Off the Felt is interviewing your favorite people in the poker industry to find out more about their lives — you've got it — off the felt. We recently sat down with recent WSOP Circuit Horseshoe Hammond Player of the Series Mike Leah to talk a little sports, prop bets, and music.
What is your favorite tournament spot?
Not sure if I have a favorite “spot." I look forward to WSOP all year but that is all about the event itself not the location. I really enjoyed playing San Remo last year and look forward to going back.
Where is your favorite vacation destination?
I love going on beach holidays, so Mexico, or Jamaica — really anywhere hot with a nice beach and I’m happy.
What are some of your hobbies away from the table?
Playing and watching just about any sport. Oh, and my fantasy sports leagues take up a lot of my time.
Can you tell us the most ridiculous prop bet you’ve participated in?
Well, my poker friends and I bet on just about everything. One of my favorites is throwing random objects in garbage cans (laughs) – but we have made bets where the loser had to wear the other guy’s favorite hockey team jersey, last-longer bets where the first out had to pick up breakfast and deliver to all the other guys; nothing overly ridiculous but still fun.
Do you have any hidden talents?
I must not have found them yet, but maybe counting chip stacks. I’m pretty good at that.
As a self-proclaimed fantasy sports expert, what is your favorite sport to bet on?
I actually don’t bet on sports at all. My fantasy leagues are for money, but they last for months and it’s more about the competition with friends. Fantasy Football would probably be my favorite.
As a sports buff, would you rather spend a day with the Toronto Blue Jays, the New York Yankees, or the Dallas Cowboys?
The Blue Jays for sure as I detest both the Yankees and the Cowboys (laughs).
So you’re big on music. Who is your favorite band/artist?
With iTunes I have a lot more favorite songs than artists nowadays but a few of my current favorites are The Black Keys, City & Colour, Muse, Linkin Park, Metric, and Ray LaMontagne.
What is your favorite concert ever attended?
Most of my favorite concert experiences have been music festivals like Lollapalooza, Edgefest, etcetera. Nothing beats a summer music festival. An intimate theater performance can be pretty cool, too; the Counting Crows, BB King, Jonny Lang are a few that stand out.
What is one thing you want people to know about you?
Please don’t smoke around me, and chew gum before you sit next to me after smoking. Thank you.
If you could pick anyone to star you in a movie about your life, who would it be?
Well, first I need to win a few WSOP bracelets. And then I don’t know, maybe Mark Wahlberg (laughs).
What is your greatest poker achievement?
I have yet to achieve it, that’s for sure. I am proud of my WCOOP, FTOPS wins, leaderboard finishes, and just last week I won the WSOPC Circuit Horseshoe Hammond Player of the Series. Right now my main focus is on winning the Player of the Year at WSOP and winning my first of many bracelets.
Do you have any superstitions before you begin a tournament?
Nope, just waking up on time to play is my main focus!
What’s the most interesting story you've ever heard at the table?
There are lots of interesting stories and many not interesting ones. I love the ones about bad beats that they took ... not!
What would you being doing if you weren't playing poker?
I had a nice cushy management job before I left to play poker full time, so I would still be working there if I hadn’t discovered poker. The rest of my hobbies would be the same but I would have to wake up earlier during the week.
What’s next on your poker calendar?
I will likely be going to go to the new WPT event in Montreal in November. I’m hoping there will be a FTOPS series before the end of the year. Then in January I’m looking forward to PCA and TCOOP.
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