Sam Razavi is the Godzilla of Asian poker.
The UK-born pro currently resides with his family in the Philippines and as such plays his poker primarily on the Asian Poker Tour (APT). To say he has been a success is an understatement. Razavi has won the APT Player of the Year award for the past four consecutive years.
We caught up with Razavi to ask him how on earth he manages to be so great, why online poker is like Nintendo, and the difference between making love and sex.
What were the steps that secured you a fourth Asian Poker Tour Player of the Year Award?
“It’s all about the dedication and commitment to playing all stops and the drive to remain one step ahead of the competition. I let that slip towards the end of the year and it nearly cost me the title. But I took a strategic decision not to play the Main Event at the Finale to focus on the side events giving me multiple opportunities for points, and I think that worked in my favour. It might have been the difference between winning and coming in a close second.”
What do you see when you look at the world of online poker?
“It puts me in the mind of how one might have felt towards their Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) after they released the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). Who wants to play a game where all the cheat codes* (*see “HUD”) are available to everyone? Where’s the challenge in that?”
What do you see when you look at the world of live poker?
“A fun, social game that should be approached responsibly like any form of gambling. The element of luck gives recreational or amateur players a chance at life-changing money for an affordable investment; the element of skill provides the opportunity to carve a career out of it.
“It must be remembered, however, that a “hero” in the field of cards and a “hero” in the area of fire fighting are two extremely different things. Humility will always breed success.”
Who is the person you would least like to touch and why?
“Donald Trump, I’d hate to catch whatever infected him.”
Who is the person you would most like to torture and why?
“I can’t think of anyone I hate so much that I would want to torture them, but I suppose Katie Hopkins comes close. The ideal torture would be to force her into a game of heads up poker against Doc Sands, where she is forced into a pre-flop min-clicking war that ends with Sands 6-bet shoving. That should keep her busy for about six years.”
Who would be sitting at your ideal Christmas dinner and why?
“Any Christmas dinner that involves my immediate family is perfect. Tommy Cooper would always have been welcomed in our house, though, or if one wants to get really extravagant, the cast of the “Carry On” films would have also been extended an equally heartfelt invitation.”
When have you been the most shocked and why?
“This was recently actually when I was back in the UK for my sisters wedding. I had a dream that there was a terrorist attack about to take place in Brighton. I was screaming at everyone to run; we were all running then I felt this heat on my back like there was a bomb just gone off. Just ahead of me was a gate slowly closing downwards. I jumped to the floor and rolled out (very James Bond like of course), and found myself in the streets of Paris. Just at that moment, I was awoken by my son who had rolled out of bed and landed face first on the floor. At breakfast, I learned of the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris the night before.”
What is the best habit you ever discovered and why?
“Sister Teresa, Italy, 2005. The weaving was spectacular.”
What’s the difference between making love and sex?
“You have sex when you’re feeling horny; you make love when you’re feeling romantic.”
What is the most stupid thing you have ever done?
“I once flew 24 hours from England to Australia to play a poker tournament. I watched half a season of Dexter on the in-flight entertainment. I landed the night before the Main Event, busted on Day One then changed my flight and flew home the next day so I could watch the other half.”
If I gave you 10,000 hours to work on anything what would it be and why?
“I would spend that time with my family and friends. Life is too fast paced and busy these days that “quality time” simply becomes an illusion. Spending a weekend together or having a get together of an evening doesn’t equate to “quality time”. If I had 10,000 hours free, I’d make some real quality time with everyone closest to me.”
Give my 14-year-old teenage son some advice.
“Always listen to your parents, even if you think they are wrong. Follow their advice and thank them for it, even if it turns out that they were wrong. What works for one person doesn’t always work for another, but nothing is more valuable in your younger years than the voice of experience.
“If you bunk off school, do it only a handful of times, and make sure it’s during Geography.
“Aside from that, never let anyone discourage you from chasing your dreams.”