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Poker News | People in Poker | Poker Interviews

The Round Table – Alec ‘traheho’ Torelli Takes Over the World

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He’s one of the top players in online cash games, he’s won an FTOPS Main Event, and he just turned 21 a couple weeks ago. Alec ‘traheho’ Torelli isn’t just a poker player, he’s a businessman too. He recently launched a poker website created to aid players in transferring money between different poker sites called chipwalkers.com. Right now he’s traveling around Europe and while on the road he joined The Round Table.

KL: How did you get involved with poker?

Alec:
I've always been exposed to the game. My family used to play poker every holiday, which I loved, since I was a kid. I always looked forward to the games and win or lose I had a good time. I never thought there was any skill in the game and just played for fun. It wasn't until I was 15 or so when poker first aired on TV that I started playing. My friend Blaine would hold regular tournaments at his house and one day after the beach he invited me over to play. I lucked out and one other guy and myself ended up taking home all the money (I won $11) and from there the rest is history. I played and read frequently and did basically whatever I could to play as much as possible. From there I moved to online around 16 and had some luck early, winning a $30 tournament on Party Poker for $2,200. I ran up a bunch and went broke several times but from then on I was hooked.

KL: What's better, winning an event like FTOPS or going on a sick run at the cash tables?

Alec:
Hands down winning FTOPS. There's no feeling in poker like winning a tournament regardless of the size purely because you are winning. It’s not even about the money; just the competitive aspect of a tournament makes it that much better. I never really have satisfaction out of winning money in cash games because it’s just a big cycle. You can never really win because you play on a daily basis and it’s more of one long session with a lot of bumps. However a tournament is unique in that one winner is crowned and for that they are both a blessing and a curse. It’s nearly impossible to win a big one due to the large field size, but the feeling is worth the effort.

KL: Where do you play?

Alec:
I generally play online at Full Tilt Poker and I play anything from $10-$20 to $200-$400 depending on a lot of factors.

KL: What are you currently up to?

Alec:
I’m in Europe for the EPT's as well as some vacation. I generally combine the two. I stopped in Paris on the way to San Remo to visit my friend who is studying abroad here. After that I’m meeting a buddy from Holland, who I met at EPT Prague, to head down to San Remo. After that we have a week off which I’m spending in Parma, Italy (inspired by the book "Playing for Pizza" which was stationed there.) Then I’m off to Monaco and hopefully San Tropez in the South of France which I heard was beautiful. My dad and his girlfriend are also out here so it’s been great to combine family, poker, friends, travel and vacation all into one! I’m also trying to keep up with my training for my triathlon which has been a huge challenge for me while trying to see sights and do everything else. I have it rough, I know.

KL: Tell us about chipwalkers.

Alec:
Chipwalkers is a site my two buddies and I started (credit to Nick Rainey who thought of the idea) which allows people to move money across different poker sites safely and efficiently for a small percent. It's great because so many people are being scammed these days trying to switch money between sites, Full Tilt and Stars for example and it’s good to finally have a place that people can rely on. We've done great business so far and are continuing to improve the site as necessary and the demand increases. We also offer exchange of W$ and are working on expanding to the European sites in the very near future. We are also working on partnering with some other sites (which I can’t mention until things are finalized) to help both us and them work together to produce a larger client base. We all have different roles in the company and we work very well together and can accomplish a lot when we divide up the work load. I really think we have a bright future as a company and I am very proud of the quick success we've seen so far. We've done nearly $50,000 worth of transfers in the first few weeks alone!

KL: How hard has it been not being legally allowed to play in the casinos in the US?

Alec:
Honestly it hasn't been an issue for probably three or so years. The only thing I haven't played is any of the live poker events but the cash games are usually better anyways. I think more people think I'm over 21 than not. As a matter of fact one of my good friends, Justin "Boosted J" Smith, whose wedding I attended last year in August thought I was 23 until I just told him it was my 21st birthday last week. Also, one of my best friends Josh "Foshio" Klehr went a good two years before he found out I was underage. It's pretty fun actually. I think a lot of people are going to be surprised reading this. I guess I'll take this time to apologize to everyone that I lied to over the last few years. It wasn't personal, it’s just business.

KL: Who are your friends in poker? Do you travel together? Talk poker together?

Alec:
I have a lot of friends in the poker world that I've made over the past 3 or so years traveling and they are great. We travel together and discuss poker regularly. One of my best friends and I have been to probably 20 countries together. It’s been a blast and it’s amazing how good of friends you make traveling and how quickly you become so close. I mean you go through so much together and can relate on so many levels. I mean who else can you talk to when you lose $100,000 and have them tell you that you're normal? I used to categorize my friends between poker and regular and I feel there is no gap anymore. They are one in the same.

KL: I've heard you like to have fun on the road. Tell me your best story of a crazy night.

Alec:
Last summer during the WSOP there were (naturally) a bunch of poker players out in Vegas. I was staying with several - Mike "Sapster" Pesek better known as Pancakes, Dane "Pimpownage" Lomas, Josh "Foshio" Klehr, Nick "Fangus" Cannon and myself. We went out to dinner regularly (mostly at Bellagio) and this was going to be typical night for us. Wake up at 5 p.m. hang out, shower, get breakfast (what normal people call dinner) at Shintaro, Fix or Olives, sake bomb and then play poker or go out for the night. The only difference was that we decided to meet up with Isaac "WestmenloAA" Baron and his whole house. We ended up with 12 people at Shintaro, the Japanese Tepanyaki restaurant. We got a Tepanyaki table (one of those half circle ones for large parties) and all of us barely fit. By the time we got there and seated, it was around 9 p.m.

We all agreed to play Credit Card Roulette to decide who pays for the bill. This game is played (generally designed for parties of 4 or more) by everyone in the group giving the waitress a credit card (one per person) at which point he/she shuffles them behind their back, drawing one at a time randomly and placing them on the table. The last one to be drawn pays for the entire bill! As you can imagine, this can get insane with 12 people at an expensive restaurant, especially when alcohol is involved.

The night started out fairly normal with everyone ordering appetizers and a few drinks here and there. The problem arose when we started making prop bets in which the winner is immune from putting in a credit card and the loser must put in a credit card for the other person. By the time the betting was done, Dane, Josh, and IRock had 0, Nick had 2, I had 3 and everyone else had one. This caused a huge problem because once people became immune from paying they started ordering bottles upon bottles of Dom Perignon and Cristal. Once a few people started ordering (being poker players), everyone else started realizing that if they were to pay for the bill, there was no point in ordering a meal that cost $50 when everyone else's cost $200 because you wouldn't be getting full value on your meal. This created another huge problem for those of us who had a better chance of paying because for entrees everyone ordered Kobe Beef and Lobster.

By the time everything was said and done the restaurant was completely empty around 11 p.m. and we still had the entire staff working for us. We had three or so chefs, two bartenders and the manager over our table watching twelve 20 year olds (half of us were underage drinking but they still didn't bother to card us because we were ordering so much they figured we had to be over 21) order the most food they had ever seen. When the bill arrived, I was the first to look at it.

$7,000.

Holy shit, I thought. I have a 25% chance of paying (3 cards in out of 12). I’m losing $1,750 in equity on this damn meal. How the hell is that possible? We asked the manager, and he said it was the biggest bill they ever had by far.

When it came time to play credit card roulette, everyone was dreading it. But by that time everyone was so smashed that it almost didn't seem real that whoever lost would pay for dinner what most people make in 3 months. You could only imagine the look on the waitresses face when we explained to her how we were paying for dinner. She began to draw. Andrew, Blake…It got down to 7 people. Nick and I both had ALL of our cards left. I’m 3/7 to pay. I was so tilted. Alec, Nick…2/5. My chances are increasing. Life tilt. Alec. Mike. "Sweet," I thought. Down to 1/3. Alec!!! "YESSSSS IM FREE!!!!" How sick is that. I had 25% chance to pay and dodged a HUGE bullet. It was down to Nick and Isaac. I remember everyone saying, "Are you guys going to make a deal and just pay $3500 each?"

"F**K, No," Isaac said. "I'm not losing."

She pulled the final card, "Nick," she said.

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