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RankingHero Interview: Magic-the-Gathering and Poker Hero Gabriel Nassif

The Magic:The Gathering champion is also France's WSOP number one by final tables and ITM finishes, though he has yet to get a winner's photo in the gallery of bracelet holders. Gabriel Nassif first cashed in the World Series in 2005 and this summer he marked the ten-year anniversary by scoring his biggest WSOP cash to date, with a runner-up finish in the $3,000 buy-in NLHE Event 19!  And though the title eluded him once again, Nassif remained as immune to tilting as ever: 

"..I wish the run good would have lasted just a few more hands but I was fairly happy with my play, which doesn’t happen very often, so I wasnt too disappointed. That's really what it comes down to for me: if I feel like I've played good, I'm not going to be upset."

Photos: WSOP Event 19 stream http://www.wsop.com/videos/?vid=312


Have you had time to explore the new RKH feature - HeroScore, wich is essentially a ranking that measures not just results, but also contribution and popularity? Anything that you found surprising, interesting, disappointing?..

I've explored it a bit but haven’t completely updated mine yet. I find the idea pretty cool and fun even though I don't really like the "brag" side of it.

Does success in poker come with a responsibility in your opinion? (Or is the whole point of a poker career the freedom from all kinds of obligations & responsibilities :)

To some extent yes, but I feel it's true for anything in life. If you care about the game and it's growth, you should try and contribute obivously but if you've worked very hard to become good and make a lot of money and don't feel like you owe anything to anyone in the poker world, I think that's fine too. I'm sure a lot of players feel that way (Daniel Colman comes to mind) but they still want to have a positive impact in others aspects of life.

In what ways (if at all) are sport stars and Hollywood celebrities better ambassadors for the game than pros? In what ways (if at all) are women better ambassadors than men?

Sport stars and Hollywood celebrities can bring new players to the game and the same goes for women since still very few women play poker or give tournaments a shot. Pros can be useful to attract people who already play to an online site. You see someone like @Jason Mercier winning a bunch of SCOOP events on Stars and you might want to do like him but someone like Neymar can bring soccer fans, people who've never played poker online or even with friends, to the game.

Right now you are on top of several French poker rankings with your overall WSOP performance (by final tables and by ITM finishes, for example). Which achievement / record would you rather have in your own resume - Hellmuth’s 14 bracelets, Sklansky’s best-selling books, or Negreanu’s all-time live earnings?

I think it's pretty close between Negreanu's and Hellmuth's records but I'd probably pick Daniel's. Sklansky's is a very distant third even though I am grateful for the books he's written since they were probably the best learning tool available when I started playing.

Last year you had our French members on fire with your 7 WSOP cashes and several final tables but the title still eluded you. You then said in an interview for @Pedro Canali:  “I think I have trouble in live tournaments because I don't take enough risks and play too tight so I always get at the final table as one of the short stacks. I'm still sometimes scared to bust whereas online I'd be willing to gamble in the same spot.
Any important lessons learned for this year?

I still feel like I don't bluff enough in the NL tournaments. A lot of players play too loose and you can really put a lot of pressure when you know they have a weak range but it's something I have trouble doing. I usually know what I'm supposed to do but I just can't pull the trigger when I need to. I'm also a bit sad cause I feel like I've fallen behind in the mixed games. There's still a lot of dead money but the best players, who get to play all the games on stars.com or in live cash games, are so much better then the rest of the field that it's hard to have an edge. I was planning on playing the 10k 10-game mix event but I think I might stick to Limit Hold'Em and PLO because I'm too rusty in the Stud and Triple Draw games.

How do you explain the appeal and ‘magic’ of the WSOP and how important do you think Vegas is to the experience?

I think it's the people that show up that make it special. The fields and the prizepools are huge, and almost all the best players come to try and win a bracelet every year. Even players who might make more money playing live or online cash games want to win a bracelet, someone like @Alexandre Luneau last year or @Douglas Polk this year. Those guys have won millions and they're battling in $1500 events in which their ROI is way less then what they can win in a good cash game session. I don't think that Vegas and what it offers has much to do with the WSOP's magic, it just happens to be the place where it all started and it became a tradition.

How do you feel when the WSOP ends? Any tricks or ‘ritual’ you’ve developed to help you ‘go back to normal’?

Well it usually ends when I bust the Main Event so it's never very fun but even though I love the WSOP, I'm happy to be back home after being away for two months. Sometimes, I take a short vacation and if not I'll take a few days off poker before getting back on the grind.

You are a hero of two games and their respective communities - poker and MTG. Have you ever been tempted to take up competitively another game or sport? 

I sometimes wish I had given basketball a better shot but I doubt I could have made it at a high level. Besides that, I've never really been tempted to take up anything else competitively. I think most people who become very good at a sport or game have done so by spending most of their childhood/teenage years doing that thing. That's when your brain is still developing and it's much easier to learn things. You also have all the time in the world :)

How has Team MTG been doing in the 2015 WSOP so far?

I don't think any mtg'ers have won a bracelet yet. I have a second, so does @Brock Parker and @Bryn Kenney but people like Efro [@Eric Froehlich] , Williams [@David Williams] , Ike [@Isaac Haxton]  or @Scott Seiver haven’t played a ton of events.

You scored your first WSOP cash in the 36th World Series in 2005. Last week , exactly ten years later, you scored your biggest cash to date. Are you happy to mark this anniversary in this way or is nothing short of a bracelet enough :)

I hadn’t thought about that. All things considered, I was happy with my second place finish. I wish the run good would have lasted just a few more hands but I was fairly happy with my play, which doesn’t happen very often, so I wasnt too disappointed. That's really what it comes down to for me: if I feel like I've played good, I'm not going to be upset.

[published by @Annie RKH, June 25, 2015]

#RKHinterview #MTGpoker  


An Interview with Gabriel Nassif by Pedro Canali - Ranking Hero www.rankinghero.com

Players of Magic:The Gathering Who have Discovered the Magic of Poker - Ranking HeroHere at RankingHero we are particularly fond of Magic:The Gathering. And not simply because we love all strategic, community-building, subculture-generating addictive games (though these would all be valid reasons in themselves). We have an additional very special reason for this affinity with MTG - our own founder and RankingHero ambassador, @Pedro Canali, is a champion of the game. Back in 2004, in his very first professional tournament, Canali won the Pro Tour-Columbus with a deck called “Affinity” :)www.rankinghero.com


Thank you for the interview, Gabriel, and GL in the 10K!!!


Tournament Chipcounts | Official World Series of Poker Onlinewww.wsop.com

Scott Seiver and One of the Most Memorable Hands in WSOP 2014

The intimidating $1,000,000 buy-in and unparalleled publicity associated with the Big One for #OneDrop put enormous pressure on the players and made risky play all the more dangerous.

Watch #MTGpoker hero @Scott Seiver  and what some have called 'the best WSOP hand ever' and 'one of the wildest moments in poker TV history':

@Tony Dunst: "Until I watched the Seiver and Tobias hand, I'd never seen someone disgusted with their opponent for letting them win the pot."

@Phil Ivey:"Never seen such a disgusted reaction to winning a pot as @scott_seiver bluff"

Seiver was later eliminated in 6th place by @Daniel Negreanu, and just four hands later @Tobias Reinkemeier finished 5th. He, too, was eliminated by Negreanu.


4 Comments Display all

une explication simple et précise :) 

Vu comment il joue le coup il doit call car il y a énormément de bluff dans la range adverse et bcp bcp bcp de tirages :)
M>ais bon 1 000 000 $ c 'est bcp bcp bcp d'argent !

Ok  mais le résultat c qu il a. Perdu avec la paire la plus fort près flop v bête quand surtout quand tu c que c un gors tournoi mais bon on peux en discuter au poker j ai appris une chose les joueurs on chacun leur philosophie de jeux voilà 

Weekly RankingHero Highlights

A hot summer contest on RankingHero this week - our community voted for Top 3 hottest players and unsurprisingly, @Liv Boeree was the absolute favorite :) Poker's own cover girl is as smart and generous as she is beautiful, and we hope many will be inspired by the charitable cause she is promoting together with @Philipp Gruissem and @Igor Kurganov - Raising for Effective Giving.

Check out the entries under the #M2top3 hashtag (make sure you switch your language settings to Francais in order to see the submissions by our French-speaking members).

This week we honored three young stars of #GermanPoker :

George Danzer Only Exception in Total US Domination in WSOP 2014 Stats

Will the Next Triple Crown Go to Youngest Triple Bracelet Winner Dominik Nitsche?

Ole Schemion Took Home a Million+ Cash on his First Trip to Vegas

Our birthday boy - KidPoker @Daniel Negreanu turned 40 on Saturday and threw a huge party in Las Vegas (check out his dance moves ;)

We've had #MTGpoker news as well - Magic:The Gathering World Champion @Andre Coimbra's engagement to Katerina Malasidou, as well as @Manuel Bevand's nomination for 2014 Most Inspiring Player!

We'd love to hear from you on the 'For or Against Headphones in Tournament Poker' debate and if you are in the pro-headphones camp, please share your favorite poker playlist with us :)

Welcome to @Nicholas Galtos and @Nicolas Feyssat to mention just a couple of players who joined the RankingHero community this week and congratulations to all of our members who cashed in WPTN Brussels - @Georgi Kostalevski and @David Bruet to mention just a few! GG and GL in your next live events!

Special thanks to our lovely moderator @Elena RKH and all the contestants in the weekly mission - hope to see you soon in the photo gallery dedicated to the RankingHero patch in action! Thanks to @SuitedAce @Socius and all the other members sharing interesting and fun poker links and info :)

Counting on you all to spread the RankingHero news on Facebook and wishing you loads of good poker times in the coming week!

Yours truly,

@Annie RKH 



you're most cetainly welcome @Annie RKH and RankingHero. we enjoy sharing fun and interesting poker articles here

Vote for MTGPoker Pro Manuel Bevand as 2014 Most Inspiring Player


@Manuel Bevand : "Magic is an exceptionally complex and tactically rich game. It also requires a lot of creativity"

French Winamax pro Manuel Bevand was interviewed by PokerListings on the occasion of his nomination for 2014 Most Inspiring Player Award. You can vote for him here and meanwhile, here is an excerpt from the interview:

PL: Like a lot of other talented poker players, you’re a former - very successful - Magic: the Gathering player. Do you play Hearthstone or other card games? Do you think that these games are more or less fulfilling than poker in the long term?
MB: Magic is an exceptionally complex and tactically rich game. It also requires a lot of creativity.

I enjoy playing Magic much more than poker, but it’s almost impossible to make a living playing Magic.

I do not play Hearthstone. I gave it a try but it felt like a simplified version of Magic. I have to say I have neither the time nor the energy to dig deeper and see if I’m wrong.

PL: You started playing poker in 2005. What’s the most precious thing poker has brought you, on a personal level?

MB: Poker has changed the way I think in life. I’m less naive than I used to be and I’ve become more logical and pragmatic when I have to make a decision.
In some ways, it has revealed my true personality, both in its noble and weaker aspects. I also understand people better than before. And of course I’ve met a lot of incredible people!

Full interview on PokerListings 



Voted! :) 

Good share thanks 

Congratulations to Andre Coimbra and Katerina Malasidou on Their Engagement

The lovely #MTGpoker couple @Andre Coimbra and @Katerina Malasidou have announced their engagement! May the Magic that gathered them together always stay with them on the long and exciting journey ahead!


Congrats ! :) 

Congrats, that's sweet ;)

congratulations and best wishes to both of them

Weekly RankingHero Highlights

This week RankingHero brought you several exclusive interviews: @Nicolas Levi spoke to @Sean Yu, who took our patch to the final table and all the way to 1st place in the inaugural #WPT500 $1 Million GTD; @Pedro Canali interviewed the amazing @Jon Finkel - recognized as one of the greatest players of Magic:The Gathering, but also a successful poker player, sports bettor, finance genius, and - we are so proud to say! - RankingHero member. Make sure you follow the #MTGpoker hashtag and MTG Poker page on RKH for future interviews and posts! In addition, @Bruno Fitoussi - one of the 'founding fathers' of poker in France is Dans le carré and talks about the past, present, and future of poker. Last but not least, you will find a link to an interesting 2013 interview with Mark Newhouse - the back-to-back November Niner.

Meanwhile, the Main Event played down to the #NovemberNine and #WSOP2014 players were leaving Las Vegas - find out how some of them said goodbye in the social media.

@Daniel Colman has been the talk of the poker community ever since he won $15 million in the Big One for One Drop and - after declining to talk to the media - shared his ambivalent feelings about the game in a forum post. However, this hasn't stopped him from scoring another 6-figure cash in a 100K #SuperHighRoller at the @ARIA Resort & Casino, which took him one place up - to fourth position - in the all-time US ranking.

Check out the #PokerCrimeFiles hashtag on RKH for news about Macau Millionaire Paul Phua's arrest in Vegas on illegal sports betting charges and about his famous lawyer - 'the Phil Ivey of attorneys', David Chesnoff.

We are very happy that @Flaminio Malaguti (find out more about his extraordinary live tournament record here) has officially joined RankingHero! Please also welcome and give distinctions to @Nancy Birnbaum @Marius Pospiech @James Akenhead @Jeffrey Ray @Christophe Thirion and all of the new members of our community.

Thanks to the  #M1debut participants who shared stories about their poker beginnings and to our own @Elena RKH for organizing and moderating this fun contest! We hope the winners will take the RankingHero patch to the felt and help us expand the photo gallery RankingHeroes in Action.

Wishing you another good week of poker playing & winning & learning & sharing. We'll be looking foward to your updates here on RankingHero and on our Facebook page!

Yours truly,

@Annie RKH