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Best of Dan Podheiser

Gaming Guru

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Seven random questions to spark some fun into Day 2C

10 July 2014

LAS VEGAS -- Things are starting to get serious at the Main Event.

As play wound down on Day 2C Wednesday, the pressure began to mount. Day 3 is tomorrow, and the entire field of remaining players will join as one unit. The money bubble could hit at any time Thursday.

With a $10 million first-place prize on the line, I thought it would be fun to lighten the mood at the Rio All-Suite Casino & Hotel. I caught up with John Juanda, Haralabos Voulgaris, Rick Raisman (father of Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman), Byron Kaverman, Nick Schulman and Jonathan Aguiar and asked them a series of seven random questions to get a better idea of their personalities outside the game.

Here's what they had to say:

Question 1: How did you get your start in poker?

Juanda: "Just as a hobby, when I was in college."

Voulgaris: "I saw a World Poker Tour tournament on TV that was being played in Costa Rica and I thought that was cool, so I started playing online."

Raisman: "I think I just started playing in high school with some friends, and then I just kept playing. We have a good group of guys right now so it's fun."

Kaverman: "I started playing with friends at a lake house the summer of my senior year (in high school) and just kind of took off from there."

Schulman: "Playing in the back of a pool room when I was 16 in Philadelphia."

Aguiar: "I was playing with a bunch of aged-out junior Canadian hockey players in college. I was in a freshman dorm but they were all 21 and had been gambling in Canada their whole life.

Question 2: What is your favorite meal? If you could only eat that meal for the rest of your life or never eat that meal again, which would you choose?

Juanda: "Sushi -- every day."

Voulgaris: "My favorite meal is grass-fed or grass-finished bison or beef. I'd eat it every single meal -- I pretty much eat it every single meal, anyway."

Raisman: "I guess lobster -- every meal."

Kaverman: "Lasagna -- never eat it again. I need some diversity."

Schulman: "Gotta be a good slice of pizza. Gotta do never have pizza again on that one, though."

Aguiar: "Sushi -- probably never again."

Question 3: Who or what has had the biggest impact on your poker career?

Juanda: "Erik Seidel."

Voulgaris: "Probably playing online, I would say that back in 2005, playing the $25/50 game on UB (Ultimate Bet) and trying to beat the good players and the cheaters. You've gotta really bring your A-game when you're playing against guys who can see your hole cards."

Raisman: "Probably the group of guys I've played with, because they're all real good so I've learned a lot from them."

Kaverman: "I started off playing a lot and talking a lot of hands with David Peters, and we've been good friends for a long time."

Schulman: "John Hennigan (laughs). No, but seriously he is.

Aguiar: "Probably Shaun Deeb for convincing me to move from cash games, where I was winning a lot of money, to tournaments, which have ruined my life."

Question 4: What's a TV show you're embarrassed to admit is on your DVR?

Juanda: "'The Bachelor.'"

Voulgaris: "I don't really watch any TV shows now, but the TV show I'm embarrassed to say I watch when it's on is that terrible 'Vanderpump Rules' show."

Raisman: "I've got a lot of those. I watch 'American Idol,' 'America's Got Talent,' 'X Factor.' I watch all those crazy shows."

Kaverman: "I don't watch a whole lot of TV, mostly just some of the Showtime series."

Schulman: "'Sex in the City.'"

Aguiar: "I don't get embarrassed really easily. I don't know, I guess 'Big Bang Theory.'"

Question 5: What were you like in high school?

Juanda: "I was a good student and an even better athlete. I was a runner."

Voulgaris: "I played every sport pretty much but hockey. So I played badminton, volleyball, basketball, soccer, football. I was kind of a jock."

Raisman: "Just quiet, normal, not that crazy."

Kaverman: "Kind of quiet, I guess. I played a lot of sports and spent a lot of time traveling and playing soccer."

Schulman: "I didn't go to high school. I dropped out when I was a freshman, but I was awkward."

Aguiar: "I was very introverted. I was a band geek."

Question 6: What's the coolest thing you've ever done?

Juanda: "I don't have to work. I can travel to wherever I want. I think that's pretty cool."

Voulgaris: "Probably safari in Africa, and doing that for a week."

Raisman: "Watching my daughter win three medals at the Olympics."

Kaverman: "A couple weeks ago, I was in Brazil for the World Cup, and that was an awesome experience. I saw Spain-Chile with a few of my friends and then Belgium-Russia as well. Rio was amazing and just experiencing that was pretty cool."

Schulman: "Poker related, probably winning the same World Series tournament twice."

Aguiar: "(Long pause.) God, is my life that boring?

Question 7: What's the first thing you would buy with the $10 million if you won the Main Event?

Juanda: "I don't know if there's anything I want to buy that I don't already have." Me: You could buy into a bigger cash game. "Oh yeah, that's a good one."

Voulgaris: "I probably won't buy anything. I'll just put it with the rest of it."

Raisman: "Maybe a nice car."

Kaverman: "I'll go with some gifts and a house."

Schulman: "If I win this $10 million, that's it; there's no looking back for me, financially. I don't know what I'm gonna do, but I'm gonna make some smart moves. I'll buy an apartment in Manhattan."

Aguiar: "More preferred stock in DraftKings."
Dan Podheiser

Dan Podheiser has covered the gambling industry since 2013, but he has been an avid poker player for more than a decade, starting when he was just 14 years old. When he turned 18, he played online poker regularly on U.S.-friendly sites until Black Friday in April 2011.

Since graduating from Emerson College with a degree in journalism in 2010, Dan has worked as the sports editor for a chain of newspapers in Northwest Connecticut and served a year as an Americorps*VISTA, writing and researching grant proposals for a Boston-based charity.

Originally from South Jersey, where he still visits occasionally to see his family (and play on the state's regulated online poker sites), Dan lives in Brighton, Mass. with his wife and dog.
Dan Podheiser
Dan Podheiser has covered the gambling industry since 2013, but he has been an avid poker player for more than a decade, starting when he was just 14 years old. When he turned 18, he played online poker regularly on U.S.-friendly sites until Black Friday in April 2011.

Since graduating from Emerson College with a degree in journalism in 2010, Dan has worked as the sports editor for a chain of newspapers in Northwest Connecticut and served a year as an Americorps*VISTA, writing and researching grant proposals for a Boston-based charity.

Originally from South Jersey, where he still visits occasionally to see his family (and play on the state's regulated online poker sites), Dan lives in Brighton, Mass. with his wife and dog.