Cary Katz: WSOP Big One for One Drop Q&A

Cary Katz
Katz has pledged 50 percent of his winnings in this tournament to charity.

Cary Katz has more poker experience than most of the amateurs in the Big One for One Drop and he’s going to need every bit of it as he squares off against the best players in the world in the first $1 million buy-in tournament.

Katz is the 41-year-old CEO of the College Loan Corporation, a company he founded in 1999 and has since grown into the seventh-largest student loan company in the United States.

Now living in Las Vegas Katz has racked up over $681,000 in live tournament earnings, including eight previous WSOP cashes.

We spoke to Katz about being part of the first $1 million buy-in poker tournament and what he’s going to do with the $18 million if he wins. We’re just a few minutes away from kicking this thing off. Are you nervous? Excited?

Cary Katz: I am excited. I’m really excited. If you can’t get up for this than what in the world can you get up for? This is what you live for. It’s definitely an adrenaline rush and I’m just going to play the best I can. Do you feel like you’re a part of history here playing the first ever $1 million buy-in tournament?

CK: No I wouldn’t say that. If you look at the really elite players in this field, they’re the ones making poker history. I’m just along for the ride.

PL: What’s got you most excited about playing in this event?

The feature table
Katz is playing at the ESPN feature table on Day 1 of the Big One.

CK: I think it’s the fact that you get to play against the best players in the world for the highest stakes ever.

It’s a very unique opportunity and I’m very excited to be a part of it.

PL: Do you think playing for these stakes is going to affect your ability to play your game?

CK: I think whenever you’re playing against players of this caliber it affects your ability. In a lower-stakes game you’re going to be able to be more aggressive and so on but against these players it’s obviously a lot tougher.

I don’t think I’m going to have nerves, though. I feel pretty calm actually.

PL: What happens to the $18 million if you win?

CK: My wife and I discussed it and we’re going to give away 50 percent of the money, on the outside chance that I actually cash.

Our favorite charity is the Make a Wish Foundation and there are a couple others.

PL: Is there anyone in particular you’d like to see at the final table if you make it that far?

CK: I like playing with Daniel Negreanu. He tends to keep things lively and he’s a lot of fun to play with. But I’d like to see a few businessmen if I make the final table so at least there’s the chance I won’t be the weakest player.

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