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. 

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.

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.

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