Paul Newey: From Venture Capitalist to High-Stakes Poker Regular

Paul Newey

He's one of the richest people in England and, in the past, a guy who made a few casino owners worry about their bottom line.

On the high-stakes poker scene, Paul Newey is just one of the guys.

From the $1m Big One for One Drop to $5k SnGs online to the big live cash games to major tourneys like the ongoing EPT London, Newey has more than made his bones in poker. And the gap between him and the touring pros shrinks at every stop.

PokerListings caught up with him on a break of the £10k High Roller for more on his newfound passion.

PokerListings: Paul, you once came close to breaking the bank at Star City Casino in Birmingham. You won £3m and forced owner Stanley Leisure to issue a profit warning, wiping 12 per cent off its share value. Are you still feared in English casinos?

Paul Newey
Markup makes staking "mathematically not worthwhile" anymore.

Paul Newey: No, they don’t (fear me). Roulette times are pretty much over for me (laughs). I spend much more time playing slots and poker now.

PL: You once said that in tournaments with massive buy-ins like the BIG ONE, the edge of professional players is smaller because the rich amateurs can take them out of their comfort zone. The players would claim the opposite.

PN: Yeah, I know. I wouldn’t say there is a massive difference in pressure but there is a difference in Super High Roller tournaments.

Of course, the pros don’t have more money of their bankroll in the buy in than in other high roller tournaments. But they have a massive amount of money of their backers in it.

And so they need good explanations for moves that didn’t work out. It seems that they think about it a little more than in a $25k High Roller.

PL: But your buy-in was 100% yours?

PN: Yes. I play all my poker tournaments with only my own money.

PL: No swapping or staking?

PN: I don’t swap, but I have been known for staking people. I`ve been stepping away from this, because of the mark up that people want.

It makes it mathematically not worthwhile anymore.

Paul Newey
"Poker is challenging, keeps my mind fresh and it is a nice way to go travelling."

PL: You had a 7th-place finish in the BIG ONE and an 11th place in the PCA High Roller ($110k). Are you now good enough to compete with the poker elite?

PN: I am actually not a tournament player and I think there are still a lot of pros that have a significant edge on me.

I am more a live cash-game player. And there it is important for me to be competitive.

PL: Do you play online?

PN: Yes, I do. But I prefer the hyper turbos there. I play some of the $5k Sit n Gos and sometimes I play cash games.

But I never play higher than $25/$50 and I never have more than $20,000 on the table. I am a bit of a gambler, but not stupid (laughs).

PL: You are Birmingham's 12th-wealthiest citizen and one of the super-rich amateurs on the circuit. Do you feel like an exotic creature in a major tournament?

PN: Never. I like the guys and I think they like me. I sold my business (Editor’s note: Ocean Finance, sold for about €300 million) and now I have more spare time.

It is like a new hobby. Poker is challenging, keeps my mind fresh and it is a nice way to go travelling. If you look at it that way I am not that far away from a lot of the pros.

PL: How much do you travel?

Vanessa Selbst
Selbst: One of many live pros to admire.

PN: A lot. This year, I´ve been to the Bahamas, in Monaco, Barcelona, Macau and we will go to Prague also.

We always travel in a larger group. My girlfriend, her friends, my friends. I enjoy that very much.

PL: So, you are on a permanent vacation?

PN: No, I also work. I have a venture capital business and run a £25m portfolio in 12 businesses. But I don’t commit too many hours to work nowadays.

PL: What live poker player do you respect most?

PN: There are quite a few. The first three names that come to my mind are Vanessa Selbst, Scott Seiver and Steve O'Dwyer.

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