ebony is naturally attuned to this kind of introspection, which basically makes her the perfect guest.

Ebony has had a pretty incredible life. She had her two kids relatively young and shares how the three of them have all grown together, her biggest teachers and supporters. We find out how she stumbled into poker because she was suspicious about what her boyfriend at the time was up to staying out so late, and how she found herself working as a makeup artist, heavily pregnant, on a porn site at just 19.

Since being a confidence coach is such a big part of Ebony’s life, you might think confidence and self love came easily and naturally to her - but you would be wrong. She opens up about her journey, the challenges she has overcome in her life, and dealing with the glare of other people’s judgement from a young age. Both Ebony and Kara have thought a lot about the role of women in modern life, and they discuss their own lived experiences and how they have observed and even participated in the commodification of women over the years, in different forms.

This is a very special episode of Heart of Poker, with a special person. There are even a few tears along the way.

You can also check out all the earlier episodes of Heart of Poker too, with guests including Ali Nejad, Phil Galfond, Mori Eskandani, Jason Koon, Dominik Nitsche, Vanessa Selbst, Maria Ho, and more.

This week’s guest on Heart of Poker is one of the biggest and warmest personalities in the extended world of poker. Kristy Arnett is a poker player and former poker journalist, but she is still very much in the world of media and content creation.

As she mentions in the episode, Heart of Poker is right up Kristy’s street. Over her career presenting poker coverage for PokerNews and others, she developed a well deserved reputation for creating original and interesting content, the kind of stuff that goes one step beyond the usual sanitized media perspective of poker players that we’re all used to - which reads a little like a mission statement for Heart of Poker.

Like many people, Kristy’s life was turned upside down by the pandemic. With no live poker, no immediate way to make money and (not long later) a baby on the way, Kristy takes us through how she and her husband (poker pro Andrew Moreno) hustled to adapt and keep things going during the chaos of COVID.

One of Kristy’s most impressive attributes is her honesty and directness. Kara’s questions are designed especially to tease out personal and intimate parts of people’s lives, and Kristy is ready to confront them unflinchingly. She talks about how she and her husband wrestled back their marriage from the brink of divorce, her struggles to get pregnant, her first big win in Vegas and more.

Don’t forget to also check out all the earlier episodes of Heart of Poker too, including editions with Ali Nejad, Phil Galfond, Mori Eskandani, Jason Koon, Dominik Nitsche, Vanessa Selbst, Maria Ho, and more.

It’s an exciting time to be Vanessa Kade. Fresh off by far her biggest win after taking down $1.5 million dollars at the Sunday Million, Vanessa sits down with Kara to discuss how she got to this point in her poker career.

It’s been quite a journey - from moving to New Zealand alone at 16, to travelling around South East Asia and even a near death experience on an icey Canadian highway. As always on Heart of Poker, Kara uses her special set of psychological questions to get deep with her guest, and Vanessa is happy to get into some big subjects.

Vanessa and Kara discuss how to deal with setbacks and stay positive, and how we can create new family connections in life. She talks us through her previous life as a video game producer, and why the flexibility of being a poker player feels like a better fit for her. And of course, they cover Vanessa’s recent online win at the Sunday Million.

Vanessa is such a naturally interesting and inquisitive person, and it really shines through in this episode. Check out how previous guests have faired with Kara’s questions, including episodes with Ali Nejad, Phil Galfond, Mori Eskandani, Jason Koon, Dominik Nitsche, Vanessa Selbst, Maria Ho, and more

Heart of Poker is a podcast built around guests opening up and letting Kara into their personal lives - but this episode is something else.

Right from the off, Kara and Ali dive into some of the biggest questions of all, from spirituality to dealing with loved ones passing away. For the first time ever in public, Ali talks with grace and clarity about dealing with personal tragedies and grief early in his life - and how in an oblique way those experiences ended up leading him to poker.

Ali is perceptive and sensitive, so much so that little moments of poignancy almost seem to follow him around in life. But he and Kara zoom out from his personal life too. They unpack the disparity in society between public and private images, and how real strength is not necessarily what we advertise about ourselves to other people.

Ali also talks about being an extrovert in school, and getting his big break after finding himself playing poker on a cruise ship with none other than previous Heart of Poker guest Mori Eskandani.

As broadcasters and colleagues, Kara and Ali also talk about their own relationship, how it’s changed off the back of their conversation on Heart of Poker, and Ali even flips the script a little and turns the questions on Kara.

Some guests are more comfortable than others getting deep and philosophical with Kara’s highly personal questions. Ali Nejad is next level. Don’t forget to also check out previous episodes including Phil Galfond, Mori Eskandani, Jason Koon, Dominik Nitsche, Vanessa Selbst, Maria Ho, and more.

With the 888poker WPTDeepstakes events beginning just around the corner on April 15th, Kara is talking to yet another of the most recognizable voices from the World Poker Tour. It feels like Vince Van Patten has already lived a couple of lifetimes’ worth of experiences. He’s been a professional tennis player, a Hollywood actor and screenwriter, and now a beloved poker personality. But this interview is a new one, even for him.

Kara is using her special set of psychological questions to get personal with Vince, as we get a glimpse into what motivates one of the most interesting and multi-talented guests we’ve ever had on Heart of Poker. We take a trip through Vince’s somewhat unconventional but happy childhood, through his crazy drive to succeed in the tennis world and how he’s learned a more balanced life is the key to happiness in later years.

Kara and Vince talk getting caught in earthquakes in California, chasing storms in New England and how the key to friendship is not sugarcoating the important things. Vince also explains why, despite everything he’s done, he still considers commentating with WPT to be the greatest job ever.

Vince is clearly in a great place in his life, he’s happy to share and not afraid to get a little cosmic. Basically, a perfect Heart of Poker guest. Check out previous episodes starting with Vince’s WPT colleague Tony Dunst, as well as Phil Galfond, Mori Eskandani, Jason Koon, Dominik Nitsche, Vanessa Selbst, Maria Ho, and more.

In honor of the first ever WPTDeepstacks and 888poker online collaboration (April 18-26th on 888poker), Kara speaks to professional poker player and WPT commentator Tony Dunst. If you’ve ever tuned into a WPT broadcast, Tony’s voice is going to be instantly familiar. Only this time, instead of analyzing bet sizing and ranges, he’s answering Kara’s special menu of “36 Questions to Fall in Love”.

Tony has had an amazing life so far. From growing up in the “safe and pleasant bubble” of Madison, Wisconsin, he ended up diving straight into the exciting worlds of gambling, poker and cryptocurrencies. After living in several countries around the globe, he’s now a big part of the World Poker Tour broadcast – a show he used to watch every week on TV - as one half of the iconic commentary team, and he’s at a very happy place in his life.

But that’s not to say he doesn’t touch on more serious subjects on Heart of Poker. Tony tells Kara about challenging his own physical limits by attempting to reach single digit body fat - including falling asleep in hospital with the small chance he might not wake up. There’s also his personal experiences with COVID-19, how his thinking on the subject has evolved over time, and what’s around the corner in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Tony is such an engaging talker on all things poker, but this is something else. This is Tony Dunst as you’ve never heard him before.

For more of the biggest names in poker getting personal, check out earlier episodes with Phil Galfond, Mori Eskandani, Jason Koon, Dominik Nitsche, Vanessa Selbst, Maria Ho, Brad Owen, and many more.

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