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Professional basketball player Earl Barron has been playing a ton of poker at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas over the last few years and today he's back taking a shot at the $1,111 Little One for One Drop. Barron says that poker gives him a rush like few other things in the world and that making a really deep run or winning a WSOP bracelet would mean a lot. Barron says he only plays poker during the summer off-season and that in a couple weeks he'll be back in the gym and on the court getting ready for whatever opportunity comes his way. For now though, he's focused on poker even with NBA free agency starting in just a few hours. So far this summer it's working out for Barron. He's cashed three times already. Check out the full video interview to hear what Earl Barron has to say about the NBA's free agency, his plans for the future and why he loves the World Series of Poker.
Earl: I am always having fun every time I come out here I have a blast win or lose, but I came out here the first week played a few events and I'm out here into the main. Play a couple of events and hopefully I can settle out into the main and play that, because last year I had a ball.
Interviewer: You finished up last season with Santon. What was that experience like?
Earl: It was a great year, you know, I started off in a D League and I went to China for a couple of weeks and I came back and played one more game with the Mega Field Jam and I got caught up to the sevens for the rest of the season. So it was great year. I learned a lot, you know, met a lot of people and I wouldn't take it back. I wouldn't trade it for the world.
Interviewer: I guess you were playing when Alex left. What was that like?
Earl: Yes. I mean, it's tough, because he had an injury in the preseason, right when I left to go to the D League and he recovered from that and he was just getting back here after he had another light ankle sprain, but you know, he's a hard worker and I've been keeping up with him and I think he's ready. He'll be more than ready for next season.
Interviewer: Pretty interesting stuff to hear. What was does Poker Listings mean to you?
Earl: I mean, I'm just, you know, enjoying my time here and then when I leave here and get back to work and start training a couple of times a day. Get in the court as much as possible and lay off poker, you know, till next summer.
You have to respect the grind aspect of poker. You know, how long it takes, and how many hours you have to put into studying, all the coaches, watching videos and stuff, but most people just think that people just sit down and play, but there's more to it than that, so you gotta respect it.
I like when I'll be playing a lot of the young kids now.
A $10,000,000 player would probably be Yao Ming, because of his size, you know, 7'5", 350 plus pounds, you know he's intimidating. Practicing with Shaq every day, that's always something that I never forget. But poker-wise, in this day and age, it's so tough. I played with. . .I can't remember the guy's name last year, but he was at my table day two of the main and he was just crushing and made some sick calls when I ended up folding and the other guys just had air and I was just like, "How do you know that?" He's scary. But he ended up making it to the like the final three or four tables, so he made a pretty good run.
I can only sit down for so long and play poker for x amount of hours before my legs and my joints and everything starts getting, you know, fatigued. So you know, I only do it a week here, a week there, but I have to get back to training and you know, moving around. I'm just a real active person, so it's good to come out here and relax and do something I love and sit down for hours and hours and you know, get it out of the way. And then once I leave here, even if I win, I lose, you know, hopefully I win something big before I leave, but if not, you know, I go home and I had a good time and met some pretty cool people.
Poker has so many swings and there are so many ups and downs and you can make the worst call in world and end up getting lucky in the river and that can end up sending you to the final table, you know, getting some crazy chips back. So I've seen swings where people lose chips and one guy yesterday was playing Hollywood, and he had 100,000 chips early and everybody else had 15,000, 20,000 and he didn't make it to it. It was only ten tables, but it didn't even make it to the fourth table and I was just like, "How do you lose that many chips?", but it's a game of swings. You lose a few flops, you lose a few flips, and you're out of there.
You got to take the good with the bad, so the people that can take the bad swings and not go into it, those are the ones who end up usually making a real [inaudible 00:03:5]. I'm trying to learn you know, take a breath, walk away, you know, move on with the next hand. It's just like basketball, you might not make every shot and you make a bad play, a dumb foul, you know, it's like you know what it is, is what it is. Move on, keep it moving.
Last year I got pretty deep and lost a couple of flips that, if I would have won, I would've easily got down to the last hundred, but you know, this year I'm hoping to do the same, you know, run good, you know, play good, run off a little here and there, try to steal a few chips, but we'll see.
Interviewer: Cool man. I appreciate it.
Earl: Thank you. No problem.