Poker Coverage: Poker Tournaments Casino News Sports Betting Poker Strategy

Poker Stories Podcast With Mori Eskandani

by Card Player News Team |  Published: May 09, 2018


Poker Stories is a long-form audio podcast 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.

Age: 62
Birthplace: Iran
Live Tournament Earnings: $500,000

Poker Accomplishments

Date - Tournament - Place — Winnings
Aug. 2003 — Legends of Poker Stud & Hold’em — 1st — $68,040
Dec. 2002 — Five Diamond World Poker Classic Stud — 1st — $43,844
Jan. 1992 — Queens Poker Classic Stud — 1st — $40,000
April 1994 — WSOP Pot-Limit Hold’em — 3rd — $37,050
July 2010 — WSOP Main Event — 331st — $36,463

Mori Eskandani spent the better part of three decades grinding out a living on the poker felt, even notching a handful of tournament wins along the way, but it’s his contributions as the President of Poker PROductions that have earned him deserved praise as one of the more influential people in the game today.

A natural story teller with a knack for spotting big poker personalities, Eskandani and his crew are responsible for thousands of hours of original poker programming, including shows such as High Stakes Poker, Poker After Dark, Face The Ace, the Poker SuperStars Invitational Tournament, the National Heads-Up Poker Championship, and coverage from events such as the World Series of Poker, WSOP Europe, and the Super High Roller Bowl.

Highlights from this interview include working for free, grinding in the 80’s, the power of pomegranate, an 80-hour week at the Stardust, naming the game of H.O.R.S.E., showing Henry Orenstein his hole cards, bad TV show ideas, being wrong about mixed games, watching Jamie Gold get coolered on High Stakes Poker, getting out the pickle business, a $600,000 poker table, the Wild, Wild West, and the importance of a Johnny Chan bad beat story.

The Highlights

On Coining the Name of H.O.R.S.E.…

“I actually came up with the name, H.O.R.S.E., at the [Binion’s] Horseshoe [Casino]. We were playing the five games, but they put it up on the board as S, H, O, R…. We were at the Horseshoe, and I looked at it and said, ‘this looks familiar.’ Wait a second, this is H.O.R.S.E.! We did it because some of the players would come from different states, and they liked to play Omaha. So the first one started with hold’em and Omaha. Then somebody came and they wanted to play stud, and razz… and we would play all five. I also did S.H.O.E.”

How Johnny Chan’s bad-beat story inspired High Stakes Poker…

“[Game Show Network] came and watched the pilot [of Beat The Pro]. We tried to do the best we could, but you could see from their facial expressions that it didn’t go well. It just came out too cheesy maybe. But we went to dinner afterwards, and as we [were eating], Johnny Chan walks up. He comes over… he says, ‘I just lost a $700,000 pot. It was Omaha, this was my hand, the guy had a full wrap, it was four-way action, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Whatever, he lost. He tells the story really quickly and leaves. We couldn’t sell the pilot that we worked on for four months, but Johnny’s story about this cash game, sits with these guys because that is amazing. [The Director of Programming] says, ‘You know, your friend came over and told that story, what was he playing?’ I explained to him what cash games were and he says, ‘Do you think something like that could work?”

On his favorite hand from High Stakes Poker…

“My favorite hand was when Sammy Farha had aces, and Jamie Gold has kings. First ten seconds, everyone at that table and every single person watching… knew exactly what those two hands were. First ten seconds. Yet, the hand lasted 16 minutes. Sam is trying to talk him into calling the rest of his chips, before he does anything. Jamie goes, ‘You got aces don’t you?’ In other words, he’s saying, ‘I got kings.’ He didn’t realize when he asked. Jamie is not a real tricky player, but when you ask someone if you got aces, that means you got kings. It was so entertaining. It was a big pot, probably around $300,000 or $400,000.”

You can check out the entirety of the interview in the audio player at the top of the page or download it directly to play on the go from iTunes or your favorite podcast app.

Catch up on past episodes featuring Daniel Negreanu, Nick Schulman, Barry Greenstein, Chris Moorman, Bryn Kenney, Mike Sexton, Brian Rast, Scott Seiver, Greg Raymer, Maria Ho and many more. If you like what you hear, be sure to subscribe to get the latest episodes automatically when they are released.