Phil Laak Revisits His Arrival To The Pro Poker Scene

High-Stakes Poker brought about the popularity of the Unibomber.

We unabashedly love Phil Laak at F5poker and we know you do too. In this latest article from UK poker mag, Poker Player, Laak sits down to talk specifically about his time in front of the camera on the much beloved show High Stakes Poker. From his status as a Wall Street wannabe to his rise in the ranks of popular televised pros Laak recalls what made the show such a beautiful battleground for him.

If you are a fan poker’s boy-king, this revealing interview takes you back into some of the Unibomber’s best moments.

Q: My impression is that when you first sat down to play, you were definitely considered a pro but not a seriously accomplished one. Then, by the show’s final season, everybody viewed you as a guy who knew what he was doing.

Laak: I remember a stray comment. Daniel Negreanu was playing on the show when a weird hand unfolded in which I did something right that was counterintuitive. Daniel saw it and he said, ‘Wow, you really are a poker player.’ He had been thinking what other people at the table might have thought: Here’s goofball Phil who made money on Wall Street and is now trying to play poker but he can’t be as good as me. Some of the professionals may have believed they were better than me and maybe they were, but it was by inches instead of miles. I was able to exploit what they thought I didn’t know.

Read: Phil Laak on Chan, Viffer and why the televised cash game was so juicy

Plus Laak breaks down an amazing laydown he makes against Johnny Chan during the Norm McDonald era HSP.

Q: Do you wish you had done something differently on that hand?

Laak: What I should have done, before Chan mucked his cards, was make the greatest statement of all time: ‘Chan, don’t say anything about your cards. I’ll bet anybody my $30,000 to your $20,000 that he had A-J or better.’ Somebody would have made that bet and it would have been the sickest recoup of 20 dimes. Not only would I have shown that I made a nit fold, but I would have shown that I totally felt it. It was the sickest missed opportunity ever.

Check out this nice piece on one of the game’s most engaging superstars.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call the Virginia Council on Problem Gambling (VACPG) helpline at 1-888-532-3500
published 10 years, 2 months ago • by permalink

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