We caught up with Joe Sebok to discuss the World Series of Poker, playing at the same table with his pop, and Chicago sports.
What is your favorite event at the World Series of Poker?
I really enjoy the limit events. Those have always been something I've had a lot of fun with and a lot of the no-limit guys don't play them very well, so you can really take advantage of people a lot. I like the no-limit stuff too. It's like everyone else, you get a little bored played the no-limit constantly.
Who would you not like to see at your table?
I don't mind having anyone at my table to be completely honest. The only person who I generally don't like having anymore is Bear, and the only reason for that is because it actually is a disadvantage for us because we're never really going to raise each other with garbage. We're not going to try to out play each other, so it enables people at the table to take from how we play. If we're in a hand and he raises and someone calls and I make a big raise, it means I have a hand, so it actually helps the other people a lot.
That leads me into my next question: what is it like playing with Barry?
It has changed. In the beginning when I first started, back in 2005, it was much more educational. We'd play and then he'd talk to me on breaks. "Dude you're an idiot. You did this. This is terrible, what's wrong with you? How are you even my son?" Now it's fine. It's just a disadvantage for us like I said before. I don't mind playing with him at all. We always talk on the breaks, but it's not so much an educational experience, it's more just kind of hanging out and having fun. But like I said, it kind of hurts our game a little.
What is your favorite thing to do in Las Vegas?
It used to be going out, but I'm old now. I do a lot of bikram [yoga]. I go to a lot of movies. Especially because when I'm here, it's always blazing hot, so I like to just escape it and go to flicks, which is so boring, but it's the truth.
Have you heard of or been involved in any crazy prop bets this WSOP?
I haven't heard of very many. I won one against Rafe Furst. He has to dress up like a woman on Day 1 of the Main Event. Then we kind of spiraled that into a lot of us wearing these track suits to support Bad Beat on Cancer, but he still has to dress up like an actual woman. So I was lucky enough to win that one. I haven't really done any other ones. I've been really busy and whenever I want to make those bets like I used to, it seems like the guys never want to anymore so, I think you can call that fear. They're afraid.
Where is your favorite place to eat in Vegas?
When you're here and you're in the casino all the time, you really just want to get out of the casino. Naked Fish is the one everyone always talks about. I just discovered a new place, Kobe Sushi and I'm also a big fan of Dairy Queen dipped chocolate cones. I'm a big fan of going there and getting those.
Do you have an pretournament superstitions?
It's not really a superstition, it's just a weird thing that I always do, but as long as I'm in a tournament, I always have the buy-in ticket in my back pocket. Which is not really a superstition clearly, because it's not like I've won a lot of bracelets and whatnot, but for whatever reason, I always have that in my back pocket. Even on Day 2 or Day 3, whatever. Like last year during the Main Event, I just had my Main Event ticket in my back pocket every day. So it's not exactly a superstition, it's just one of those weird things that I don't know why I do but I do.
After seeing the impressive feat of Phil Laak breaking the Guinness World Record for most consecutive hours of poker played, what record would you like to break?
[Laughs] I don't know. I don't think I'm quite out there enough to want to break a record, necessarily. I'm pretty happy just doing my thing, so I'm going to leave the records to guys like Phil who want to get out there and do crazy things. I'm pretty chill.
What do you like to do on your off days from the WSOP?
Nothing really. Go running or lay by the pool. All the normal stuff that people do. When I was younger, I used to be a lot racier and more exciting, but those paths lead to bad places, so I've reformed as I've gotten a bit older. [Laughs]. So, I just try to keep it buttoned down and do normal stuff. I think it's just really important to just relax and part of it being at the WSOP is you know, like it or not, not going out and getting wasted, partying and not sleeping. I did that, believe me, several other years. So I'm really just trying to take it easy, you know. Grab dinners and try to keep it mellow.
Where were you when the Blackhawks won and how excited were you?
So excited! I watched it at a friend's house with some of us who like the Blackhawks who are from Chicago and play professionally. It was a big deal for us. Chicago teams don't normally win a lot of stuff, so it was pretty sick. Especially since the Blackhawks haven't won since like '61, so it was pretty incredible.
Would you rather see Cal win a National Championship or have the Cubs win the World Series?
That's so brutal. You mean like a football championship? [Yes.] That's so brutal dude. I guess the Cubs, but man, then there's Cal. It's unanswerable. OK, I'll go with the Cubs. I've always said that there are a few things in my life that I'll point to as life events, you know, having a child, getting married. The Cubs winning the World Series is one of those things, and I've never thought of Cal winning the National Championship like that. And as amazing as that would be, I don't know that I would cry, and I know I will cry if the Cubs ever actually get to a World Series and win it. So I'm going to say the Cubs.
What would you do to sing Take Me Out to the Ball Game at Wrigley field?
Maybe just win the [WSOP] Main Event and maybe then I'll get a shot. It would be incredible to sing Take Me Out to the Ball Game during the seventh inning stretch. Obviously the Cubs are super famous for doing that in the middle of the seventh. It would be fun. A pretty select group of individuals have gotten to do that.
Would you rather have seven final tables or the Main Event bracelet?
Not even close. Main Event bracelet. You'd rather have that than anything. You could take away every final table I've made, everything I've won and let me win that once. You could let me win that once and I'd never win anything again, and I would take that in a heartbeat.
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