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Ivey Poker pro Jonathan Jaffe is stacked with less than 50 players remaining in the 2013 World Series of Poker and although winning this tournament is his biggest concern right now, he told us that what he really wants to do is train dolphins at Sea World. Jaffe plays online under the screenname "Iftarii" and his biggest live score came in 2008 when he finished second at the WPT World Poker Finals for over $640,000.
My name is Jonathan Jaffe. I've been playing cards for a living for eight years now. I started playing with the Moneymaker boom like a lot of people my age, and I just noticed that I kind of had a knack for it, so I started playing online and I did well there. And now I'm kind of transitioning into a dolphin trainer. I'm a bait boy at SeaWorld and I feed the dolphins, and I'm kind of apprenticing to be a dolphin trainer. Dolphins have just always been a passion of mine. They're such intelligent creatures, and they're so gentle and loving, so it really is just a perfect fit because it's something I love to be around, you know, happy animals and people.
I'm always going to play poker. I love poker. I'm an Ivey pro and I'm proud of it, and I definitely want to be with them for a long time. I just want to have my gig as a dolphin trainer on the side because it's just an amazing thing. Yeah, there's probably nothing better than being deep in the main event. You get to play a pretty deep stacked tournament with a real mix of players, and cameras, media everywhere. It's a good time. Yeah, I mean, everyone takes the money and the media and all that differently, so some people it's going to affect, some people it's not, and it's another thing that you have to gauge when you're at the table, how is somebody playing. Are they playing for the camera, or are they playing with no awareness of it. I really don't try and leverage the fact that I'm comfortable at the table with many people. A lot of them, they know what they're doing and they're not too scared to bust, and I'm not going to use it too much to my advantage unless I think it's there.
When I was in high school my family was a little bit hesitant about the idea of me playing cards for a living. I gave college a try and they were very open when I let them know that college wasn't for me. A semester, and they told me I could give it a shot playing for a living. So I got my own apartment and my parents supported me ever since, and they've been my best fans. And my whole family, extended family, everyone has just been awesome. The support of my friends and family really keeps me grounded. It reminds me of what's important in life, and when you're at the table, it just helps you cope with a bad beat. I can't think of getting bent about a bad beat when I have such great friends and family. It's so miniscule in the grand scheme.