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Poker Stories Podcast With Frank Kassela

by Card Player News Team |  Published: Sep 27, 2017


Poker Stories is a new, 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.

Click here to download or subscribe to the Poker Stories podcast on iTunes.

Age: 49
First Live Tournament Cash: 2003
From: Chicago Heights, Illinois
Live Tournament Earnings: $3 Million
Best Score: 3rd Place – 2010 WSOP $25,000 Six-Max ($556,053)

The Highlights

On his expensive poker education courtesy of poker legend and 1984 WSOP main event winner Jack Keller…

“[Jack Keller] basically lived at the Horseshoe (in Tunica) after Jack Binion opened it until he passed away. He would play the $5-$10-$25 pot-limit Omaha every Wednesday and Saturday. So I looked at it kind of like tuition. If I went down there and did well at the $20-$40 game…, I’d go sit down and play in the PLO game and learn from Jack Keller… as I gave him all the money I took out of the $20-$40 game.”

On his first live tournament experience, playing in the 2000 $10,000 WSOP main event…

“I think like 90 percent of the [field] back then would win their way into the tournament through super satellites or single-tables, so I think they thought it was just bizarre that there was some doofus out of nowhere with $10,000 trying to buy-in. I made it through the dinner break, which in retrospect is unbelievable. I had never even played a hand of no-limit hold’em until then.”

On the pros and cons of playing for glory instead of money…

“I’ve been fortunate enough to be successful [in business] to where the money has never mattered. It’s always nice winning money, but its way more about the bracelets. (Does that give you an edge?) I think it goes both ways. I think at certain times it gives me an edge, but other times… I think my bubble play in particular is kind of horrible because the money doesn’t mean anything to me. When you look at my WSOP results, my final table ratio to cashes is kind of crazy. I’m like 30 to 40 percent to make a final table if I cash and that’s kind of nutty. I’m willing to gamble on the bubble to pick up pots, exploit some edges and take risks that other players just won’t take because the bubble is just too important [to them].”

On his time playing the big game at Aria…

“When we were first getting Ivey’s Room going at Aria, those of us who were playing every day had a huge edge, especially when we starting introducing games like badacey and baducey. There were great no-limit hold’em players who would come into the room and we would just shear them like sheep and send them packing. You kind of felt bad for some of them. I’m talking about some very recognizable names that gave it a shot. They put $20,000 to $50,000 in action and we would gladly take it off their hands.”

Click here to download or subscribe to the Poker Stories podcast on iTunes. Catch up on previous episodes and subscribe to have new episodes automatically appear in your podcast app so you can listen on the go.