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Inside the Poker Studio w/ Mercier, Money800, Cody & Fatima
You know their names. You’ve seen their faces. You’ve followed their results.
But high-profile poker pros in the spotlight all the time still like to hold a few things back for themselves.
And there are things Fatima Moreira de Melo, Jake Cody, Jason Mercier, Barry Greenstein and Chris Moneymaker don’t often talk about.
Unless, of course, they're on a Q&A panel at the new PokerStars Championship Bahamas, which they were earlier this week.
Some of it's personal, some of it's professional. And some of it concerns things you might have forgotten long ago.
But it was a fun and revealing look, regardless. Here are a few things they shared with the world for (maybe) the first time.
1) Chris Moneymaker: "I Like Playing $2/$5"
“I don’t fancy myself as a professional poker player. I never have. But about 5-10 years ago I gave up the idea of being a 9-to-5 dude and devoted more time to playing.
"I still consider myself a semi-pro, though, at most. I have a wife and three kids. I enjoy travelling but I have a different life, too.
"I like playing tournaments and cash games at $2/$5, because that’s just who I am. I know what it means to be a professional and that’s why I don’t want to be one.
“One guy made a lasting impression on me in 2003. I was playing in a $1/$2 game on a day off and suddenly Phil Hellmuth, who had just won another bracelet walks in.
“At that time I knew exactly three poker players: Phil Hellmuth, Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan. I’ve never been someone who jumps on celebrities but I wanted to take this occasion and say hello.
"He was just like a regular guy and talked with me for 30 minutes. I will never forget that.”
2) Jason Mercier: Most Profitable and Most Stressful
Jason Mercier had his most successful summer ever as a poker pro last year.
Or as Barry Greenstein put it: “I’ve never had a run like Jason had last summer, but it’s not that bad because nobody has ever had a run like Jason last summer.”
But the success came with a mental and physical drain.
“I had the most profitable summer of my life. I made a lot of bets on me winning one bracelet, two bracelets and three bracelets. I busted a lot of tournaments in the beginning of the summer and only after my first cash I started to kick off.
“It was very interesting how after my second bracelet things heated up and word spread that there was now $2.5 million on the line if I won a third. In the end I didn’t but I was very focused for a long time.
“The last one I played was the mini One Drop with like 8,000 players. I made the money but busted around 500th. I was almost relieved that the grind was over. I was so exhausted. It was exciting but it was also draining.”
3) Fatima Moreira de Melo Flopped on TV
You know Fatima Moreira de Melo as a poker player you see at almost every tournament, always with a smile on her face and never shy to voice her opinion.
You also likely know she’s an Olympic Gold Medal winner and been on numerous shows on Dutch television. But it could have gone the other way, too -- at least for her singing career.
“I was asked to sing on TV after we won the Olympic medal. I picked a Queen Song in Dutch and screwed it up. When I left the stage, the commentator said ‘well, she’s a very good hockey player.'
"Years later I was asked again, took the chance and pulled it off. I had to prove myself. Even today it makes me very emotional to think about that day.”
4) Greenstein: Bahamas Will Rise Again
Barry Greenstein remembers the early days of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure as a place with bad internet connection and even worse service.
“It was so bad that if you told the staff your bed hadn’t been made, they would look at you and go ‘So? Do you expect me to do it for you?’
But if the WSOP in Vegas has always been the convention of live players the Bahamas used to be the convention of online poker players.
“It used to be famous for being the place where the online nicknames of players would be revealed. For example, Viktor Blom was outed here.
“Whenever online poker comes back to the US this is going to happen again and the Bahamas will be the place to be like it was the first couple of years.”
5) Jake Cody Gets Personal
“This has been an idea of mine since my early career when I played a lot of poker and watched a lot of YouTube.
"Then, a couple of months ago, I came across somebody who showed his life as a poker player on YouTube.
“I thought this could now be the right time for me to do it, too, so I uploaded my first video. The feedback was very positive so now I’ve done a couple more.”
If you want to watch Jake Cody tell his poker story, in good times and bad, follow his channel here.
Watch his origin story below: