Mobile Gambling and Poker

Let's Get to Know Tim Phan

Maintaining a career and a family is hard enough for the average Joe, but throw in travel and poker as your occupation and that brings it to a whole new level. Tim Phan, 32, is making it look easy, though. Phan finished 24th in last year's WSOP Main Event for a $304,000 cash. He continued his run at this year's World Series, making a final table in a $1,000 no-limit event. He's earned more than $1.2 million in tournaments, including wins at Larry Flynt's Grand Slam of Poker and the Bike's Winnin' o' the Green, and fourth in last year's WPT Legends of Poker. Let us talk with him about the tournament grind.

Question: How do you stay sharp when you play so many tournaments a year, day after day, week after week?

Answer: I don't know how. I really don't think I'm playing the best I can. It really wears down on you and has an effect on your game. If I would take time off I probably could play more efficiently. It does have its effects, but you just to do the best you can. I bounce my kids up and down for about a half-hour every morning and that's pretty much all the exercise I get.

Question: What is your favorite city to travel to for tournaments?

Answer: I like Los Angeles because I only live 20 minutes away! I hate everywhere else because I lose too much money, Vegas, Atlantic City, all those gambling games I just lose too much. That makes it even worse; it makes the trip even longer and makes you even more homesick.

Question: What is your greatest poker accomplishment?

Answer: Still playing… that's it! They haven't busted me and I am still playing. You win money, lose money. I'm still winning.

Question: What does it take to be successful on the road?

Answer: I think it takes inner peace. Everyone is different… you have to find your own spot. Just be comfortable with everything and don't push yourself at times and be able to be calm and relaxed when you have to be, because there is a lot of anxiety. You get anxious and there is a lot of pressure, a lot of stress when you are not doing too well. If you can kind of find a calm, you will be ok. Question: What do you do for fun on the road?

Answer: I gamble. It's not very fun… but I do it for fun.

Question: What do you like to gamble on?

Answer: I am hooked on the Pai Gow tile games in Vegas… I'm just hooked! You don't even have to look, you just close your eyes and feel it with your fingers… the "click, click, click." I lose a ton, but I'm hooked on that game.

Question: Do you worry about expenses if you are past that point, do you worry about going broke?

Answer: No and no.

Question: How do you overcome the luck factor?

Answer: How do I overcome it? I rely on it! No… you just do the best you can when you can and hopefully you don't get too unlucky. If you get a little luck every once in awhile that should be enough. You just try and play good.

Question: How much does it cost you to be on tour?

Answer: For the whole year for me… just for tournaments… well this year is more expensive just because of the H.O.R.S.E and last year I didn't play as many. I figure this year I will spend about $400,000.

Question: Do you try to support your tournament play from cash-game winnings?

Answer: See, that's kind of tricky because I don't play as much anymore. Ideally, that is what you are supposed to do. I am kind of draining funds for the time being because I have a 6-month-old and I have been staying home a lot. I am just draining funds till I can go back and play more.

Question: How do you decide which tournaments to play?

Answer: I decide by the distance the tournament is from home as well as the prize pool.

Question: How did you get into poker?

Answer: When I was like 5 my mom used to have a house game and we would play Asian stud. So I have been playing poker for a long time. For here I started playing at the Bicycle in Los Angeles when I was about 19 because I saw my mom playing. I figured if my mom played it, there must be something to it.

Question: Do you have any future poker goals?

Answer: My future goal in poker is not to go broke!