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Poker Stories Podcast With Seth Davies

by Card Player News Team |  Published: Nov 18, 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.

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 Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app.

Age: 31
From: Bend, Oregon
Live Tournament Earnings: $8.8 Million

Top Live Tournament Scores
Date Tournament Place Winnings
Nov. 2019 $250,000 Super High Roller Bowl Bahamas 5th Place $1,020,000
Dec. 2019 $10,000 WPT Five Diamond 3rd Place $877,285
Aug. 2019 €50,000 EPT Barcelona High Roller 2nd Place $800,044
Aug. 2016 $5,000 Hard Rock Poker Open 2nd Place $575,000
Dec. 2019 $25,000 Five Diamond High Roller 1st Place $424,000
March 2020 $50,000 partypoker Millions Sochi 2nd Place $403,000
Sept. 2018 $50,000 Poker Masters 3rd Place $352,500
Dec. 2018 $25,000 Five Diamond High Roller 1st Place $341,920
Sept. 2017 $100,000 Poker Masters 4th Place $324,000
March 2020 $50,000 Short Deck partypoker Millions Sochi 4th Place $267,520

Seth Davies is a 31-year-old high-stakes pro who originally found poker when he was just in high school. The Bend, Oregon-native was a standout baseball player, and was recruited to play at the College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas. Nagging injuries and surgery kept him off the field, but it also allowed him to focus more on his development as a poker player.

Davies spent a handful of years grinding out a living online, and even moved to Mexico to continue playing after Black Friday. In 2016, however, he started to focus more on live tournaments after putting together a series of big cashes. Davies won the WPT Spring Classic, and finished second in the Hard Rock Poker Open main event later that summer. He took third at the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic for $877,285, second at the EPT Barcelona high roller for $800,044, and he also made the final table of the Super High Roller Bowl Bahamas for a $1,020,000 score. He now has $8.8 million in career live tournament earnings.

Highlights from this interview include the death of poker’s middle class, freeroll origin stories, two grand slams in the same inning, a career cut short by injury, college in Vegas, treading water in Mexico, a nudge into the high rollers by Jason Koon, the Oregon money list, the ‘work’ of poker, a massive EV loss to Erik Seidel, reluctant sports bets, spending half his bankroll on a car, the unbeatable Ike Haxton, achieving maximum focus, and fainting on a roller coaster.

The Transcript Highlights

The New Online Poker Boom And Death Of Poker’s Middle Class

Julio Rodriguez: Are you riding out the lockdown with some online poker?

Seth Davies: Yes, as far as online poker goes, this is as good as it’s ever been. Every single day there are high-stakes games to play, so it’s been pretty awesome.

JR: You are 31, so I guess you got to experience the tail end of the original Moneymaker boom.

SD: I was definitely around, in what I guess you could call the golden days of online poker, but the whole complexion of it was so different back then. The stakes were much, much smaller. You could play these enormous [field] $200 or $500 buy-in tournaments every day and make a good living. You could really work your way up from playing $1 tournaments to [that level]. But now as everyone has grown older, the money has funneled up and it’s more higher-stakes focused. But as far as high-stakes games go online, it’s booming as good as ever.

JR: Do you mean that there’s no middle class in poker anymore? There’s just too big of a jump between micro-stakes and the stakes needed to make a living wage?

SD: I would say that class has definitely shrunk a ton. It’s too bad, because that was the awesome thing about poker. You could start with virtually no money, even freerolls online you could play and potentially spin up into a full-time job. That’s just not really going to happen without large-scale online poker in the U.S., just because poker is a very American game and that’s where a lot of the recreational players come from. It’s just too bad that’s how it’s played out with legislation.

I was in that same mold, never had more than $50 online, just playing $1 or $2 tournaments for fun. I was 18, and my older brother was 21 or 22 and he was actually starting to make some money. That’s what motivated me to get into it. I started really small, and it obviously took a long time to get some traction.

On Going Broke In Mexico After Black Friday

JR: You ended up settling in Mexico and lived there for four years. You admitted that you didn’t really get much better at poker during that time, and just spent your days going through the motions and partying.

SD: Yes, the first year especially was pretty reckless. I mean, it was an awesome time and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You talked about being a freshman in college, and it was a very similar feeling to that, except I was on a beach. It was a really fun time.

JR: You went broke during that time. Was that particularly stressful or did you have enough connections in the poker world that you knew you would be alright?

SD: No, that was stressful for sure. It was a situation where I had a lot of makeup, I was backed at the time and not playing well because I wasn’t taking it seriously. I had to have a big moment later in my career that snapped me out of that and put me down the right path. Yeah, it was a tough period for sure.

JR: What was your favorite thing about Mexico?

SD: There was a good group down there. I mean, at one point we had to have over 100 poker-playing ex-pats. There was a lot of camaraderie and the social life was fun. You’d see people around all the time.

On His Most Painful Moments At The Poker Table

JR: What is your most painful close call? You have some big wins here, but there’s obviously a lot of seconds and thirds as well. Were any of them particularly painful?

SD: Yeah that’s an easy one. It wasn’t a second or a third. I didn’t even run particularly bad either, but directly bubbling the first Super High Roller Bowl that I played was tough. I didn’t make a scene or anything, but that was kind of the only time I had an emotional reaction to poker. I was really crushed when I busted.

JR: That was the $300,000 buy-in? So, a min-cash would have been $500,000?

SD: $600,000.

JR: Well that’s a nearly million-dollar swing. What about the biggest pot you ever won or lost?

SD: It’s going to have to be in the tournament context. At the Super High Roller Bowl Bahamas last October, we were at the final table with $5 million to first place. We were six-handed, maybe seven-handed, and I played a pot against Erik Seidel where I flopped a set and he flopped a straight. I didn’t improve, and I was just really short afterwards. It was an enormous pot.

JR: Well, at least you cashed in that one and didn’t bubble. ♠

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, Antonio Esfandiari, Daniel Negreanu, Jennifer Harman, Justin Bonomo, Dan Smith, Nick Schulman, Barry Greenstein, Michael Mizrachi, Bryn Kenney, Mike Sexton, Maria Ho, and many more.