This month, the PocketFives Podcastwelcomes one of the game’s longstanding players, Faraz The-ToiletJaka (pictured). He’s fresh off a third place finish in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event for three-quarters of a million dollars and recently took fifth in a $5,000 preliminary tournament held during the L.A. Poker Classic for $33,000. Not too bad for a player who has been a nomad for the last nine months.
His success in tournaments is well documented. He has $2.6 million in tracked online tournament winnings and another $3.2 million in the live arena, according to the Hendon Mob. What about cash games? Could Jaka expand his presence in that area in the future, especially given the changed climate post-Black Friday?
On potentially playing higher stakes cash games, Jaka told PocketFives Podcast listeners, “I do prefer deeper stack cash games. I’ve never played much online cash, but I’ll go in and play $10/$20 cash games at the Bellagio where I can buy in for 500 or 1,000 big blinds… Being able to play good deep stack poker would give me a bit of a jump-start if I wanted to become a cash game specialist, but it would take a lot more than that.”
If you haven’t heard where Jaka’s online screen name, The-Toilet, comes from, we thought we owed it to our audience to ask. “I got my screen name because when I first started playing poker in the dorms, I had no idea what I was doing,” Jaka said. “I assumed suited cards were good because you’d make flushes. So, I played every single suited hand. I’d get people to call and they’d scream, ‘The toilet flushes again.’ When I was signing up to play online, I didn’t know what to put as my screen name, so I just put that. I wasn’t thinking long-term.”
He has been a staple of PocketFives since 2006 and commented that his fearlessness at the tables lives on after six years: “I am willing to play any two cards in any position. It’s really more of a timing thing for me, though. I can go out there and say I will never play this hand in this situation, but if there’s not an all-in involved, I’m capable of playing any two cards in any position.”
Jaka was the World Poker Tour Player of the Year during Season VIII, but does he still consider himself to be an elite tournament player? “If I didn’t consider myself to be one of the top tournament players out there, there’s no way in hell I should be playing the fields I play against,” our Podcast guest responded. “Most professionals would think so whether they are or not. A lot of times in poker, people think they’re better than they are. That could be a bad thing, but it’s necessary from a competitive standpoint.”
Jaka’s fifth place finish in a $5,000 LAPC preliminary event pitted him against some rough competition. The final table included the likes of Vanessa Selbst, Jonathan Duhamel (pictured), Matt All In At 420Stout, Josh brikdog24Brikis, Stephen stevie444Chidwick, and Mclean pureprofitfour Karr.
“That final table was definitely one of the toughest final tables I’ve ever had to be at,” Jaka recalled about his competition at the Commerce Casino event. “It got close to 100 entries. When a $5K gets 100 entries, it’s usually a good thing and should have a decent number of soft spots, but that was not the case in this particular one. I was kind of surprised.” Selbst walked away a winner and banked $140,000 after a heads-up deal with Duhamel.
Jaka was also a regular in events sponsored by the Epic Poker League, which recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and has not yet announced its future. “The Epic events are awesome,” Jaka argued. “I think everyone who is there really loves them. $400,000 added plus the freeroll – it’s amazing. It is definitely a different atmosphere. You’re there with all regulars. It’s kind of like a bunch of friends shooting the shit and hanging out… They definitely treat you great.”
Finally, Jaka has a number of side businesses, including a casterboarding company and a new venture whose goal is to introduce an alternative to products like Vitamin Water. These diversions help keep him fresh at the table: “It’s about a balance. When I’ve been grinding hardcore for a couple of months, I’ll do the opposite: I’ll relax for a couple of months and focus on something else. Have something else in your life that is important to you that you’re emotionally invested in. I have two startups. I’m always running to Chicago to visit by friends. I put value on hanging out with my parents.”
Check out the rest of this month’s PocketFives Poker Podcast.