Meet Ian ‘ApokerJoker2' Steinman, who reigned supreme at the WSOP.com online poker tournaments in 2016. This year, he's a name to watch out for as he's participating at the World Series of Poker live tables.
Steinman, from Carson City, traveled to Las Vegas this summer to test his poker prowess in the live arena, and true enough, his online success is no fluke. He got five cashes, reached his first final table, and earned almost double his starting stack as he progresses to Day 2 of the Main Event.
He actually visits Las Vegas to play a handful of events each year at the WSOP, but this year is a little different than the others he's been to. This year, he made a deep run in the first event he signed up for, Event #5 The Colossus III - $ 565 NLHE, for $5,199, while one of his best friends Taylor Black finished 2nd place for $545,430. With his friend's success, Steinman drew enough confidence to remain and continue joining in for a shot at the next gold bracelet events.
Steinman said, "Usually, I would come out, play four or five events, brick them all and then go home. This summer, I did the same thing. I came out, played four or five and had a deep run in Colossus. I was planning on playing four or five, but I ended up only playing Colossus, running deep in it and watched one of my best friends get second in it. And that was awesome, but we talk poker every single day. If he can do it, I can do it. I keep telling him if he hadn't made that final table, who knows what would've happened. Because it did so much for my confidence to see someone that I really trust and we really trust each other in the game, to see him do so well was enough motivation for me."
The newly found motivation to carry on playing at the next events certainly turned out well for him. A few weeks after the Colossus event, he cashed in at the Monster Stack and found himself among the top 10 players of Event #52 $1,500 NLHE where he played at the final table and finished 7th for $48,276, the biggest live cash of his career to date. He is aiming to surpass that over the next days, as he recently got 95,000 after playing at Main Event Day 1B.
He said, "I really credit playing before playing online because I started playing when I was like 16 and I just got all those skills before I got my fundamentals. Then I met some good players and I got some fundamentals because online, obviously, there are no live reads.
It's his second time in a row to shell out $10,000 to participate in poker's biggest event in the world. On Day 1, he said he was comfortable playing as he deemed it's the softest starting table he's had all year, "My table was great, for me at least. That's pretty common in the Main Event. It's crazy because of all my starting tables this summer, the Main Event might have been my easiest starting table. I played a few $1,500's, a $3K, a $1K and everyone was pretty competent. Then you come to the Main Event and there are just so many players. There just aren't enough good players in the world to be at every table."
At this point of his career, the 20-something Steinman considers himself as an online poker pro. However, his personality isn't the usual type (who wears hoodies, headphones, and prefers not to talk while playing) we see in live games. Instead of exuding an aura ‘I can't be bothered while I'm playing', Steinman likes to talk to his opponents and lighten up the mood at the table, "I haven't worn a hoodie or headphones all summer. I just played 10 hours and I wasn't quiet for more than 30 seconds. That's always been my game. Talk to people, lighten them up. I feel like I've always had such a good live feel."
Despite being successful so far, Steinman admitted he doesn't want to become a lifelong grinder and wishes to someday find a career that will not require him grinding out poker events, "I think this might be a common theme between people, but it's all about a means to an end. Ultimately, I'd like to do something that's not playing. I love to play, but ultimately, I don't want to rely on playing for a source of income. Whether that is making connections through Twitch or maybe people like me on Twitch and I get enough followers that I could make some more money, but whatever it is, I don't see myself in like 10 years playing full-time."