Ricky ‘ratedGTO’ Guan was recently announced as a new member to Team RIU, the group of streamers hand-picked by Run It Up Studios founder Jason Somerville. If you’ve played on a regulated poker site within the US, especially in New Jersey, you’ve likely tangled with Guan, or at least you know of him.
“I’ve been a fan of Jason Somerville and Twitch Poker ever since the beginning of my poker career,” Guan said when asked about how the opportunity came about. “Along my journey, I got to meet him a couple of times at different events and it was only until right before WSOP this year that I started streaming on Twitch myself. Then the opportunity arose over the summer where I got to meet up with Jason and talk a little bit about my potential career in creating content. That’s kind of how the whole conversation started.”
For many poker players within the US, the chance to stream online poker isn’t viewed as a great one, simply because online poker not as widely available in the US as it once was. For Guan, he chooses to see opportunity where others might not.
“For me, I have a little bit of a competitive advantage, just because there are not too many streamers from the US that are streaming MTTs online, and especially the high stakes that I’m also playing,” Guan said.
Joining Team RIU is the next step in Guan’s young career, but it’s a career that has already welcomed a fair bit of success. A native of Brooklyn, New York, Guan recently made the relocation jump to New Jersey to continue playing online poker. As of late October 2018, he’s won nearly $520,000 from online tournaments, plus he’s won nearly $300,000 in live tournaments.
“I’m originally from Brooklyn, New York, and it was only earlier this year where my little poker group called ‘the Young Wizards’ decided to move to New Jersey where there is regulated online poker and I get to play on sites such as PokerStars,” Guan said. “I thought it was very important for me to be able to do that, both in terms of being able to play different buy-ins across multiple sites and also for me to create content, because a lot of the big viewerships on Twitch are through platforms like PokerStars. For myself, I wanted to be able to continue to create content in New Jersey and also kind of be at the forefront a little bit of helping poker come back to America. I know Jason has very big plans for that in the near future and he’s been doing a lot of things to make that happen. With my partnership with him and Run It Up, hopefully, we can work together to make that kind of dream come true for everyone back in America again.”
Oftentimes in sports, you see a player play out of his mind before landing a big contract and becoming complacent. They fall off after they sign a new deal. Guan’s new deal will have him working closely with Somerville and Team RIU in hopes of producing high-quality poker content, but Guan wants a bit more from himself. He wants to challenge himself to be the best.
“I’ve always been very competitive growing up — any sports I played or any games I participated in — and that’s something that I saw in poker,” Guan said. “That it was a game where it could potentially be solved and it was a challenge to become one of the very best in it. That’s always been the goal for me ever since I began my poker journey — to study, work hard, and become one of the best players in the game. Through the hard work over the last couple of years, we’ve been able to progress really nicely and I’m very happy with where I am in my poker career as of right now.”
With a solid support system from his poker circle, a hard work ethic, and the guidance of Somerville, Guan’s poker career is set up for a lot of advancement, especially if regulated online poker continues to grow within the US. From speaking with him, Guan appears to be equal parts grounded, eager, and enthusiastic about his future.
“There are always chances to improve in poker,” Guan said when asked what’s next for him in his poker career. “No one is playing perfectly or anything like that. For myself, I’m already playing some of the highest stakes that are available to me in the US, so it’s just to continue to study and get better. Now, in this new chapter in my poker journey, it’s to create content and give back to the community a little bit. I’m very comfortable with my abilities in poker and I want to be able to share that and help other people learn as well. I’ve also gotten into coaching and helping other students kind of live their poker dreams. That’s something that I’ve done over the last couple of years, where I’ve helped some of the best young American players to rise to the top. That’s something that I look to continue to do in the near future.”