When PokerStars Ambassador Liv Boeree grabbed Bryn Kenney for an interview moments before the £1 million Triton final table last week, she couldn’t have predicted she was about to conduct what many top poker professionals are now calling the “best poker interview of all time”.
What was likely intended as a five-minute, light-hearted chat became a battle cry (“I feel that once I hit No 1 nobody is going to touch it again”), a confessional (“I’ve swung from millionaire to negative a million…spending and doing stupid things”), and a motivational speech (“You’re going to have to show every single day that you want it more than everyone else, and put in all the work and effort”), thanks to Kenney’s candidness and Boeree’s brilliant questions.
The interview provided a fascinating insight into the mind of one of poker’s all time greats (and indeed, it’s new all-time money winner). Sensei Kenney dropped some wisdom on us, so if you haven’t seen it yet, check it out below.
It got us thinking, though. What other poker interviews stick in our minds, be it for their emotion, humour, controversy, or acumen?
Here are some of our favourites (in no particular order), and if you think there’s a great one we’ve missed, let us know on Twitter at @PokerStarsBlog.
Despite launching a training site and a Masterclass in recent years, Phil Ivey remains an enigma. He rarely does interviews, so on the rare occasions he allows cameras into his life, you better believe the poker world is watching.
In the “Off the Felt” two-part interview, Ivey discusses everything from Andy Beal and the Larry Flynt games to gambling huge on craps. If you like this one, you should also check out this short Phil Ivey interview/documentary, and Ivey’s interview on 60 Minutes.
It has now been a decade since Luke “FullFlush” Schwartz stomped his way into poker’s consciousness, primarily through his strong performances in the nosebleed online cash games. However, interviews like this one (with former PokerNews host Gloria Balding) certainly helped put Schwartz on the map, and not always for the right reasons.
We’re happy to report that Schwartz and Durrr have since made up.
— luke schwartz (@__fullflush1__) July 31, 2019
On his popular Poker Life Podcast, Joey Ingram has spoke to just about everyone in the poker world. His interviews are always in-depth and personal, making them music to the ears of poker geeks like us (it’s no surprise he has two interviews featured on this list).
When successful businessman and amateur poker player Bill Perkins dropped in for a chat, he also dropped some great life advice, including his top five “must dos” for people aged 20-35. When you’re listening to someone as successful, thoughtful and downright happy as Perkins, it’s worth getting the notepad out.
$31.1 million in career earnings. A new father. A WSOP bracelet winner. A man considered by many to be one of the greatest tournament players of all time.
That’s the Stephen Chidwick of 2019.
That is the best call in history. Chidwick so far ahead of the rim, the goat.
— Patrick Leonard (@plenopads) August 3, 2019
But back in 2010, Chidwick was a spiky-haired, fresh-faced youngster, already considered a legend for winning more than a hundred World Series of Poker Main Event seats online. In this PokerStars interview, he details why he’s hunting food vouchers rather than bracelets, and why his accent means he no longer fits in.
You don’t want to make Daniel Negreanu mad during an interview. Here’s the proof.
After entering the WSOP Main Event final table second in chips, then busting out in fourth place for $3 million, PokerStars’ own Garry Gates was asked what went wrong.
His response (recorded here in Johnny Vibes’ Vlog) provided what might be our favourite bust-out interview ever. Grab a tissue.
Joey Ingram himself describes this one as a legendary episode of the Poker Life Podcast, as high stakes cash game player Garrett Adelstein opens up about his battles with depression, what it’s like to swing in huge cash games, and more.
Relatable, honest, and entertaining, this interview is a must listen.
On the lighter side of things, David Peters’ coffee catch up with Triton Poker host Pete Latham is pretty darn funny, while also touching on interesting poker nuggets like the percentages of himself that Peters plays for, his study regime, and the celebrity he’d most like to play poker against.
Oh, and then there are the rap battles (if he’s drunk enough) and his upcoming autobiography: D Peets from the streets.
PokerStars Blog contributor Martin Harris reminds us of a few other poker interviews we can’t watch but would like to:
The above list is of course skewed toward more recent poker interviews, all accessible online and easily shared. For the sake of completeness, it’s worth adding as well some earlier poker interviews we can’t watch but which also were important for their historical value.
I won’t go all of the way back to James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok’s interview for Harper’s New Monthly Magazine in early 1867 that turned the card-playing gunslinger into a national figure. But I will point back to Thomas “Amarillo Slim” Preston being interviewed on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson following his victory in the 1972 World Series of Poker Main Event.
Preston’s first appearance on The Tonight Show was on June 16, 1972, and he was invited back multiple times thereafter to share stories that introduced mainstream America to the world of high-stakes poker. In the spring of 1974, Preston also appeared with Benny Binion for an hour-long interview on Tom Snyder’s late night talk show, The Tomorrow Show, another important moment that helped lessen prejudices against poker dating back to the Old West and even before.
Of that appearance, Preston would later write “I knew it’d be good for Benny and the World Series of Poker, and, as it turned out, it was even better for old Slim.”
In January 1976, The Merv Griffin Show devoted an entire 90-minute show one afternoon to high-stakes poker, with Griffin interviewing a panel including Binion, Johnny Moss, Jack Straus, John Scarne, and Jack Klugman.
All of those interviews would no doubt be interesting to watch. So, too, would it be interesting to see Chris Moneymaker’s appearance on the June 10, 2003 episode of Late Night with David Letterman to talk about his victory in that year’s WSOP Main Event — a show that appeared about a month before the ESPN episodes began, and about three months before many found out he had won.
That one also isn’t available online. I asked Moneymaker about it once, and he said he thinks he might have an old VHS tape copy of it somewhere. But he’s not that anxious to find it.