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UFC announcer Bruce Buffer is a regular at the poker tables in Los Angeles and Las Vegas and right now he's competing at the World Series of Poker. Buffer told PokerListings he first learned poker from his father when he was just nine years old, along with blackjack and horse-racing, but it wasn't until the mid-2000s and the poker boom when he played his first real live poker tournaments and became truly hooked. In this WSOP video interview Buffer talks about his dreams of winning a World Series gold bracelet, the recent decision by Jose Aldo to pull out of his championship fight at UFC 189 and the only sensible way to approach betting horses. Keep it locked on PokerListings.com for all your World Series of Poker content.
I love being at the World Series. It's always a blast. Anyone that plays poker, this is where we want to be.
My dad taught me to play poker when I was nine years old. He taught me poker, he taught me blackjack and he taught me about horse-racing.
He said the only way to follow a horse is with a shovel, never bet on them. That's actually pretty sound advice.
I was really into blackjack and I once earned a living playing blackjack for about six months when I was between companies that I owned when I was in my twenties. I played poker consistently but back then it was about Draw and Stud. I liked Seven-Card Stud. In 2003 Moneymaker brought all the attention to the World Series and Texas Hold'em and in 2005 I entered my first tournament, a small tournament at Borgata, and bubbled the final table.
My second tournament was on the World Poker Tour and I made the final table on TV, so now I'm hooked. We have a couple of guys (in the UFC) that are really good. Matt Hughes plays good poker. Mike Swick, a fighter who's coming back next weekend in the UFC, is a very good poker player. Actually two years ago he bubbled this (WSOP) final table. With Aldo pulling out, how do I feel? His ribs hurt. He can't fight. His advisors said 'look, you're not going to be 100%' He's going to lose millions as a result and it's a shame to see that happen because the UFC has spent millions and gazillions marketing it. Chad Mendes is actually, in my opinion, even a worse fight for Connor McGregor and his style of fighting.
Connor was going up against a Muay Thai fighter in Aldo who he's been training for for weeks or months, now he's got two and a half weeks to train for a grappler who can also knock you out in Chad Mendes.
Mendes is one of the top five fighters of his time at featherweight right now so you still have a superbly high quality championship fight. I was with Connor the other day because I had him on my podcast It's Time and his whole thing is that he just wants to fight. He'll fight anyone you put in front of him.
He's a true warrior and so is Chad. I mean, two and a half weeks out to take a fight like this? Kudos to Chad.
And kudos to the UFC because we have two matchmakers in Joe Silva and Sean Shelby, conferring with Dana White and the other powers that be, were able to put this together so quickly.
The decision to pull out of a tournament or a fight, in this case Jose Aldo in his fight, it's a very tough decision because there's probably $3 million-plus dollars that he's not going to collect next weekend. And that's almost a guarantee.
The marketing power the UFC has put behind UFC 189, I mean Dana even came out and said even if we do a million pay-per-view buys we might only break even. It's kind of hard to believe but if Dana says it there has to be some reality to it.
So he is walking away from millions but he is the champion and this is an interim belt so whoever wins that is going to have face Jose in three or six months so he's not going to walk away with that cash now, but it's in his future.
My goal is to get a bracelet. I'm here to be in this event not just for the fun and relaxation but for the dream. And I think you're foolish to sit down if you're not dreaming of putting that bracelet on your wrist and getting that first-place cash.
If I get knocked out I'm not going to go blow my brains out. I'm going to disappointed but the beauty of the World Series is they have deep-stack tournaments and juicy cash games.
I'm here for two or three days to enjoy myself so we'll see how the ball falls.