Those of you who have played in the WPT National events in the United Kingdom, have competed on the Grand Prix Poker Tour, or have read the many articles he’s produced for the partypoker blog are probably well-versed in who Paul Seaton is. By the time you’ve finished reading these 11 questions with the big man, you’ll know a lot more about him.
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, Paul. Let our readers know a little bit about yourself.
I’m Paul Seaton, 36 years old originally from Berkshire but now I’m all over the UK with work. London is probably my spiritual home for poker work, but I’m still fond of the country. I report for partypoker at WPT, Grand Prix Poker Tour and WPT National events. I’m usually holding a reporters’ notebook and writing very quickly!
How long have you been part of the poker scene as both a player and working in the industry?
I started writing freelance in poker in 2010, but it wasn’t until the next year that I started picking up sufficient work to merit a further interest in it. I’d grown up like many people and loved Late Night Poker, but rather than convince me to look into the industry, it looked like a completely unrealistic world to be a part of. It wasn’t until years later in pubs that I started playing, and doing fairly well. From there, I picked up some volume online so I knew what I was talking about when it came to articles. Live reporting or presenting were pipe dreams!
What is your biggest achievement as a poker player?
I’ve not really had any major results, but I did survive an entire Day 1 on the same table as Simon Deadman! No, I’ve had the fortune to always be a profit player, which is more than many could ask for. I won the 888Poker Birmingham Super Stack in April 2013 which was a nice feeling as I’d worked for 14 hours through the night until 6am on Day 1, travelled 100 miles and then endured a bad Day 1. Somehow I scraped into the second day, got a decent night’s sleep and it all went to plan from there. Heads-up I went into play around 1:3 down in chips against Abdul Miah and played really well – I had to have a chance against him!
How did you get a start in the poker industry?
I started writing freelance articles for a website that I knew nothing about. I’d heard it was bankrolled by a mysterious ‘Russian Pro’ and when the site dramatically disappeared six months later, I lost the exposure and income. It forced me to get creative to stay in the industry and it’s been a long road of that type ever since!
You’re often found reporting on tournament via updates, some poker players would see that as a dream job. Do you see it as such? What does a typical day look like in the live reporting world?
I wouldn’t say it’s a dream job by any means, like any work it has ups and downs. The travelling side is great, I’ve visited some great places across Europe as part of my work. At the top level, live reporting can be an enormous education. No-one gets to run alongside Lionel Messi on the football pitch, but I’ve been right next to players at the top of the poker industry and learned so much.
A typical day of live reporting is hard to describe but it always features a long time – days are frequently 12+ hours long, and I once worked 18 hours straight to the conclusion of a tournament for a lot less than minimum wage! It takes a lot of hard work to survive, and you have to be able to write very quickly and imaginatively – if people read the same things over and over, they’ll click somewhere else!
What do you think of partypoker and DTD trying to bring poker back to the people on a grassroots level, good for the game?
It’s great for the game and without DTD, it’s hard to see how UK would have thrived to the extent it has over the last few years. A lot of the big guarantees come at DTD and I’m probably of the opinion most of the live players on the circuit are – namely that Rob Yong and the team are insane for putting on such guarantees! I only wish I’d been at the felt for a few more of them!
One way they’re doing this is the Grand Prix Poker Tour, are you a fan of this new tour?
It’s great and even at the first leg, you could see the added excitement for players taking part in a game of poker at the home of Chelsea. The entry of £70+10 is stupid considering there’s a top prize of £35,000 and to be able to win life-changing money for most people for that sort of entry is fantastic.
As a Manchester United fan, you must be looking forward to the Old Trafford leg, will you be doing a stadium tour? Where else are you looking forward to?
I’ll try to do a stadium tour, because I can’t wait, obviously. I had a season ticket for six years at Old Trafford, but I’ve only ever seen the South Stand or walked around the ground. Match day is totally unique, each one never the same, but to actually go inside the hallowed Theatre of Dreams is going to be a dream come true. The first time I went to Old Trafford I was eleven and the club shop was the size of a living room. Now the size of the place is incredible. It’s become a football Mecca.
Should Manchester United stick with the struggling Louis Van Gaal as manager or look elsewhere?
Hey, I thought these questions were going to be easy! The United board’s first consideration should be to the CV I’ll be slipping under the chairman’s door while I’m at Old Trafford for the Grand Prix Poker Tour this weekend! In all seriousness, the club are in a tough spot – the Ferguson era was one of unparalleled success. Moyes threw a dark cloud over things, but in LvG we have neither roaring success or hapless calamity. The style of football is one of the most important things to all the supporters, though, and the ‘philosophy’ of United formations now is totally different. It’s giving teams who haven’t won the title for upwards of a decade the best chance of making the Premier League interesting! I’d like to see a United team with an attacking mindset. It’s why I fell in love with United as a young kid and someone like Pochettino, Guardiola or Diego Simeone are probably our best chances at making it happen!
Which three poker players would you classify as the best in the world right now?
That’s such a tough question, because there are so many ways of looking at greatness. I’ve always thought that as an individual who has every aspect of the game covered, someone like Jason Mercier is right at the top of the game. He just always seems to be on point, and it seems effortless – that usually means exactly the opposite, that the work has really gone into things. Fedor Holz really impressed me in Prague, his table image is so hard to break down, and he’s in amazing form. And without looking everywhere else in the world, one British player I’ve always admired and have enjoyed getting to know is Sam Razavi. His results are ridiculous, and the way he’s discussed the game with me both on mic or in private is unique.
What three tips would you give to someone looking to break into the poker industry?
As a player, I’d advise fitness before most things. A healthy body combined with a keen mind is going to put any passionate player ahead of the curve. Other than that, taking good advice from any direction it comes even if it hard to hear is advice I found useful, and other than that, volume all the way. Variance’s natural enemy.
As a professional in the industry, I’d advise watching presenting from your heroes as a guide, but listen to everyone involved, especially the crews. Live reporting takes attention to detail but above all, stamina and patience. Be prepared to put in the long hours for little reward in the beginning.