Thursday, June 28, 2012



After first breaking the news on two weeks ago, Loto-Quebec issued a press release earlier today confirming the news that Haralabos Voulgaris would replace Carlos Nahas as their "horse" for the 1M Big One for One Drop - which starts this Sunday at the Rio, as part of the World Series of Poker ... I will be on hand to cover the event!

In anticipation of the news being made official by the good people over at Loto-Quebec, Carlos Nahas spoke exclusively to to discuss many things including why he and Keith Hamilton thought it would be best to sell the seat for the One Drop.

Eric Danis, (ED)- Carlos, thank you so much for taking time to answer these questions.

ED- Many people do not know that you actually played this tournament on behalf of someone else (Mr. Keith Hamilton), can you please give a small recap on how you got to play in Le Grand Tournoi de Poker Loto-Quebec?

Carlos Nahas (CN)- Loto-Quebec did a great job of promoting this tournament and ensuring a great turnout, including several satellite tournaments. Keith played a slot machine and won an entry into the $4000 satellite. He was allowed to assign that entry to another person, and by pure serendipity, that person turned out to be myself. Before this, Keith was a friend of a friend of a friend, and I didn't even know the friend of a friend existed, so it wasn't obvious by any means. Also, I was the fourth person asked to play the $4k satellite by my friend, because none of the first three accepted. So, I did run good there.

I won the $4k satellite, which gave Keith an entry into the $25k tournament. Keith then assigned the $25k seat to me, because I lied to him and convinced him I was a good player.

ED- What made you decide not to play the One Drop and make the seat available? Was it assumed that the seat was yours no matter should you have wanted to play the One Drop or was that even discussed prior to you winning the qualifier in Gatineau?

CN- Yes, Keith and I discussed all potential scenarios, including what would happen if I won. We agreed that he would assign the One Drop seat to me if I won, thereby leaving the ball in my court. The opportunity was certainly one of a lifetime. As my friend Chad Hobbins texted me when I told him about the sale, "What?!?! Nobody remembers the guy that sold the seat!" However, I do have a mortgage, and I do have a lot of aspirations beyond poker, and maybe I'm a nit, but I'm quite comfortable with my decision as it allows me to leap forward in life a little bit. I just wouldn't be able to sleep for a while if I went for it and bubbled the One Drop. I'm not sure what Keith's financial situation is like, but this is definitely life-changing for him as well.

ED- I assume that Haralabos Voulgaris wasn’t the only person that inquired about purchasing the One Drop seat. Why did you settle on Bob? Does the fact that he’s a proven player and a Canadian come into play?

CN- As soon as I won, I messaged two friends: Marc Karam, and Mark Silver because Marc has had that kind of experience and exposure, and Mark is well connected in the poker community and has pretty good perspective, and I knew that he will make this happen with his never-say-die attitude. Keith, Mark and I decided to put out a memo indicating our intentions to sell the seat.

We had interest from about 5-6 parties, most of them well-known names. I will keep their names confidential, but I can tell you that although Bob's offer was very fair and competitive, we left something on the table by going with him. The fact that he is Canadian and was the sole decision-maker (i.e.; he didn't have to consult with investors) definitely factored in. We also thought he would be a great fit with the Loto-Quebec angle. We are very happy with this decision, because in hindsight, there was very little room for error in making this deal. Mark was instrumental in this deal. Also, Bob's original offer included some equity in the winnings, mostly as a courtesy, but we settled on a deal where we do not have any piece of the action.

ED- You played some amazing poker during Le Grand Tournoi, at what point in the tournament did you feel like you had a great shot at winning?

CN- After winning the satellite, I believed I had a good shot. then, I saw the lineup of pros, and I told myself that all I want is to keep an above average stack throughout the tournament and make low-risk moves and stay out of clashes with the big boys. It was more difficult than I thought, because there were almost only pros to clash with. It was mostly about survival, and I just wanted to make day 2. I had my tournament life on the line twice, both times in day 1, and both times I was a dominant favourite: The first time, I turned the nut flush vs. the third nut flush, and I doubled up.

Second, I tripled up with AA vs. QQ vs. QQ AIPF - I had to sweat an all-spade flop without a spade in my hand) Ultimately, it was quite the ride, but I certainly wasn't thinking about winning, but rather, I was focused on playing good poker.

ED- You had a lot of pressure from many of the name pros at Le Grand Tournoi to make a deal right then and there when you were heads-up ... how close were you to settle on a deal before deciding to return to the table and play?

CN- J.C. Ferreira is a great player with a great track record, and I wasn't given much credit for having the ability to win the heads up battle against him. JC had traded a lot of pieces of himself with the other name pros, and I think they convinced themselves that JC's edge was so great, that I think they may have collectively gotten a little greedy with the offers. From my perspective, we were never close.

When JC and I were alone at the table, we were able to make the sensible deal that saw second place earn the $17k that would've been awarded to first place, in addition to the seat.

ED- Any regrets not taking part in the One Drop? Certainly looks like it’s going to be the biggest tournament in poker history.

CN- You mean that biggest tournament in poker history in terms of buy-in and first place payout? The tournament which, if I won, would put me among the all-time poker tournament winnings leaders? The tournament with the highest payout for any single poker or sports event? No. None at all.

But seriously, I see it as, if I had a million dollars, would I put it towards this entry? The answer is no, so I'm quite happy with the way things turned out. Also, the reality is that a lot of the pros will be trading with each other and will be looking to feast on the businessmen. I'm not part of that group of pros, so I would likely end up -EV. It's no different than what I had to endure at the $25k tournament, but I'm not so sure I would be able to succeed in it a second time.

ED- A lot of people assumed you could not transfer the One Drop seat – I read the rules that I had received from Loto-Quebec and it’s clear that someone could play for another person in the qualifier (what you did in place of Mr. Hamilton), but, the rules do not talk about the One Drop seat itself – at least, not in the rules that I have – safe to assume that Loto-Quebec were involved in these discussions at one point?

CN- Yes, Loto-Quebec were involved, and in fact initially encouraged me to play in the event. I think it would've made for a great sequel to this story if I did play. Ultimately, they were very cooperative in more ways than I can mention here to allow Keith and myself to make the responsible choice and allowing us to sell the seat. I owe them a thank you for their class and cooperation in this.

ED- How has your life changed since winning Le Grand Tournoi? Any thoughts of trying poker as a full-time job?

CN- Well, I have played a bit of poker in the past and I know I am a winning player. I love the game, especially live, but I can't see myself turning to the grind for a full-time job without that lucrative endorsement deal (ahem - anybody out there?)

The reality is that I have a great job and career, and for every successful poker story you hear, there are dozens of unsuccessful ones that show the ugly side of the game. Also, I'm pretty sure I'm running way above EV, so it's only downhill from here, right?

ED- What happens next to Carlos Nahas?

I'm hoping some producer will see me and decide that I would be a perfect fit to play Will Ferrell in his bio movie. Otherwise, this is the end of my 15 minutes of fame, right?

From a poker perspective, it's still undecided. I'm really itching to play the WSOP Main Event, but I'm not convinced I have the bankroll to do it. In my life, I've been very good at managing my money, and it would be uncharacteristic of me to put down $10k to play the main event. Some people may feel like i just scored a load of free money, but I don't see it that way. It's still my money and I need to manage it properly. I am taking several weeks of vacation this summer, and i will decide how much of my winnings will go to a poker bankroll, if any.


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