Jason “PBJaxx” Senti, a 28-year-old professional poker player from Minnesota, commands the shortest stack among the 2010 World Series of Poker November Nine with 7.625 million chips. We caught up with the Bluefire Poker Instructor, guitarist with Suburban Hero and PokerStars Pro as he prepares for the main event final table.
Is being the short stack quite fun in that you get the enjoyment of being a November Niner without the pressure?
From a poker standpoint, I have to agree with you. Everybody knows it’s tough to do a lot with 15bbs, so there is less pressure – I’d still rather have the pressure of the big stack. However, on the flip side this is the 1st thing I’ve done in poker that all my friends and family know about; they don’t know about all that and they might see me go out with a hand they don’t think is all that great, so it will be difficult to explain it to them.
I still feel pressure in that I want to walk away from this thing and know that I did all that I could. Realistically, so much is going to come down to how the cards are dealt with a 15bb stack, but I just want to know I did my best because this is a really big opportunity I likely won’t get again.
You are a cash specialist. Have you been working on your short-stack game to prepare for this final?
I’ve played enough tournaments to feel quite comfortable with those kinda stacks. I didn’t feel like there was much else to learn, but once again this is an opportunity that doesn’t come round all that often, so I took the time to make sure I worked on that side of things and that I had a solid understanding of the fundamentals of short-stack play. I didn’t learn much new, but at least I have had a lot of things confirmed to me by tournament specialists rather than just my own theories on short-stack play.
What has it been like being a poker training instructor at the November Nine final table?
Bluefire has been a big part, all the members have been very supportive and also I have noticed I’m getting support at the tables when I play online. The other impact, which hasn’t been positive, has been assuming the other November Niners are trying to learn as much as they can about the rest of the table. Realistically there is more information about me out there than anyone else including the Grinder. I have a backlog of 50+ videos where I explain my thoughts about poker, so they can learn a lot more about how I approach the game then I can about them.
And have you been doing your homework on the other players?
Not much yet but the coverage is only starting to pick up on ESPN. Realistically, anything I see them do, they will have seen themselves, so I am not going to put too much into that, any Orio cookie tell they had back then they certainly will have locked up by now or use as a reverse tell.
Have you had much time to get to know the rest of the final table?
Right after we made it, the next day we met up for a media day and right then I felt an instant sense of camaraderie. We are thrown into a situation that only 27 people in the world have ever been into. Since then I have only traveled to Europe for poker but have met up with most of the guys there and chatted with them. Most of them are pretty good guys and we get along, of course, at the final we will be bitter enemies, but I hope that we at least stay slightly in touch and say hi to each other after the final.
No doubt you will have been offered many endorsement deals, what made you choose to sign with PokerStars?
I was one of the last guys to sign a deal for the main event. I went with PokerStars because I come from the 2+2 community and if there is one site everyone respects and everyone feels treats the players really well its PokerStars. They really try to give us what we are looking for as players and customers. they have outstanding customer support, an outstanding VIP system, the best tournaments online and they have the most players. I was thrilled to work with PokerStars and since then the experience has been great. I’ve just been to my first EPT London and so far just had great experiences with them.
Outside of the financial benefits, what have you been enjoying about being a November Niner?
I’ve really enjoyed the promotional stuff. I had an interview with Paul Allen , who is the voice of the Minnesota Vikings, who is a local celebrity here in Minnesota. He even used my name as a verb in a later podcast, which was exciting. I got to play poker with some local newscasters, as well as the Jack Link’s Beef Jerky Sasquatch, and that was a surprisingly fun thing to do. I’m doing lots of media, in particular local stuff. I’ve got to be the front page of the sports section of all the papers I’ve read growing up and on the local news for every news station I know, so it’s been pretty cool.
Have your band benefited from the exposure?
We have been playing, still practicing once a week. It’s been a bit more hectic than it usually is. We’ve been offered some gigs we were not necessarily getting before because of this exposure. We are getting more offers now, and it’s been nothing but good for the band. We had some of our songs played on ESPN. It’s been pretty cool. It’s not necessarily a big change, but it’s providing extra opportunities.
How many more Twitter friends did you make since making the finals?
I’d really only just started with the Twitter this year. I knew I had friends who wanted to know how I am doing, so instead of texting constantly, I just opened a Twitter account expecting 30 or 40 followers. Then in the main event I went from 30 or 40 followers to 100. Now it’s over 1,000.
Have you splashed out yet on a big purchase like a sports car?
I haven’t gone completely silly. I haven’t bought a car or anything. My wife and I are planning on buying a house after November. We are flying out a good number of friends and family in November. We did go out and buy a very large number of plane tickets. The big thing for me is I really really love being a professional poker player. I love the freedom it provides me and I want to play every day. More than anything, I want to protect that freedom, so money to me is more about freedom than fame, so I am much more concerned in hanging onto this money because I have a great lifestyle.
The PokerNews Live Reporting Team will be tableside November 6 when the 2010 WSOP Final Table resumes. Until then follow us on Twitter and Facebook for up-to-the-minute news on the WSOP and everything else poker.