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World Series Of Poker -- Josh Arieh Explains Tweet About Charging 2.2:1 Markup For $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha: 'People Are F--cking Stupid'

Poker Player Gives His Opinion On The Use Of Markup In Poker Community


Josh Arieh, winner of two World Series of Poker bracelets and 2004 main event third-place finisher, apparently was just misread horribly by the poker community. On Twitter on Saturday, the poker player said that he was charging an absurd 2.2:1 on some of his action for the upcoming $10,000 pot-limit Omaha. After a Daniel Negreanu Retweet to his more than 250,000 followers, the comment blew up and was the center of much conversation, as well as insults.

Card Player caught up with Arieh on one of his breaks in play during Tuesday’s $2,500 no-limit hold’em, the 56th event of the summer, to discuss the Tweet, the business of markup in general, as well as what he has been up to lately in his “semi-retired” poker life.

Brian Pempus: Can you explain that Tweet you had about charging 2.2:1? Was it a joke?

Josh Arieh: Yeah, people are fucking stupid. I don’t sell; I was having fun, and people run with it. I’m just going to throw more fuel on the fire. I’m speechless about people’s ignorance about it.

BP: Were you just making some sort of critique on the use of markup in poker?

JA: No, I was just having fun, and then everybody starts talking about it…I don’t know.

BP: Well, I think maybe part of the reason why your comment blew up was that some people do think the markup rates people are charging these days are getting too high.

JA: Well, there are people who are worth it. I can’t think…what I would charge if I sold pieces of myself in the $10,000 Omaha. It’s my best event. It’s the one event I look forward to all year. I might be negative EV or whatever the hell that is; I have no idea how to calculate it; but it might be a losing proposition for someone to buy me at 1.5, but I really wouldn’t sell at 1.5…at the beginning of the Series I bought some pieces of players and I probably won’t do it again because I am not getting the sweat that I thought I was going to get, and I paid markup. I don’t mind the markup that I paid, but, I mean, there are good players out there; but now there are just so many good players, where someone is going to be charging 1.2 when there’s a really good chance the guy is a losing player. But it’s the reason there are 800 players in the $5,000 tournament; it’s the reason there are 2,000 players in a $2,500 tournament. It’s because people sell. I like it; I like to play as high as I can. I know…I probably wasn’t going to make money in the $50,000 but I played it because I wanted to gamble. Markup…I mean…it’s good because the more money it gets in action the better. So, I have nothing against people charging markup, but if someone is going to pay it fucking charge 1.8. Get what you can get!

BP: I saw before that you consider yourself “semi-retired.” Can you explain what that means?

JA: I just…I mean…like last year during the World Series I had an interview or something and said I am retired…I don’t know if…I mean, a gambler never retires. I gamble every fucking day of the week. But I am not going to travel the [poker tournament circuit] because I don’t think I can make money doing so. These guys…poker has just evolved to a spot where you have to play really, really good to make money, and I don’t. I can’t make money playing the World Poker Tour, especially with traveling and all those expenses. I think I will always do the World Series, though. This year I have played 15 tournaments, and I had only planned on playing like five. I get here, and I have fun and enjoy it. You start running deep and you get that feeling you just don’t get in a cash game. In order to get the feeling that equals going deep you have to play out of your comfort zone – that’s what makes a rush…and I have felt that a couple of times this summer. I just got the bug and want to keep going.

BP: Do you grind cash games back home [in Georgia]?

JA: A little bit, but not too much. I play like three days a month. I golf and gamble on that a lot. I goof off betting some sports. Life has been good to me. I was really fortunate with the timing of when I came along [in the poker world]. I made a lot of money. If I were to come along now, I’d just be another face in the crowd…and not that I am better than anyone else, I just have luckily made a lot of money in poker, and I couldn’t do that if I was coming up as a poker pro now.

BP: Do you think it’s hard for some players to check their egos at the door?

JA: Well, that’s important in all aspects of life — to be able to assess how good you are at whatever, and make the best of it. You take a very good person at whatever he does, and if he thinks he is the greatest and makes bad decisions due to him thinking he is the greatest, he’s not going to make as much money. Whereas if you take an average guy, and he sticks around people who are worse, he will end up making a lot of money by making good decisions.

BP: Did you tuck away some of the money you won during the height of the poker boom?

JA: Yeah, I have done really well. I have made more money along the way. I live a very simple life; I don’t have nice stuff. I just have made some pretty good decisions to where I don’t have to play poker every day anymore.