Name: Brian Hastings
Birthplace: State College, Pennsylvania (USA)
Childhood: Grew up in Pennsylvania
Current Residence: Vancouver, BC (Canada) / Fort Lauderdale, Florida (USA)
Marital Status: Single
Profession: Professional Poker Player (primarily online)
Previous Occupation: Student and Teacher
Number of WSOP Cashes: 2 (plus 1 WSOP Circuit cash)
Number of WSOP final-table appearances: 2
Number of WSOP gold bracelet victories (with this tournament): 1
Best Previous WSOP finish: 8th ($10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Mixed-Max at WSOP Europe 2011)
First-Place Prize Money: $371,498
Total WSOP Earnings: $448,232
WINNER QUOTES (POST-TOURNAMENT INTERVIEW)
QUESTION: You won your first WSOP gold bracelet. How does it feel?
HASTINGS: It feels great. I was amongst everyone else, when I started getting into poker in like 2003. You know, I was part of the poker boom generation watching all the WSOPs on TV. Winning a bracelet was always a goal of mine. I’m more of a cash game player now, so I think that had taken a little bit of a back seat as a goal. But, it’s still pretty darn cool.
QUESTION: Is it better to be under the radar when you play? Some people may know about your online experience, but you have relatively few live tournament results worthy of note, until now.
HASTINGS: I don’t think I’m under the radar with any of the players in this field. I don’t think I’m sneaking up on anyone here. Maybe the sportsbook linemaker in the Rio (laughing). Yeah, one of my roommates bet $1,000 on me and cashed.
QUESTION: Talk a bit about your final match. It was quicker than many were expecting.
HASTINGS: Well, for one thing, he seemed like -- from what I know about him, he’s a mid-stakes no-limit cash game player. I read a tweet by him this morning saying, ‘Is my opponent going to man-up and buy-in for all three?’ So I’m just like ‘no, I’m going to buy-in for one and he’s going to be pissed off.’ And, I just got off to kind of a quick start. I had a hand where I over bet K-4 on a king-high board on the river and got paid off by the second pair where I made a really big bet -- like 225K into 160K or something like that. He rebought like right away after that. From there, it was some back and forth, but I still had my chips and we just played a bunch of 20-30 big-blind poker and I got lucky in some good spots.
QUESTION: How does Jason Mo compare to the other guys you played on no-limit?
HASTINGS: He was tough. He was one of the toughest opponents I played, for sure. I thought he played a good game. If anything though, I’d say he’s stronger deeper than he is shorter. Although, I don’t think he did anything badly shorter, but you could just tell it’s not his thing and he doesn’t play it very much.
QUESTION: You’ve posted some huge scores online. How does this compare to one big pots you win online?
HASTINGS: My biggest days online were a bit bigger than this, but this is still no joke. It’s for sure one of the bigger winning days I’ve had in my life. I think the bracelet means more than the money, honestly. I mean, the money’s great, especially when I’ve been on a downswing playing cash games out here. $370K is a lot of money to win.
QUESTION: What are your plans for the next year? Are you going back to Canada to play online poker?
HASTINGS: I don’t really have any plans to go back there at the moment. I actually recently bought a condo in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida -- and I know one option for playing online, and I don’t actually know how much I’m going to do this, but they have cheap, quick flights to the Bahamas. So I can see myself making some few-day trips, some week-long trips going to the Bahamas and playing online. But other than that, I’m going to get more involved with DraftDay, a company I’m involved with and some of my good friends, Taylor Caby and Andrew Wiggins founded. And, I’m going to play some live poker in Florida and travel a little bit. Play some WTP’s and the rest of the WSOP, obviously.
QUESTION: Here’s your chance. What’s DraftDay?
HASTINGS: Draftday.com is a website in which you can play daily fantasy sports for money. It’s completely legal in the U.S. UIEGA permits it. You can deposit via credit card or PayPal. Basically the games are daily fantasy sports, meaning they last one day. It’s kind of structured like an online poker lobby. There are guaranteed tournaments and sit-and-go tournament that only run if they fill up the players. It’s really fun. Right now we have football, basketball, baseball, and hockey. We’re hoping to add more sports like Premier League Soccer and MMA in the future, and I’m real excited with where it’s going.
QUESTION: This is a very unique tournament in the sense that it allows you between the matches to go research your opponents. You have the opportunity to go online or ask some friends about an opponent. It’s a very unusual kind of format.
HASTINGS: I’m not doing anything too advanced. Tommy Chen -- who I played in the semifinals -- I already knew who he was. He was pretty active posting on CardRunners a few years ago and one of my roommates has played a lot of mixed games cash with him, so I got some reads there. And then, Jason Mo -- I found out from Twitter. Mutual friends were tweeting. So I found out who he was that way. And then basically found out he’s a mixed stakes no-limit regular and that’s really all I knew. I didn’t know anything specific.
QUESTION: Last thing. Anyone you want to give a shout-out to in terms of your poker career or maybe a mentor?
HASTINGS: I think I’m done with shout-outs for now