You might remember Joaquin, he sent us a pretty cool video of how he was trying to make the world a better place and at the same time participating in the Daniel ‘Jungleman’ Cates good deeds promo. Today I managed to catch up with this Miami dweller, and he had a pretty interesting life story to tell:
1) Hey Joaquin thanks for the video and for taking sometime out to chat with us. Well the first questions I always ask are: age, city, when did you first start playing poker? I am 30 years old I was born at home in Los Angeles CA to hippie parents 100% natural birth. I think I started playing 7 card draw in elementary school, that’s when I first learned about poker hand rankings and what a pair, three of a kind a flush ect were..
2) What stakes and games do you normally play? I am a big poker fan! I love the mental sport of it! The majority of the games I get involved in are home games. I have a group of friends that get together 2-3 times a month and we start with a $200 buy in and play Texas Holdem $1/$2 no limit. I also go to Hard Rock here in Miami and play $5/$10 once in a while. Last but not least.. I have a poker app on my phone, its not real money but it is live and keeps me entertained when there is a long line at the grocery store.
3) Have you played in a major event such as a WPT, EPT, or WSOP tournament? No I have never played any type of major event like the WSOP!… the most serious game I have ever played was for a pair of rare Pumas! (The shoes not the cats)
4) What other hobbies and interests do you have outside of poker? Any interesting facts about yourself that you’d like to share?
Yes I have an interesting story… As if flipping my car down a sixty foot cliff in 2001 was not a close enough call, five years later I was hit by a SUV and pinned against a boat, breaking my back and facing the reality of never walking again. After being rushed to Baptist Hospital and undergoing countless doctors’ tests and x-rays, the doctors informed me that my sacrum was fractured and most likely I would not walk again.
Refusing to accept my projected fate, I began physical therapy, acupuncture and weekly chiropractor visits. “I refused to be a victim,” I told NBC reporter Roxanna Vargas when she interviewed me for a “Lucky to be Alive” feature. I refused to hear the doctors words and fought for the ability to walk again! “It’s not enough to just survive; it’s after you survive, what do you do?” You can check out the segment NBC did on me here:
5) Do you have a day job or do you play poker professionally? Still in school? Some combination of all of the above?
I had a 70+ hour a week job for 10 years. I Moved to Miami after High school and enrolled in Johnson & Wales University. I have two degrees, one in culinary arts and the other in business hospitality management. After finishing school I got right into my field and started managing restaurants. I have opened 8 restaurants as a manager, restaurant development consultant and owner.
Two years ago at 28 I tool a look back at my life and it was a blur of work and family-less holidays. I wanted to start a family of my own one day and knew that I had to make a major change out of what had been financially supporting me for the last decade. So I sold the portion of the restaurant that I owned at the time back to my partners and started Provider, a socially conscious clothing company and founded a nonprofit, Conscious Acts of Kindness.
Provider has been in business for a year and Conscious Acts of Kindness only 5 months. So the reason I am always up at 4am… Because my body has been conditioned to be most alert and awake from 10pm-5am… This can be a great poker strategy in some scenario!! lol
6) Who are some of your favorite professional poker players? Which players would you be most scared to see at your table? Any pros you hope to play with? I have always been a fan of Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey and Joe Cada. All three have styles of poker that I like! As much as I would like to sit at a table with them I would also feel way out matched by their skill and experience! But if there was one person I would enjoy sitting at a table with it would be Daniel Cates, I would be honored and humbled to sit at the same table with the person who saw my good deeds and wanted to pay it forward in bringing me to the WSOP2012. I might even give him a few hands to pay him back… l
7) Tell me an interesting story about yourself in 300 words or less. It can be about poker, your regular life, how you got into the game, or anything you think may be interesting to others.
I’ll keep it short, I know my answers have been long… I want to make a positive impact on our world in the biggest and best way possible. So, if I were to make it into the money at the 2012 WSOP I would donate my winnings to charity. And that way the money can go to feeding hungry children, bringing clean water to villages, helping raise awareness for cancer or countless other global issues that need avocation and support.
Hopefully I will get the chance to meet you in Las Vegas!