Exclusive Interview with Jay Rosenkrantz
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to chat with Jay Rosenkrantz. You’ll probably recognize his name if you know anything about the online poker world. From the time he became infatuated with No Limit Texas Hold ‘em at just 12 years old to his current status as a hugely successful professional online poker player he’s held a variety of jobs that you and I can probably relate to – gas attendant, waiter, toy-shelver and a whack of other mundane things but, clearly, Jay is anything but ordinary.
Right out of high school Jay coached people who wanted to learn to play poker and eventually founded a poker training community called Deuces Cracked and became the biggest winner in online No Limit cash games for 2007-2008. Now his life is about to take another amazing turn as he prepares for his television debut.
The new series Two Months. Two Million. premieres this Sunday (August 16, 2009) at 9:00pm ET/PT on G4 and it actually looks really good! When I went to the website and watched some promo clips, it reminded me a lot of Entourage except that it’s reality-based instead of scripted (I was glad to hear Jay describe it similarly – read more below!).
The show follows Jay and three other online poker champs, Brian, Emil and Dani, on their quest to collectively earn $2 million in only two months playing online poker using their own money. That alone is interesting but it gets better since the show takes place in Las Vegas!
The guys have been friends for years so there’s no awkwardness when they move into a 10,000 square foot mansion for the summer which is fully equipped with four 50” plasma monitors connected to their custom computers and a “Tilt Room” for blowing off steam (I heard that they beat up fruits and vegetables with bats and hockey sticks so I’m really looking forward to seeing this room put to use!). They even have penalty stunts for the guy who loses the most money each week and some of these punishments include wearing a ballet tutu to dinner at a posh hotel buffet and begging tourists for tips as they play the harp on Las Vegas Blvd. Brutal!
If you’ve ever been to Vegas, you’ll know that there is a lot to see and do but I can guarantee that most of you haven’t had the kind of money these four guys have. With all of the distractions of Sin City and a lot of cash on their hands, will the guys be able to remain focused long enough to reach their goals? You’ll have to watch the show to find out! In the meantime, check out my interview with Jay!
Every Joe: I heard that you started playing poker when you were 12. How did you get started?
Jay Rosenkrantz: I got started playing in the cafeteria in middle school. At first it was nickel and dime games but then I saw the movie Rounders – I really love that movie – and it gave me the passion to continue playing.
Every Joe: I heard you were a math whiz in school. Did that help?
Jay: Everyone brings that up but I’m probably the least math-inclined out of the group. You don’t really need advanced math for poker – it’s very basic math.
Every Joe: How did you come up with the idea for DeucesCracked.com (Jay’s online poker training community)?
Jay: I’ve always been a bit of an entrepreneur. I started coaching right out of high school at twoplustwo.com and it went through the roof. I started recruiting coaches and then I met some guys that were doing poker training videos but they were static, boring videos. I was becoming well-known and I had the opportunity so, instead of releasing these boring videos, I decided to blend academia with entertainment. People want more than to learn from someone speaking in a monotone voice.
Every Joe: I know you were the biggest winner in online No Limit Cash games in 2007-2008. How did that feel considering your humble upbringing?
Jay: It felt pretty good. In one day I won $300,000. It was pretty big for me back then, it’s still pretty good now, but it was a life-changing moment. I was in my pajamas and I looked out the window and saw people coming home from work wearing suits and ties and I couldn’t help but smile to myself a little.
Every Joe: You mentioned playing poker at home in your pajamas which is a little different than playing in a casino. How do you decide when to step away from the game?
Jay: When you get bored. I also play high stakes games and, sometimes, there aren’t enough high stakes games to play online. You might also step away when you’re not playing well. I don’t have to play to support myself so I don’t have to force myself to play if I don’t feel like it.
Every Joe: Two Months. Two Million premieres this Sunday, are you excited?
Jay: We’re all really excited. We’re having a premiere party. We’ve known each other for about four years so it’s kind of like Entourage. We’ve been going out to Vegas for the past few summers. With the show, there’s no casting like normal reality shows where people are just meeting each other or are being told what to say. What you see in episode one is like the history of us – the banter is completely real.
Every Joe: If you had to describe Two Months. Two Million. for viewers, what would you say?
Jay: It’s Entourage with poker. It’s four real friends. It’s less about poker since that can be boring, even for people who like poker. Seeing us let loose in Vegas is a big part of the show. With high amounts of disposable income, you’ll see that things can get extravagant and we take the cameras into areas that you normally can’t go. We also want to show that people are making millions even before they turn 21 and now they will also get to see how we enjoy that.
Two Months. Two Million. premieres this Sunday (August 16, 2009) at 9:00pm ET/PT on G4.