With a wealth of experience in poker, British funnyman and commentator Nick Wealthall has an insight into the industry that rivals anyone. Currently one of the main voices of 888poker’s live and online events, Nick has had a long and storied past in the industry. In fact, it was nearly 20 years ago now that he and The Heart of Poker host Kara Scott were doing commentary on a tiny, middle of the night cable TV show in London.
The two are old friends and have since worked together on many of the game’s biggest platforms. They discuss the old days of poker, how things have changed in the industry and reminisce about their early days on the road together. They talk about some of their big moments; from being there when the other was struggling, boozy pre-show dinners, to Kara performing the ceremony at Nick's wedding.
Kara and Nick also relate about the nerves that can come during live broadcasts and give some tips for turning that potential anxiety into something productive. They also share some great insights on dealing with some of life’s scariest things(for Nick, that would be hippos) and they deliberate over where a ‘drive to succeed’ comes from.
Don’t forget to check out previous episodes with recent Women in Poker Hall of Fame inductee Vanessa Selbst, Tony Dunst, Ali Nejad, Andrew Neeme, Faraz Jaka, David Willams and Jennifer Harman.
Well known for his incredible work ethic, both as a poker pro and as the founder of his own training site Learn Pro Poker, Ryan Laplante believes that life and poker reflect the hard work we put into them.
Laplante took down his first bracelet in a 2016 PLO event as one of the highlights of a live poker career that started the literal moment he turned 21. When Black Friday shut down online poker, Ryan waited an agonizing 4 weeks to be legally allowed to play live and he was standing at the doors of a casino ready to play the moment the clock struck midnight. That moment was the start of a live career which has netted him nearly $3 million in cashes, since.
A romantic at heart, Ryan married his partner of 12 years just a few months ago in a Star Trek themed wedding. He talks about how Black Friday hitting just after they started dating impacted their relationship and how important his now-husband's support has been throughout the past 12 years.
Kara and Ryan go on to talk about how a difficult early childhood, that was marked by poverty, was part of the motivation that drove him. He also shares how a recently revealed family secret held for decades has resulted in his family circle becoming even larger and more full of love than he could have imagined.
Don’t forget to check out previous episodes with Jaman Burton, Katie Lindsay, Adam Pliska, Brandon Shack-Harris, Xuan Liu and Patrick Leonard and more.
If you follow poker vlogs, then you have no doubt come across The Drawing Dead vlog by Jaman Burton.
Burton, who is one the most influential poker vloggers in the space, brings something completely unique to the table in the form of a poker vlog with graphic novel style illustrations woven in.
And while it may be nice to gain some recognition within the poker community, Burton shares with Kara that it’s not all roses. Between the pressures of being an “influencer”, having opponents who may know far more about your game than you’d like or the pressure to always be “on”, it can be a lot to deal with. Still, he recognizes that these are small problems to have in the big picture.
Kara and Jaman go on to discuss the importance family has played in his life. From the gratitude he has for an incredible upbringing to the pride and sense of accomplishment he gets from raising his daughter, family has always been a key component of his life.
Other topics Kara and Jaman cover include quitting smoking, the possibility that we’re living in a simulation and how he used to use his charm and persuasiveness for evil as a young man.
Don’t forget to check out previous episodes with Greg Merson, Tiffany Michelle, Lon McEachern, Nadya Magnus, Phil Galfond, Jason Koon, Katie Lindsay, Benny Glaser, Maria Ho, Fedor Holz and many more of poker’s most fascinating personalities.
One of the more notable names from the ESPN era of the World Series Of Poker is undoubtably Greg Merson.
Merson, who took home $8,531,853 for winning the Main Event in 2012, instantly became a household name within the poker community. Having gotten sober a year prior, his story and accomplishment became an inspiration to many who battled addiction.
But where do you go after winning the Main Event? For Merson, his obsession with becoming the best version of himself motivated him to seek out ways to progress and increase his edge in the game. He shares how hypnotherapy and meditation have been powerful tools in his growth on and off the felt.
Interestingly, even more than a decade after winning the Main Event, he shares how he still gets a sense of euphoria from playing poker and how his focus has now shifted to competing with himself.
However, for all the excitement and achievements he’s earned in his poker career, Merson shares how becoming a father, not once but twice, is the greatest accomplishment of his life.
Other topics Kara and Greg touch are playing poker during the pandemic, his relationship with his parents and how he had the most fun at the WSOP this year since winning the Main Event.
Don’t forget to check out previous episodes with Tiffany Michelle, Lon McEachern, Nadya Magnus, Phil Galfond, Jason Koon, Katie Lindsay, Benny Glaser, Maria Ho, Fedor Holz and many more of poker’s most fascinating personalities.
On this episode of The Heart of Poker, Kara goes deep with poker player, social media maven and tv personality Tiffany Michelle.
Michelle, who many would recognize on and off the felt, first made a splash in the poker world at the 2008 World Series of Poker, when she finished 17th out of 6844 players, making her the last woman standing.
In fact, it was that huge accomplishment that Michelle credits for opening the doors to many of the opportunities she’s had in her life since. It wasn’t all positivity though, as that attention came with its share of negativity and even a made-for-tv rivalry with Kara (who was in contention for last woman standing that same year).
Poker accomplishments aside, Michelle credits a lot of her success to a supportive upbringing and the strong foundation it created for her to move forward confidently in life.
Gratitude is a common theme, as the traumatic moments she(and those close to her) have gone through have helped her put into perspective the seemingly trivial things we sometimes get hung up on. She opens up about her twin brother’s near-death experience and how that’s started a dialogue around mortality, something she is still trying to get comfortable with.
Other topics that Kara and Tiffany go on to discuss include her religious upbringing, learning to play poker with her grandfather and an appreciation for authenticity in her friendships.
Don’t forget to check out previous episodes with Lon McEachern, Nadya Magnus, John Van Fleet, Jason Koon, Ebony Kenney, Benny Glaser, Katie Lindsay and many more of poker’s most fascinating personalities.
On this episode of the Heart of Poker, Kara is joined by prolific businesswoman and poker powerhouse, Katie Lindsay.
Lindsay, who has racked up nearly 2.5 million dollars in live and online cashes combined, has been a been a mainstay in the poker community for many years dating back to pre-Black Friday.
After getting hooked on poker by the fascinating story of Chris Moneymaker, she got a foot in the door of the industry by writing for a poker magazine and eventually started an agency where she represented up to 30 poker pros. However, despite her knack for putting people in the spotlight, she prefers to keep a private life and has zero desire to be famous herself.
And while she may be a laser-focused entrepreneur and an accomplished poker pro, she also likes to remind herself how fortunate she is to play poker for a living and doesn’t mind having a drink and some fun while sitting at the table. She shares how having this attitude helps her relax and enjoy her time at the table, no matter what the results.
Kara and Katie go on to touch on the double standards women in poker experience, why happiness is a choice and how Katie makes new friends everywhere she goes.
Don’t forget to check out previous episodes with Lon McEachern, Nadya Magnus, Jon Van Fleet, Jason Koon, Ebony Kenney, Benny Glaser, Maria Ho and many more of poker’s most fascinating personalities.
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.
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.
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.
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.