Chamath Palihapitiya Talks High-Stakes $2k/$4k Game at Aria

Published on 7 July 2013 by Pokerlistings 632

Chamath Palihapitiya is a venture capitalist who has held high-ranking positions in companies like AOL and Facebook. He's also a rabidly passionate poker player. Palihapitiya played the $1 million Big One for One Drop last year and spoke to at the WSOP about the massive $2,000/$4,000 No-Limit Hold'em cash game playing over at the Aria.

Just like last year basically this huge cash game broke out at the Aria, lot of our good friends that we play with a lot from Macau are here and so we've been playing this for about two weeks straight. It's incredible it's probably the most challenging game I've ever played in.

I mean, you know, there's a lot of really good players that play in that game, it's 2,000, 4,000 no limit. Sometimes were playing in two, four, eight. Sometimes we're playing two, four, eight, 16 and there's a lot of great guys. Jur's in the game, Roble's in the game, myself, Bobby Baldwin, it's a really good line up.

In a game like that you know it's really a very technical nuanced game there's a lot of stuff that happens pre-flop, and to be quite honest actually the most important thing is what happens on the flop, and you have to learn to get away from hands. And so pots can be really small, a few thousand dollars and you know really, really, really big and we can imagine what that is but you know it's greater than hundreds of thousands. You know I made a small pre-flop raise late position, three bet me, I four bet, he five bet, I six bet jammed, he was forced to call. I turned over aces, he turns over the 4:5 off suit, you know we decided to run it twice and I chopped the pot.

When people walk in and they see what's happening it's, I mean it's shocking almost because you would never expect the aces to get cracked by the 4:5, but it happens. And you know that's the beauty of that game it's just that you really don't know what people are holding a lot of the time. The tough thing about tournaments is that everything happens pre-flop, but the great thing about this stuff is you can see a lot of flops in a cash game and it's about the skill able to read a player, to trap people, you know to over play, to semi bluff. And there's like so many nuances there that it's a really challenging part of poker that ends a lot of the times in tournaments, until you get really deep you don't really get a chance to exercise and try out.

In that game, nobody is there to make a living, they all come from, you know, successful businesses that they do in their full-time and so this is just a great release and so what you get are really interesting, fun people that talk a lot about really interesting things; it's just a great environment. If you put a lot of sort of grinders in the game I think it would change it, that's why, to be quite honest with you, I've gotten a little frustrated this year, with a lot of the tournament play, particularly the one drop was excruciatingly frustrating.

A lot of these kids I think were playing their case money and every decision took three or four minutes. People were tanking for ten to fifteen minutes at a time, and to be quite honest with you, for me it ruined it. I set a lance speed recording for busting the one drop but I was glad to be out early.

When I play in tournaments what I see are, really, really thoughtful, smart, young, but very mechanical thinkers. But when you are playing cash games there's just like this nuance about taking risks that very few of these young players have. They just don't have the heart to make those calls. And so it's interesting business people play poker in a very different way I think. It is much more about the intuition and the ability to, pick your spots and be able to go with it and you know take a lot of unbounded risk, in ways that I think a lot of other tournament kids I don't really see having.

I think poker at its best is a really social thing that allows interesting people to come together, you know build comradery, hang out, win some pots, lose some pots you know not a lot of damage is done at the end of it all, but you had a great time, and you hopefully made some great friends and you learn something. And to honest with you I play largely because that game to me represents the best players in the world and it's the most challenging poker environment.

I come here to play in the tournaments because of two reasons. One is I really want to win a bracelet, and then the second is because I play for two great charities and I would really like to make them as much money as I can. You know what's great this year is I have always been playing for the Boys and Girls Club, but this year one of my good friends launched a great foundation called "", her name is Cheryl Sandburg. She and I worked together on Facebook, and that foundation is all about, sort of, giving woman a framework so they can become more empowered and really drive their own career and you know create support systems for them and so this year I'm playing for both the Boys and Girls Clubs of the peninsula and and so I'm really excited to hopefully win some money for the both of them.