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Poker News | People in Poker | Poker Superstars

Who’s Your Daddy? – Q&A with Joe Sebok

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Todd Brunson followed in his father's footsteps, and he has more than proven himself in the poker world. Now another poker legend's offspring is doing the same in the form of Joe Sebok. He is also quickly producing results in his first two years on the poker scene and showing he isn't a fluke. He has already taken down three preliminary WPT events and has cashed for over a million dollars.

KL: Let's cut straight to the chase. Barry Greenstein is you dad, there must be pressure to perform. How do you feel about that?

As far as being Barry's son there are pluses and minuses and that's all you can say about that. I have gotten a lot of opportunities because I am his son, I get a lot of unfair criticism for the same reason because I am his kid, but you take the good with the bad. I certainly wouldn't have had the opportunities that I have gotten or the tutelage I have been able to learn from if I wasn't his son but I also wouldn't have been judged as harshly. I've had a pretty decent amount of success in the short amount of time that I have been playing but I always feel like it is never going to be enough until I really crack something huge, win a couple 10k's or something like that. Whereas most regular players would be pretty satisfied, certainly in the first two years, with the results I have had.

KL: Do you feel like you have something to prove and if you do, does that help you?

: I definitely feel that I have something to prove. Part of it is my own chip on my shoulder that I just have in general about going out and competing and wanting to be the best and wanting to do things bigger and better each and every time and part of it is what I just referred to, which is who's son I am. So I feel like I have to do more maybe than I have to. Maybe it is right on target, maybe I do need to do more and that's what people expect from me. It definitely fires me up, it gets me working, but it's a double edged sword. It keeps you motivated, it keeps you fired up, but it's also very frustrating, and it can be difficult to deal with. It is motivating at the same time; you just have to use it for what it is. Let me motivate you in spots when you need motivation and try not to get too down on yourself when you aren't able to meet the standards that you would like to.

KL: How has it been going lately, tournaments for you?

It's funny I feel like my answers are the same for everything, it is a tale of two worlds. I have had my best WPT finishes ever, I finished 7th at Bay 101 and right behind that I finished 13th in Reno and things have been going pretty well. I feel like I'm learning, I feel like I'm doing well. I am consistently getting a hold of a lot of chips and I am consistently becoming a threat to win basically every tournament I play, which is what you want but again for me close calls, everyone comes up and says congratulations but I just see it as a closer failure. Not being able to close the door on those two tournaments or even to make the final tables for me is very, very frustrating. In an absolute sense it has been going great, but in a Sebok sense it has been a little frustrating recently.

KL: How do you prepare to go in and play a tournament?

Joe: I don't do anything to prepare. I used to go in and say oh I have to do this, have to do that, get some sleep or I want to be this calm, whatever. Now I have a lot of faith in my ability to play. I like to just sit down, read the situation and get into my game. The one thing I do do is I generally don't take a lot of chances in the first couple hours, I like to pay attention to the players at my table and kind of see how all of that is going to shake down and that kind of tells me how I should be playing in the future. If there is anything I do, I just play slowly, but in terms of preparation I don't think I do a whole lot.

KL: Is that the same for the World Series, you don't really prepare?

Joe: Yeah I guess if anything during the World Series just I try to relax a little but more. I try not to go out as much; I try not to go out drinking. Usually In my down time I just like to hang out and watch movies and relax in my room a little more because it is such a grind, there are so many tournaments. Especially for someone like me who has so many media responsibilities as well with the radio show and all the different things I have going on. You just need to have some time to do nothing and relax. So if anything I will probably party less during the World Series.

KL: Do you have any predictions about the World Series for yourself or others?

Joe: It's always the same, I would like to win a bracelet or two, have a good showing, I am hoping that I am having an every other year showing in terms of in 2005 I did well, made a couple of final tables, 2006 I did jack sh*t so I am hoping this year it turns around again and I am able to go out there and do something. We will also have the bet going on; Gavin and I will be doing our bet again. I think we are going to involve Jeff Madsen this year, so be looking for that!

KL: Did Gavin get that tattoo?

Joe: Gavin got the tattoo! He now has my initials on himself. He got a shamrock with a crown on his shoulder with the initials JS right underneath.

KL: I thought he was going for his behind. He got it on his shoulder instead?

Joe: He was going to get it on his ass but we went down there and he didn't know where he wanted to get it. I didn't really care. You would think you would want to get a tattoo like that on your ass because it is a place that is seen less but Gavin went for the shoulder so I don't know, maybe he is proud of his affiliation with me.

KL: You are still doing the radio show?

Joe: Still doing the radio show, everything is going well. Be looking for it, we are doing some more interesting things for the World Series so we are just hoping to blow it up even bigger.

KL: You kind of have a fast style how does that help you?

Joe: It helps you certainly when you play fast when you pick up a hand, because no one ever thinks you have a hand. Which is why a lot of times you get used to seeing the same people have those monster chip stacks because people just assume, oh that guy has nothing, he's crazy. It is unbelievable the amount of action I will get on good hands. I will have guys drawing dead, putting all their money in the pot cause they just assume I'm bluffing or they assume I am doing something a lot crazier than I actually am so it helps me massively in that sense. The way it hurts you is that you have to gear it down a little. You can't bluff as much or maybe you have to be more selective about where you do bluff because you have to assume people are going to look you up a little bit more but for me it has more than made up in the action that I get.

KL: Do you play online?

Joe: I do play online; I play mostly on FullTilt and PokerStars like everyone else these days in the United States. Usually when I am not playing the tournaments I like to play the big Sunday events, but other than that I am usually pretty busy just playing all the live stuff.

KL: What are your thoughts on the UIGEA?

Joe: You know, it's just silly. Conservative religious based government's attempt to control something, which is just silly. There are so many other big issues going on with the war among other things. It is something I hope is going to go away after the next election and will be rightfully put back where it was. It is people playing games online so I think the country as a whole needs to understand that that's what it is and stop being so insane about it and acting like it's going to destroy the country or the world so hopefully things will return to normal in a couple of years.

*Photo by Craig Cunningham *

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