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Q&A With 2013 World Series of Poker Main Event Runner Up Jay Farber

Farber Talks About His Day Job And Plans For His Money


Jay FarberJay Farber exploded onto the poker tournament scene with his runner-up finish in the 2013 World Series of Poker main event. The Santa Barbara, California native, who normally grinds cash games, picked up the first major tournament cash of his career for $5,174,357.

Despite the windfall, the 29-year-old doesn’t plan on giving up his day job as a VIP host and nightclub promoter anytime soon.

Card Player recently caught up with Farber to discuss his main event run, his new found celebrity status and his plans for the future.

Julio Rodriguez: During the ESPN main event broadcast, it was very apparent that both Shaun Deeb and Dan Bilzerian had a financial interest in where you finished in the main event. How did they end up with pieces of your action?

Jay Farber: I was always going to play in the main event, even if I just bought in myself. It really wasn’t about finding the money to play, I just happened to sell some pieces to my friends for a sweat. Obviously, it turned out to be a very good sweat for them.

JR: You played in the WSOP Europe main event in October and finished in 34th place. Other than that, what kind of preparation did you go through during the layoff between making the final table and playing it out?

JF: I really didn’t do anything to prepare. My friends and I talked a little bit about strategy, but I didn’t change anything about my game during the time off. There were no simulations or anything. I felt that the way I played got me there, so I wasn’t going to mess with it.

JR: You worked as a night club promoter prior to the main event. Are you still doing that or have you moved on since your score?

JF: I’m still doing it. I work independently and I can take people wherever they want to go, so it really works with my schedule. I’ve always been a night owl anyway. My job is basically to just make sure that everyone is having fun. Some groups even want me to join in on the party, so I essentially end up getting paid to have a good time as well. It’s an incredible job, so I wasn’t about to walk away from it just because I was successful in another part of my life.

JR: There were reports from TMZ that you were considering buying an Aston Martin and a Ferrari with your winnings. Is that true?

JF: I bought myself a house, so I’m currently filling it up with some nice stuff, but I still have to pay taxes as well. Only then can I really figure out what kind of toys I’m going to buy. Obviously, I’m going to be smart about my money and make some investments. It’s life-changing money, but it’s not like I can just walk away and retire and never do anything again. I don’t have Dan Bilzerian money.

JR: Ryan Riess took his winnings and bought himself into the $100,000 buy-in Super High Roller at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. Do you have any plans to play in some of these huge tournaments?

JF: I’ve played in some pretty big cash games, but they are more of my speed. I have no intention of getting into those big buy-in high roller events and go head-to-head against wizards like Jason Mercier or Jason Koon. I prefer to stay in my own comfort zone. I’m planning on traveling to a couple tournaments like the L.A. Poker Classic and the Bay 101 Shooting Star, but I [just got] a new puppy, so that might make traveling a little difficult.

JR: Do you see yourself as a poker celebrity?

JR: I guess. At the end of the day, everybody that made that final table got the opportunity to live every players dream. The day you start playing poker is the day you start going after that goal of one day being there with a shot at winning it all. Obviously, I got some recognition for it, but I didn’t think it would make me some sort of famous poker player. I guess it really hit home when I walked into the Bellagio and got some congratulations from Johnny Chan and Doyle Brunson, guys that I grew up respecting. That being said, I don’t think of myself as any better than the next guy, I just happened to run well in one tournament.