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Top Pair Podcast 312: Interview with Aria Poker Room's Mike Williams

Mike Williams
  • LISTEN: Interview with Aria Poker Operations Manager Mike Williams.

  • PODCAST: Aria Poker Operations Manager Mike Williams enjoys home games and LOVES bad beat stories!

In episode 312 of the Top Pair Home Game Poker Podcast, Bruce Briggs and Robbie Strazynski interview Mike Williams, Director of Poker Operations at Aria Las Vegas. A lifelong poker lover, Mike tells us about his roots in the game, his affinity for home games, and how the Aria Las Vegas is a great venue not just for the high rollers, but also for low rollers and home game enthusiasts. He’s also got some great poker stories from his time working in Biloxi, Mississippi, that we know you’ll love.

Our co-hosts also share some updates and announcements pertaining to the upcoming next few weeks during the WSOP. And of course, there’s a fun One Outer that’ll be sure to make you chuckle.

Top Pair thanks their sponsors, J Design Cards, the Poker Notes Live mobile app, and Buy Bitcoin, for their support. Be sure to check ‘em out!

Show Time Stamps

2:46–16:15How Ya Runnin?
 Bruce: Everyone seems to be away and on vacation; common in the summer… no home games running in Salt Lake City. Teasing a potential appearance at the WSOP?
 Robbie: A rare occurrence, no home games running in Israel either over the last couple weeks. Nonetheless, plenty of poker updates. About to head to the WSOP for the third straight year, and will be attending Women in Poker Hall of Fame luncheon.
8:50Reminder, Podcast Hangout Night at Treasure Island at 7pm on June 26th.
10:20 Beyond great coverage via WSOP live streams, PokerGO also offers plenty of original programming.
17:32–59:55Look Who We’ve Found (Interview with Mike Williams)
18:30Mike first got into poker by dealing home games, also playing in them with his grandparents on Thanksgiving.
21:48Mike’s poker background is mostly as a home game dealer, in Biloxi, Mississippi. Talking about the characters he used to see playing at the tables. He actually LOVES hearing bad beat stories!
23:26Mike officially started working in the poker world after going to dealer school the day he turned 21. Talks about his career as a dealer around Biloxi, traveling the circuit for a few years and working at the WSOP’s feature TV tables.
26:25Discussing the cultural differences between poker in the South vs. poker in Las Vegas, differences between a “locals room” versus a premier room full of tourists as well as professionals.
30:50The story of how Mike, a protégé of Johnny Grooms, got “called up to the big leagues” three years ago, moving to Las Vegas, and beginning to work at the Aria poker room.
34:56Aria’s poker room can be intimidating to recreational poker players and home game enthusiasts, as it’s sometimes thought of as a hub for high rollers and pros. Nonetheless, the room’s staff works hard to ensure there are plenty of games spread for low rollers and home game enthusiasts as well, including a daily $4/$8 mixed game!
42:20What’s Mike’s favorite poker variant to play and why?
43:39An explanation of “High-dugi”
45:20A great story about a chip-stacking competition in Biloxi, featuring a dragon!
50:55Mike still runs a Las Vegas home game, often using it as a vehicle to train new dealers. Explanation of how Aria auditions and trains their dealers.
56:23Upcoming events at the Aria poker room, how to get in touch with Mike on Twitter.
1:00:06One Outer – Drawing dead… FLOOR, table 6!

You can subscribe to PokerNews’ Top Pair Home Game Poker podcast on iTunes here, or you can access the RSS feed here. The PokerNews Podcast family of podcasts is now available on audioBoom.

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Follow hosts Bruce Briggs @toppair and Robbie Strazynski @cardplayerlife, also available via email:

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