Mod Note (Andy): INTERVIEW / AMA TUESDAYS - along with Monday @mentions, Wednesday Caption Contests and Thursday WSO Mentors, each Tuesday at 8pm ET we're going to feature an interview or AMA (new or from the vault). This interview originally went up September 2012
This is the second and final part of my interview with David Daneshgar (See Part 1 here). This time the focus is not on his awesome up and coming business (www.bloomnation.com) but rather on his interesting background as a professional winner.
How did you feel the moment you won the tournament at the 2008 WSOP?
It was exhilarating; a surreal moment. There are a few videos of me out there that show how emotional I was.
Just to give you some clarity there are 40 tournaments a year ranging from a couple hundreds to a couple of millions for first place. In WSOP 2008 there were 2700 contestants, so no one in their wildest dreams was thinking "Oh I am gonna win this", but when you get deep you start assessing the possibility of being infamous, of actually winning.
The day before the final, when there were 13 or 14 players I started to realize: I'm in Nevada, LA (home) is really close, I have my mom and brother here and all the support I can have. I can win this.
What happened that night?
The very first hand I lost a massive loss, I was one of the chip leaders and all of a sudden I was in the last place. My mom kept telling me: If it's meant to be then it's meant to be, if you have to let it go, just let it go. "Maybe you're meant to lost that hand so you can win another and change the whole dynamic".
Is that what happened?
That's exactly what happened, and it was surreal for me! I was so entrenched in poker since I was very young and it's the greatest feeling when you win something that you've always wanted to win.
Did the win quench your thirst and hunger for poker or made you hungrier?
It did, at a certain point, I kind of simmered down on poker, and I wasn't playing as much and I kind of got in the business side of things. But I certainly have a lot of high-end clientele that I am tutoring and teaching so this gives me my much needed poker dose.
Do you enjoy teaching people?
This whole thing started because at Berkley I was teaching a gaming and statistics class. I think it's really interesting to me, it is like a puzzle, I get those people and I try to find out why they are not winning. I can't make them win, I can only give them the tools and make them win by themselves, but it's interesting to break down the psychology and the understanding and human behavior and instill those tools in someone to make them a better player. It is fulfilling, and obviously it pays well to so that doesn't hurt.
Do you see signs in your students that tell you whether they are going to be great poker players or just hopeless cases?
I charge a lot, so most of the people that come to me are high networth individuals so most of them are mostly executives, hedge fund managers and so forth. All of them could beat their games, so it is highly likely they can beat their rich friends at a poker game, because they get it.
If I pester you to teach me something about poker right now, what would it be?
I would teach you the most important things in poker. People.
Yes, in split seconds people can't really think deep. I use this in business as well; I used to learn that everyone who acts weak is strong and everyone who acts strong is weak. If someone is like "woohoo, I have a great hand" that usually means they don't have a good hand. Would someone with a great hand subconsciously want to advertise his or her winning possibility? No, that's what amateurs do.
Do you miss playing poker professionally?
It is funny, because business has the same high and drive. I really haven't missed the feeling because www.bloomnation.com gives me the same passionate feeling.
Will you go back to exclusively playing poker?
When this catches on and we have expanded and I have more time for myself, at exit so to speak, I think I will go back to playing poker.
Poker itself is not an easy profession to make a living off, it's a great hobby but it's difficult to have the whole variance of your income depending on the swings of games. Emotionally it is devastating; you lose a 100,000 in a week and you feel like shit.
When do you want to retire, David?
Because I am doing what I like I don't think I will put a number on when I want to retire.
Where do you want to retire?
Los Angeles- I have to stay close to family. As I've said we are Persian so family ties are very strong. I'd like to be in NY for a year, but in the end I want to live where I can raise a family.