The November Nine Interviews: Jorryt van Hoof

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The November Nine Interviews: Jorryt van Hoof
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Lee Davy sits down with the World Series of Poker Main Event chip leader, Jorryt van Hoof, to talk about all aspects of life including his early years trading Magic the Gathering cards, why Derren Brown is a big influence on his life, and what he would do if he could change the world? In terms of live tournament poker, 31-year old Dutchman Jorryt van Hoof, wasn’t a man likely to blip on the radar of a poker writer, but all that changed when he turned in the performance of his life to lead the final nine players in the $10,000 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event.

It’s been a little quiet since he managed to charge through a field of 6,683 players. He was handed the role of Ambassador for the forthcoming Masters Classics of Poker, in Amsterdam, and had two deep runs at the European Poker Tour (EPT) in London, but apart from that his main focus as been on one thing.

Winning the WSOP Main Event.

Describe your childhood and your academic life.

I come from a loving family, great parents and two brothers and a sister. I dropped out of university because I was more interested in other things that life had to offer; like running a business and playing poker.

What was that business?

I traded Magic the Gathering cards from a young age, and this is how I made money before I started playing poker. I ran an online business from the age of 16 and opened a store in my hometown of Eindhoven a year later. We sold all kinds of games, and also had a room where customers would play games. One day, some people started playing poker, and that’s how I got into it.

Did you ever have a dream to be someone?

Not until recently, but that’s all changed because I’ve had the dream of becoming the WSOP champ.

What is it about poker that you love?

I love that it takes a minute to learn and a lifetime to master.

Poker is a great facilitator in the road to mastery. It never gets boring because of its complex nature and the endless possibilities it provides for self-improvement. The skill set that’s useful for poker overlaps a lot with skills useful in other aspects of life, and that is a nice benefit.

What is it about poker that you are uncomfortable with?

I feel bad about the way a lot of governments treat poker. I am happy to live in London now since in the UK there’s a more liberal and open attitude towards the game.

How would your friends describe you?

They would describe me as: down to earth, a hard worker, and maybe a bit too serious.

What beliefs and values are important to you?

Individual freedom is important because I believe that it leads to higher quality of life for individuals, as well as for society, as a whole.

What has poker taught you?

On one hand that it’s easy to be fooled by randomness (variance in poker), on the other hand that you can influence your results by focusing on the process (getting better in poker).

What are the three things you do the most when you are not playing poker?

Sleep, socialize and take care of body and mind.

Who are the five people you spend the most time with?

My guess is, you’ve asked me this question because of the famous quote: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” I spend most of my time with my girlfriend, family and best friends – I can only hope the quote is true.

Who inspires you?

In poker, I would say: Phil Galfond (general approach to poker and life / RunItOnce), Ben Sulsky (theoretical approach), Phil Ivey (high in-game focus), Mike McDonald (general approach to the game), my buddy Abel Meijberg (for improving so much last year), and my buddy Phil Roquemore (for his drive for personal optimization, and ability of communicating original idea’s). Phil is also an excellent theoretical PLO coach (

In non-poker terms: Derren Brown (for the insane cool set of abilities he acquired through working so hard, and the way he communicates them to the world), Nassib Taleb (for his original and important idea’s), Richard Dawkins (for his ideas and his energy to communicate and defend those ideas), and Elon Musk (for being such a boss).

Most memorable hand during your 2014 run?

Busting Dan Smith with 44 vs. his AK in a coin flip with 20 players left.

Who is your biggest threat at the final table and why?

Either, Felix Stephensen, who is a great player and currently second in chips – and I’m very lucky to have position on him – or Martin Jacobson, a tournament crusher who’s luckily on the other side of the table and fairly low on chips. Mark Newhouse is also a big threat since he’s played the November Nine before. Overall, I think this is a very strong line up.

What’s changed about your life since making the November Nine?

I moved to London, I stopped playing PLO cash games and started playing live; also I’ve done quite a lot of interviews. Outside of that I try to keep things as normal as possible.

Give me three things from your bucket list?

– To be able to celebrate my 100th birthday without having regrets about things I wish I did, but didn’t do.
– Have a look at earth from space.
– Win the WSOP main event : )

What would you like to change about the world?

Tough question, because it’s so difficult to see all the effects of any proposed serious change. If I could change one thing: I’d like to take away all possible worst-case scenarios in the world as a possibility. Or even better, I’d like the world to develop in the best possible (EV) outcome/scenario from its current state. That way I don’t have to really change anything, so I don’t unknowingly/naively screw anything up. It would be great if we could run a real high number of simulations, from now into the distant future, and have the world develop in its best-case scenario.

A scenario that no doubts has an image of one Jorryt van Hoof standing behind an enormous pile of cash, holding a beaming smile, and a shiny gold bracelet on his wrist.


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