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Poker Stories Podcast With Eric Rodawig

by Card Player News Team |  Published: Mar 25, 2020

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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.

To listen, visit www.cardplayer.com/poker-podcasts or download it directly to your device from any number of mobile apps, such as Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play, or Spotify. 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, Chris Moneymaker, Maria Ho, Joe Cada, Freddy Deeb, and many more.

Age: 34
Lives: Omaha, Nebraska
Live Tournament Earnings: $900,000

Top Five Live Tournament Scores

June 2011 $10k WSOP Stud 8/ob Championship 1st Place $442,183
June 2017 $10k WSOP H.O.R.S.E. Championship 2nd Place $236,841
June 2009 $2,500 WSOP Razz 5th Place $38,471
June 2013 $1,500 WSOP PLO 8/ob 7th Place $30,275
June 2013 $5k WSOP Stud 8/ob 10th Place $21,190

Eric Rodawig is considered to be a semi-professional poker player, having regularly maintained a day job, but he has managed to put together the poker résumé of a solid pro despite his limited schedule on the tournament circuit. The 34-year-old Nebraska resident, who recently appeared on PokerGo’s Dolly’s Game broadcast, has five final-table appearances at the World Series of Poker, including a gold bracelet win.

Rodawig’s victory at the summer series came in 2011, when he topped a field of 168 in the $10,000 stud eight-or-better championship, beating Phil Hellmuth heads-up for $442,183. The mixed-game specialist also has final tables in Omaha eight-or-better, pot-limit Omaha eight-or-better, razz, and O.E. A couple summers ago, he narrowly missed out on his second bracelet, finishing runner-up to David Bach in the $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. championship for another $236,841.

Highlights from this interview include ‘slumming it’ at $50-$100, Thought Crimes at The Hoya, a close call with UIGEA villain Bob Goodlatte, earning a partypoker iPod shuffle, the instant validation of winning a WSOP bracelet, beating a well-behaved Phil Hellmuth heads-up, making poker more accessible to fans, obsessing over curling, flying as a polar bear, being a National Geographic geography bee finalist, meeting Alex Trebek, running the teleprompter for a news station, Jim Carrey’s flat top, an affinity for Weird Al, and looking at noses with Crocodile Brandon.

The Transcript Highlights

On Beating Phil Hellmuth For His World Series of Poker Bracelet

Eric Rodawig: Oh, the win was so awesome! Some people say they’d rather win and get $250,000 than get second for $270,000, or whatever, but I don’t know that I could put a dollar value on that. But the first win, is incredible. It is instant validation. I am not a professional poker player…. To do it in a $10k, to do it in my favorite game, and to do it with an incredibly stacked final table. I mean, Ted Forrest was there, John Racener was there coming off of his second place in the main event.

Julio Rodriguez: David Benyamine took fifth, and obviously, the big kahuna himself, Phil Hellmuth.

ER: Yes, saving the best for last. To add to the list of things to brag about for your first bracelet, I beat Phil Hellmuth heads-up!

He hadn’t really gotten into mixed games that much yet.

JR: That’s right, at this point, he did not have a mixed games bracelet, only hold’em bracelets.

ER: I was getting interviewed after the tournament and I said it was super fun to beat Phil heads-up. If it was a no-limit hold’em tournament he would have destroyed me, but this time he was playing my game on my turf. I mean, I was the CardRunners stud eight-or-better coach. Don’t mess with me! I got this! (laughing)

JR: Was there any Hellmuth blow ups or speeches at the table?

ER: No, he was really well behaved.

JR: What did you do with the bracelet?

ER: I like wearing it occasionally. I’ll wear it to wedding or formal occasions. (laughs)

On Being A National Geographic Bee Finalist And Meeting Alex Trebek

JR: In 1999, you were a National Geographic Geography Bee finalist. What is that?

ER: I was. Whatever, maybe I’m a nerd, it’s fine. It was a fun educational thing, like the [Scripps National] Spelling Bee…

JR: [There was a] poker player who won the spelling bee, Pratyush Buddiga.

ER: So in eighth grade, I went to the state geography bee and ended up winning that. [Which led to] I think my second big trip out to D.C. and my geography teacher got to come with. I got to meet Alex Trebek, because he was the host of the geography bee at the time. I was standing next to him and the winner, so I got the back of my head in an issue of National Geographic. So you can add that to my list of credits. (laughing)

JR: Yeah, the winner was David Beihl from South Carolina. A home school kid who won a trip to Australia.

ER: Yeah, you might call the home school kids the geography professionals. I had to go to eight or nine different classes, so I wonder how much geography class time they got at home. (laughing) ♠