What's Next for Online Poker Pros? Chipsteela and The-Toilet

Published on May 1st, 2011

After two weeks of American online poker players' lives largely being flipped upside down, PocketFives.com had a chance to run down two of the game's most visible pros, longtime community members Jeremy Chipsteela Menard (pictured) and Faraz The-Toilet Jaka. Both joined the site within two months of each other back in 2006 and have seen the industry evolve considerably since then. Now, Menard and Jaka are contemplating their next steps.

Menard has chosen to be vocal in the weeks following the U.S. Department of Justice indicting the founders of PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker on April 15th. He told PocketFives.com, "Basically what I'm doing is trying to be as proactive as possible as far as helping to get online poker legalized and regulated in our country. This is the time to let the U.S. Government know just how many people are being affected and that we won't just take this lying down."

Where will Menard's career take him now? "As far as poker goes, I'm just playing the waiting game like everyone else. There are other sites out there, but we have all been so spoiled by the guarantees and variety of tournaments provided by the big three that it is just so difficult to start playing on these other sites. Hopefully live poker can supplement my income when the WSOP comes around, but if all else fails, there is always Canada."

Live poker is not an option for Menard in his home state of North Carolina and, as such, he has contemplated whether a "real world job" is on the horizon: "My reaction went from complete surprise because it came out of nowhere, to anger towards the government for stripping us of our freedom, to panic due to the fact that I have a large sum of money online and didn't know whether I'd see it again, to frustration that I can't play the game I love anymore from the convenience of my own home, to fear that my livelihood is being stripped and that I may actually have to look into finding a real job at some point."

He summed up his roller coaster of emotions by saying, "Basically I've been all over the place."

One year ago, Menard was as high as #15 in the PocketFives.com Rankings and can currently be found at #78 worldwide. He has a quartet of Triple Crowns.

The next step for many poker players will be the 2011 WSOP, which begins on May 31st and runs through July 19th. A total of 58 bracelets will be awarded, although many have wondered how quaint the fields could get. Menard speculated, "I'd imagine the fields will definitely decrease because a lot of players have live backing deals. Since a lot of these backers will have a decent amount of money still online that they can't access, they won't be able to put as many horses into the events."

Last year, the Main Event fielded 7,319 entrants and crowned its first ever Canadian champion, Jonathan Duhamel. We've heard estimates that range between 2,500 and 5,500 for this year's Main Event attendance and asked Menard for his take: "The Main Event field will take a strong hit due to the fact that a lot of people get in on satellites they qualify for online and since they can no longer play these satellites, the number of qualifiers will drastically decrease."

Speaking of the WSOP, Jaka (pictured) walked away from the Las Vegas tournament series with over $110,000 in earnings last year. He's diversified away from poker, however, and so his well-being may be less impacted as a result of the recent upheaval.

Jaka told PocketFives.com, "I'd really have to measure how profitable the fields are if things stay the way they are and we lose the U.S. fields. I've already started a company, AxisCasterboarding.com, and we are turning casterboarding from a toy into a sport. I am also part owner of a record label - Supply and Demand Records - own some real estate, and have invested in the stock market."

Overall, Jaka was quite happy with his choice to diversify away from the poker industry: "I've tried very hard to diversify myself away from poker with my investments in case something ever happened to poker or my ability to play poker. Now, I am definitely glad I did."

On his future, Jaka told us, "I still plan on playing poker, but will probably invest more of my time into my businesses and investments. If something changes and it is more lucrative to continue playing, I will weigh that into the equation. The way I am looking at all of this is that it can be a blessing in disguise if I just learn from this experience and pursue some new business opportunities I may not have otherwise."

Jaka has more than $2 million in Rankings-eligible cashes and is the proud owner of a Triple Crown.


  1. FOL's

  2. so i guess the point of mentioning jaka was, mbn?

  3. too good guys ita..only reason I am commenting is to say jakas last post was in my podcast..that is all

  4. When Chip Steela Talks, EF Hutton Listens... great guy!!!

    Link to an EF Hutton Commercial from the 80's for all you kids who do not know who EF Hutton is.

    Edited By: pimpnuho May 2nd, 2011 at 08:52 PM
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