Joseph Cheong is one of the most consistent, prolific tournament players in the world today. His rise to poker prominence came during a roller-coaster run at the 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event, where he finished in third place for over $4.1 million dollars. Cheong proved that he was no one-hit wonder, as his resume only continues to add accolades and grow in the years since. He’s amassed over 15 six-figure scores, including a victory at the APT Manilla Millions in 2013 for over $1 million. In total, his lifetime live earnings have soared to over $12 million and he’s earned over $280,000 thus far in 2018 alone.
Joseph Cheong is good. If you follow his career, you already know this. So we reached out to get his opinions on topics in both poker and pop culture that you just gotta know.
What’s the best format for a tournament? Old school freeze outs, single re-entry or unlimited re-buys? Poker tours try to balance the desire for larger prize pools, the need to accommodate players that travel great distances and keeping the playing field level for recreational players.
“I hate unlimited re-buys. Generally, it is a rake trap and even soft events end up becoming extremely tough by the end. You might start with a field that has 40% recs but by the time all the entries are tallied it won’t be anywhere near that. Many people claim this is good for the pros and this is true for the best pros. However many lesser top pros and mid-level pros don’t realize it will kill their longterm ROI.
It’s also bad for their backers and buyers because their expected ROI sitting down in Level 1 and with 30 sick players left is completely different but they still only look at the field as an overall.
I do have one exception to this – smaller buy-in events with many more recs. Recs tend not to care about the rake and really enjoy huge prize pools for their buy-ins. These are bad for pros as well though since rake is insanely high.”
Marvel’s ‘Avenger: Infinity War’ looks to shatter all box office records in a culmination of 10 years of cinematic build up. Fans continue to flock to the theaters and the superhero genre shows no signs of slowing down.
“I never watched a Marvel movie past the first Superman. They don’t interest me at all…I meant Spider-Man, I’d never watch Superman. I just think they are too simplistic with the ‘good versus evil’ thing…and I’m not into stupid costumes. I much prefer alternative categories like The Watchmen.”
The WSOP is right around the corner and Cheong recently picked up his second WSOP Circuit ring. For many, the dream of holding up a coveted WSOP bracelet is still the quintessential poker dream.
“I’ve never been interested in trophy collecting other than for the fact that first place pays the most money. Also…why a bracelet? Who wants a bracelet? Something cooler might make me want one. I have no interest in any trophy or trinket.”
Sublime (the band)
Followers of Choeng will note that his Twitter handle is @subiime, sometimes conjuring up the 90’s ska/punk/reggae trio from Long Beach who had hits like “What I Got”, “Santeria” and “Wrong Way.”
“They’re good. I was never a huge fan or anything. My name isn’t from them, I just like the word ‘sublime’. (The band) is nostalgia from high school.”
Prior a cash in the short-lived NAPT back in 2010, a $5,000 buy-in event, Choeng had never recorded a live cash in an event with a greater than $500 buy-in. Plenty of players dream of playing in the Main Event against the pros they see on TV.
“Taking shots is part of being a poker player. None of the richest guys got there by grinding with strict bankroll management, aside from a select few who fortunately got into poker early and could easily grind it up. I’m not saying always put your entire bankroll on the line and risk going broke all the time.
I sold action all summer during the 2010 World Series of Poker and decided I didn’t want to for the Main Event. World out well for me but some of my friends are still bitter. Not gunna name names but his name might start with a ‘D’ and rhymes with ‘blias.’”
Despite having no plans to make it out to the WSOP Circuit in Cherokee, North Carolina, Cheong booked a win in Event #11 of the WSOPC for over $34,000.
“I’m not sure what to say about this. I’m not very spontaneous even though it might seem like I am to people I know. I just suck at making plans ahead of time. I did go to WSOP APAC in 2013 on a whim. Mohsin Charania and I booked a flight the night before leaving and ended up going on a really nice Super High Roller run, taking 2nd in the $50K (he won over $530,000) followed by winning the Manila Millions HKD$1 million (for ~$1.3 million). Then second in the $100K WPT Championship at Bellagio (for over $600,000).”
Cheong continues to play tournaments at the highest level and is currently a pro for the new online poker site Highstakes.com. Follow along on his journey on Twitter: @subiime.