known throughout the poker community. He finished
in third place in the 2004 WSOP, making the final
table with his aggressive, relentless style. His
performance at that tournament has been the subject
of many an online forum. So what exactly makes
this guy tick? We decided to find out...
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PokerLizard: Congratulations on your 3rd place
finish in this year’s WSOP (World Series
of Poker) Main Event. How did you first get interested
in poker and what got you interested in poker
as a career?
Josh: I first started playing poker over 10 years
ago when a buncha guys at the poolroom still wanted
to gamble after the poolroom closed. We would
rent a hotel room and basically play until one
person had all the money. Very frequently that
person would be me :) As far as a career in poker,
it just sorta happens, it's not something you
wake up and say "I'm gonna be a poker player."
I remember times when Iwas looking for a normal
job to go along with the poker, and a friend told
me "a regular job will just cost you money."
And that statement sure has come true - having
a normal job would have taken away from my focus
in poker and I wouldn't be what I am today.
PokerLizard: What advice would you give to any
aspiring pros? Any pitfalls to avoid?
Josh: If a person came to me and asked for advice
on being a pro poker player I would definitely
tell them two things: 1. Learn tunnel vision in
the casino. There are so many vices that break
poker players in the casino. Once you learn tunnel
vision in a casino, you can be successful, otherwise
the casino games will win all your poker winnings.
The second thing I would tell them is take the
game more seriously than your opponents do. Good
things always happen to those that work hard.
I wasn't just given what I have today; it was
hard work learning the knowledge that I know now.
I have spent thousands of hours learning the game
on the internet as well as in live action.
PokerLizard: I’ve noticed that you give
poker classes at www.josharieh.com.
What are the classes like, and who would benefit
the most from these classes?
Josh: I have recently postponed my poker school
because of the new PPT tournaments that are given
to certain people. I was lucky enough to be considered
in the top 200 players, and the dates were conflicting
with my class. I am planning on rescheduling the
class for sometime in Febuary. My class is for
experienced players that have had a hard time
getting to that next level of playing and understanding
the game of No-Limit Holdem.
PokerLizard: With all the pressure of the WSOP,
how were you able to handle the news that your
wife was ill? How seriously did you think about
leaving the tourney and what convinced you to
Josh: Well when I found out the news that she
was sick, the pressure really hadn't begun to
mount up yet. There were still over 1,000 players
in and you really don't get the sense that the
end is near. I was lucky to call her on the first
break of day 3 and she told me that she was fine
and home from the hospital, and I was able to
get my focus back on playing.
PokerLizard: Were there any interesting hands
or behind-the-scenes happenings that the viewers
at home missed out on?
Josh: I don't know where to begin on the interesting
hands. There were tons of em!!! I must say that
was caught in a weird spot. They wanted to portray
me as the bad guy and didn't want to show me play
well. They cut the final show from 2 hours to
one hour, with their excuse being "there
were not enough hands"... I second that...
I played at least 5 interesting hands that could
have been showed... but they didn't want to make
me look good... oh well!!!!
PokerLizard: You also have a WSOP title from
1999, winning over $200k in the $3,000 buy-in
Limit Holdem event, stating "I don't feel
I was anywhere as good as the other players."
How has your game and confidence grown since that
Josh: Well when I won my first bracelet I knew
how to play poker, [but] I didn't "understand"
the game... now I understand it. I recognize situations
and I feel like I know what to do when certain
things come up. I must have had a great rush of
cards in order to win that tournament back then.
Man did you happen to look at the competition
from that table??? It's pretty crazy. (Pokerlizard
note: That Final Table was a murderer's row and
included Humberto Brenes, John Juanda, Howard
Lederer, and Capt. Tom Franklin).
PokerLizard: How has your life changed since
your big payday? Are you getting recognized on
the street much?
Josh: I get recognized a lot while I am playing
and I hear "there's Josh Arieh", but
I dont get noticed much outside of the casino.
My wife and I are having a lot of fun with this.
Angela has quit her job and has decided to help
me manage my life. So far, so good...we have put
money away for the kids and have secured a nice
future for them.
PokerLizard: How much do you play online? What
do you like about the online games?
Josh: I used to play over 50 hrs. a week online.
I used online tournaments to improve my poker
game and tournament strategy. The internet is
a great way for people of all ages to learn and
recognize situations that come up in poker touranments.
PokerLizard: How does your strategy online vary
from live games?
Josh: I haven't played much live lately. I think
that in this day and age of poker, that it is
much more profitable to do good in tournaments,
so I don't want to spend my time that I could
be using resting, playing in a live game.
PokerLizard: Which do you enjoy more: live or
Josh: It's no comparison to me. Nothing compares
to the rush that I get when I am late in a tournament.
PokerLizard: You have certainly taken a beating
on the poker forums on the net about some of the
comments you made during the WSOP (ie the “bust
this MF’er” and chastising Harry Demetriou
for his play). Is there anything you would like
to clear up about those comments?
Josh: I have already publicly apologized to Harry,
and I am sorry that it happened to him. I am not
sorry that it happened though. After that occured,
I sent a message to all the other players... Was
it unsportsmanlike?? Kinda... did I get penalized?
No... but yes, I apologized to Harry. He is a
super nice guy and didn't deserve to be made an
example of. If I had done it to Mike Matesow or
Phil Helmuth, I would have been praised. It didn't
help that the announcer was a little jealous and
didn't like me.
PokerLizard: Do you think it will be more difficult
to be successful now that your are “famous”
and people will be “gunning” to knock
you out of tournaments now?
Josh: No... I just have to come up with the right
strategy to make it work against people... but
no, I think it is a good thing
PokerLizard: You reportedly stayed with Erick
Lindgren during the WSOP.
How important to your success was that “base”
of support in Vegas?
Josh: Staying with Erick during the series gave
me a sense of a home life. I was able to get away
from the casino and make poker seem like more
of a job... I wasnt stranded at the casino with
all the vices around me. I was also able to swim
and play basketball everyday at his house.. getting
that fresh air was amazingly refreshing on a daily
PokerLizard: How has Erick’s friendship
helped your game and his?
Josh: Erick and I are different in a way... there
are many players that ponder on bad beats or talk
about poker nonstop. When we would talk poker,
it is extremely helpful for both of us. We wouldn't
be talking about bad beats, we would always talk
about good things that happen to us... it makes
for a good mindset.
PokerLizard: How would you describe your poker
Josh: I prey on the weak. I pick out spots that
I think are easy and I take advantage of those
PokerLizard: Which future tournaments are you
planning on playing?
Josh: I am playing all the 10k events around
the states, and I am going to make a run at the
best all-around award at this coming WSOP.
PokerLizard: What is your favorite game to play
Josh: No-Limit Holdem... I get to bet all my
money all at once!!!!!!!
PokerLizard: Obligatory PokerLizard question:
If you were Matt Damon in “Rounders”,
how long would it have taken you to kick your
girlfriend to the curb and get with Famke Janssen?
Josh: LOL, I've been fortunate to have my wife
by my side through the ups and downs... she has
always been there to support me and when i saw
his girlfriend in that movie i couldn't believe
he didn't kick her to the curb earlier.....
Thanks for your time and good luck at the tables!
You can play with Josh Arieh and David Williams
Poker, $3/$6 No-Limit Holdem is the game of
choice. Good Luck! Also, check out Josh's happenings
this and other interviews in the Lizard Lounge
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