Ontuawn Armour, founder of Houston Poker Live and Never Fold Poker sat down with PokerNews to discuss all things Houston Poker.
Armour had a classic entry into poker as he explained what got him interested in the game to begin with.
“I was a sophomore in high school and just flipping through the channels, I saw the WSOP come on and all I heard was million dollar prizepool etc. It caught my attention and then I started to fall in love with it, trying to predict what the players had which got me real interested and led me to start playing online.
From online it shifted to live as his interest grew. “I walked into a bar one day and they had Texas Hold’em going on and that was the first time I knew there was poker going on in Houston. I started winning the bar games and got invited to cash games and from there things really took off.”
Houston Poker Live
He then explained the genesis of the Never Fold poker brand and how Houston Poker Live stemmed from that about three to four years ago.
“I saw things happen like players running $10 up to $1,000 in cash games and it made me develop this brand Never Fold. I figured the best way to market it was to go around to these clubs and start a youtube channel and that’s where Houston Poker Live came from. There was no promotion going on. These clubs were so scared to promote themselves, they didn’t want to risk being shut down. But when I read into the laws and the gray areas I saw there was no reason for them to be scared. They had 200 people at a bar poker tournament where they were paying $1,000, while they could be coming to a poker club and play for more with healthier competition. But the early days were rough; at first they told me they didn’t want any pictures. I had to blur out the faces on videos.”
The Houston Poker Scene and the Lone Star Poker Series
The discussion then shifted to the benefits of poker in Houston.
“I always wanted to play in the WSOP and to that point I had only been able to travel to New Orleans for the circuit but I wanted to see games here especially with not having a huge bankroll. I’m not a pro or anything, I had just got started”
Armour was excited about the current state of Houston Poker and where it can go from here, helped in large part by the Lone Star Poker Series.
“Man, I think it’s great! I think it’s blossoming, I think it’s not at it’s peak yet. We are still at the beginning stages. The Lone Star Poker Series is incredible. It’s almost like a dream come true, very similar to what I envisioned. It’s just beautiful to see it happening here, right down the street, I mean I live 20 minutes away from here.
He was adamant about the strength of Houston Poker and how it stacks up to anywhere in the USA.
“The whole goal was to show people that Houston and Texas is one of the meccas of poker in the United States. We can argue that topic, but I strongly believe that. We don’t need the WPT or WSOP here to run big events, some of the events we run here in a week are bigger than the ones they run in a month. We do have that type of pull, the capacity and the players. We just have to do more promotions and more marketing to the outside world to show people that things are legit here.”
Never Fold Poker
Armour ended by talking about his brand Never Fold Poker, which in many ways reflects his attitude in life.
“A guy told me, you never fold, you never give up huh? I said you know what? I like that. You can apply this is any walk of life, never fold, never quit, never back down and you will reach the things you set out to reach and I just thought it was a catchy metaphor for life, through poker.”