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Poker Stories Podcast: Jared Jaffee

by Card Player News Team |  Published: Dec 05, 2018

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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: 37
Hometown: Staten Island, New York
Live Tournament Earnings: $4.3 Million

Jared Jaffee has been grinding the tournament circuit for the better part of the last decade. The Staten Island, New York-native initially set out to be a lawyer, passing the bar exam and even scoring his first job, before his friends convinced him to quit. His real passion was for poker, and although he’s seen the downside of variance more than a couple times in his career, he’s never been afraid to put up the rest of his bankroll when his back was against the wall.

In addition to a World Series of Poker Circuit ring, Jaffee has a World Poker Tour title. In 2013, he took down the bestbet Fall Poker Scramble for $252,749. He also owns a World Series of Poker bracelet, having earned $405,428 in a 2014 $1,500 mixed-max no-limit hold’em event. In the last few months, the 37-year-old has even successfully dabbled in the $25,000 buy-in high rollers, cashing for $640,000. In total, Jaffee has banked more than $4.1 million in live events over the course of his career.

Highlights from this interview include beeper codes for poker, accidentally winning a cruise, playing the wrong game in a $10,000 tournament, Hellmuth buys all the bottles of Dom, delivering pizzas to avoid law school, making a joke of the Socratic method, the underground New York poker scene, A-Rod at the tables, his very own ‘Worm,’ self-sabotaging his law career, getting a stake from mom and dad, the one time he celebrated a win, sympathizing with the complainers, a nice run in the high rollers, being unafraid to gamble, picking off bluffs from Antonio Esfandiari in six-figure pots, a Hawaii swap courtesy of Jake Bazeley, stopping the angle shooters, the clown show of sunglasses at the table, and the sabermetrics of flirting.

The Highlights

On his first experience in a live $10,000 event…

“Right after I graduated, I was still back home living with my parents, and I played a satellite to the Party Poker Million. The cruise [event], which was a $10k limit hold’em tournament. I didn’t even realize I was playing in a satellite. I think only one person got a seat out of like 800 people, on this cruise. So, I win the seat… The best part was, I started the tournament, and I’m seeing all of these famous poker players and I’m kind of in awe of everything. I sit down and Scotty Nguyen is at my table. On the first or second hand, I throw out a big raise, and they were like, ‘You can’t do that.’ ‘What do you mean?’ I asked. And they’re like, ‘This is a limit tournament.’ I had no idea. I think I somehow managed to bust that limit tournament in two hours.”

On the relief of winning compared to the stress of grinding…

“When I won in Jacksonville, that was an incredible feeling. It was unexpected, and everything came out. But since then, over all these years, [you realize] that everybody wins. Let’s be honest. Everybody who plays poker for all these years is going to win something. Good or bad. If you’re good, you’re going to win. If you’re bad, you’re still going to win. You might not win enough, you’ll still be a loser, but you’re going to have a good couple days when you win something. If you’re a good player, who wins enough to sustain, you still go long periods of time without winning. So when you’re in those spots when you can have a huge score, you have to capitalize. If you don’t, you never know when that next chance is coming. There’s a lot of pressure to close. Those spots where it doesn’t go your way, they’re brutal. That feeling is way worse than any good feeling winning can give you.”

On those who wear sunglasses at the table…

“I am a huge proponent of getting rid of all these ludicrous disguises and all this nonsense that people are wearing. I hate the people wearing these huge scarfs, who cover themselves with hoodies. I never have and never will wear sunglasses at the table. I think wearing all these different things to cover up your neck, face or eyes, is an absolute clown show. I get it if you’re an amateur and you’re doing it… but if you’re a professional poker player, if you do this for a living, this is your job, then be a man and let me see your eyes. Let me see the pulse in your neck. If you can’t control it, then figure out a way to do it. Seriously, man up. I’ve said this to some of my best friends. If you can see my pulse coming out of my neck and you can figure out what it means, then God bless. If you want to look into my eyes and read my soul, good for you. I will sit there and stare right back at you. But if you need to wear sunglasses and a scarf and sit there like you’re in a costume show, I don’t think you’re a professional. I think you’re a clown. I think it’s a bad look.” ♠

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

Catch up on past episodes featuring notables such as Doyle Brunson, Daniel Negreanu, Justin Bonomo, Nick Schulman, Barry Greenstein, Michael Mizrachi, Bryn Kenney, Mike Sexton, Brian Rast, Scott Seiver, Freddy Deeb, Chris Moneymaker, 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.