Bryn Kenney & Sorel Mizzi: Feeding the Beast

Bryn Kenney & Sorel Mizzi: Feeding the Beast


Lee Davy sits down to Sorel Mizzi and Bryn Kenney to talk about a wide range of topics: from farting at the tables, smoking weed that knocks your socks off, and feeding the beast. 

I’m working at the Holland Casino for the World Poker Tour (WPT) Amsterdam Main Event. It’s Day 1A, and less than an hour has passed since I interviewed Samantha Abernathy.

Bryn Kenney & Sorel Mizzi: Feeding the BeastI encroach upon her table. She sees me and smiles. I smile back.

“Hello Lee.”

“Hello Samantha.”

I take my position behind her. I pull out my note pad, and as she stretches her slender hand out to drop a raise onto the table, I start stroking my paper with my pen. Someone else lets one rip. It’s silent. It’s deadly. I have no doubt that everyone at the table thinks it’s me. I have no doubt that Samantha thinks it’s me. I move away, but my reputation has already been tarnished. It was a right eggy one as well.

During dinner with Sorel Mizzi and Bryn Kenney I asked them how they deal with the problem of gas at the table.

The response lasted 25-minutes. If you can listen to the audio on this one I advise it.

Sorel Mizzi: “You have to let it out. The move is always to let it out, and blame someone else. You have to be consistent though.”

Lee Davy: “When professional poker players sit down at a table they immediately try to figure out who the fish is. Are you saying you are also trying to figure out who to blame for your leaky ass?”

Sorel Mizzi: “Exactly, and it’s usually the same guy by the way. The other day, around 4am, I am going down the elevator in my condo when I let one rip. It was a real juicy one. The lift stops on the ninth floor. In walks this 9.5 and I stood there and took the pain. A lesser man would have walked out. I stood there and owned it.”

Lee Davy: “Bryn, the last time I was in Amsterdam I smoked weed. It didn’t work out well. I ended up in hospital. I only had two drags. Why did that happen to me, and yet you smoke it all the time, and are able to play poker?”

Bryn Kenney: “It sounds like you were smoking mushrooms.”

Lee Davy: “It was definitely weed.”

Bryn Kenney:  There is some imbalance in your chemicals or something. I think we need to get that checked out immediately.”

Sorel Mizzi: “I believe weed interacts with people’s brains differently. If I smoke the stuff that Bryn smokes, I am no longer human.”

Bryn Kenney: “It’s all about the tolerance level. I still get stoned but I can handle myself. You can see it in my eyes, that I am half asleep during the day, but I am used to it.”

Lee Davy: “Does that give you a problem though? Does your tolerance level get so strong that you are always searching for the bigger and better high?”

Sorel Mizzi: “I don’t smoke very often. But I’m in Amsterdam…you know what they say…when in Rome. But when I am at home I will go months without smoking.”

Bryn Kenney: “I am still smoking sativa a lot of the time, which is like a morning uppity type of weed that you can function off and your brain is still working at a high level. If you are smoking Kush all day, then that will knock your socks off. You will struggle to function.

“Some people go into the shops and don’t know the difference between Sativa and Indica. If you grab something randomly and it’s a strong Indica, and you are not a smoker, it will knock you out of your shoes.

“I smoke a lot, and still if I have a few Indica joints I am not going to be able to think and play. It all depends on the grade of smoke. You can smoke a bubble gum, which is a nice taste, and nice high, where you are not feeling it too much, and can think for a long time straight, which I smoke when I am playing a Sunday grind. Then I will smoke something stronger at the end of the day to knock me out. Some strains make me think smarter, and some knock me out. As a smoker you need to know your strains.”

Sorel Mizzi: “My biggest problem with smoking is my relationship with food. If I smoke I am always going to eat shitty foods. I need to do one of two things. I need to stop smoking or change the way I view food when I am high. I cannot continue to do this sustainably.

“I can’t tell you how many times I have gone down to the vending machine, on breaks during the online grind, and have eaten eight of those little Amsterdam caramel centered things…then I get a pizza. It doesn’t stop.”

Bryn Kenney: “Man those caramel things are so good.”

Sorel Mizzi: “I definitely go off the rocker sometimes. It depends where I am. I believe in moderation though.”

Bryn Kenney: “It depends how he is doing.”

Sorel Mizzi: “That’s true.”

Bryn Kenney: It’s the same with me though. Especially, if you are in a losing streak and you a start eating shitty foods, it’s so easy to continue it. It’s a pleasure thing. You feel shit, and you are thinking what can I eat to make me feel good? This is why you eat all of these fatty, shitty foods. You sit in front of the computer; you play all day, and eat shitty food. You get into this degen state. When you get into the good state, it’s different. But it’s easy to slip.”

Sorel Mizzi: “Bryn and I have the same brain. Our bankrolls are just as volatile as our weight. I’m guilty for using food as a drug to relieve the pain. It’s a sub conscious thing. I’m not thinking, “Yeah…let’s eat this shitty meal,’ anything that involves instant gratification will do for me.”

Lee Davy: “You have both gained and lost weight in the past years.  I guess you have both reached a plateau with which you are happy with right now?”

Sorel Mizzi: “It’s hard when you set the bar really high for yourself. I do that. I want to be the best I can be. So when I go off the rocker a little bit, I have this extra layer of guilt. But I have made a lot of progress in terms of being in line with my intentions and not falling off the wagon.”

Lee Davy: “Bryn, I was watching you playing yesterday. You were stoned and lost two buy-ins pretty quickly. I was wondering if you cared about the money, or whether you did, and had a game plan that I didn’t know about.”

Bryn Kenney: “It’s a small buy-in for me. I was recently in Monaco playing huge buy-ins, and have been playing hard all year. I think I’m a little burned out from live poker to be honest. I didn’t want to play the whole day. I did give my chips away twice.”

Lee Davy: “Are you just gambling then?”

Bryn Kenney: “Not really…yeah I guess…I’m looking to splash around a bit. There are big SCOOPs online so I am trying to build up a nice stack or go home and play. It didn’t work out and that’s why I am back playing. Whatever happens, I am having a nice week in Amsterdam. I have other things on my mine other than playing poker when I am in this city.”

Lee Davy: “I asked Jason Wheeler if smoking reduced his equity at the table. He told me that it did, although there are wider benefits he derives from smoking. I am interested in your views on this?”

Bryn Kenney: “I think if you are playing in tournaments with a lot of high level thinkers you are smarter not to smoke. I have stopped smoking in the bigger buy-in tournaments. But in the other tournaments, where you don’t have to think so much, you can be stoned. You are playing face up against the rest of the table, and you don’t have to think as much. The hands are easier to play, and you don’t need to be on top of your toes.

“I do agree that your game deteriorates a bit when you are smoking. On the other hand you have so many swings in poker – especially Sorel and I. We have extreme highs and extreme lows. To keep yourself on a level, and don’t let them crush you, smoking helps tremendously.

“Dealing with money and people 24/7 is a lot of stress. To have something to ease that, and put you in a good state, can be perfectly fine, even if you lose a bit of equity.”

Sorel Mizzi: “I definitely agree with that last part. It’s not worth playing poker for a living if you are going to be stressed all of the time. Stress will shed years off your life. Stress is the number one cause of disease. If smoking can help reduce that stress then smoke. Obviously there are better ways, but they are more difficult.

“It’s like getting to the state of enlightenment or seeing life in a completely different way. You can live as a Buddhist monk for a year and get to that state, or you can get there much quicker by taking mushrooms. It’s cheating, but that’s the way it is. For sure it helps with anxiety and tilt, and I have definitely used it for that purpose at times. Overall, if you are asking me if it’s good for me health wise I would say that it is. But I cannot smoke and play. I was telling you earlier, I had a few puffs of the strong stuff and I couldn’t even walk four feet to my bed. There is no way my brain was functioning well enough to play poker.

“But I have been experimenting for that perfect mix. I am searching for something that heightens my awareness. I think you are more connected to people when you smoke, so you can make reads on them easier. Then there is the downside. When I don’t even know the size of the pot and start betting 10,000 into a pot of 400 and think it’s normal.”

Lee Davy: “Talk a little more about the stress caused by money.”

Bryn Kenney: “You can never worry about money in-game. If you do, you already have no chance of winning the tournament whilst you are playing. That’s why it’s so important to have a strong mindset outside of the game and do things that relax you. I am using my brain a huge percentage of the day, because I am playing all of the time. Even though poker is a game of skill there is a lot of gambling involved. There are big swings in terms of money and emotion. It’s tough. Everyone has gotten crushed and lost lots of money.

“You have to learn from your mistakes and just be a killer in a tough world. When you are dealing with money all the time, and working in poker, you meet a lot of leeches that just want things from you. It’s difficult to live in this life sometimes. It’s who takes the hits the best, and who stands up the tallest.

Sorel Mizzi: “I definitely worry about money a lot. I have been playing for the last 10-years and have had amazing results. One of my biggest fears is not having anything to show for it. I have had this talent to bounce back. Some people can’t do it. A lot of it has to do with luck, and mental strength. I am never going to change the way I play based on a downswing.”

Bryn Kenney: “You have to be super confident about your ability. If you don’t have that, you will never be able to build your way up from the bottom.”

Sorel Mizzi: “Like the great Bryn Kenney said: “All it takes is confidence.” Both of us are not big on bankroll management. It’s great to have people in the community who have your back and can provide loans, etc. That support system is important. There are people who are less talented than the game, who have way more money than me, because they have great bankroll management skills, and game select well.

“Poker to me is a weird thing. It’s a career, but it’s also this degeneracy. It’s this negative thing. It’s this addiction. I’ve been lucky that I have been able to channel this energy in a good way…for the most part. If poker wasn’t around I probably wouldn’t have gotten into casino games, because I am not in that world. Because I am, it is easier to get involved. I have to be super-hyper aware of that sickness I have within me and just take more time in considering decisions.

“I once went to a gambling anonymous meeting for a bet. When it came to my time to share I didn’t tell them about the magnitude of my success because I didn’t want to inspire them to start playing poker. I even remember parking my Porsche Boxster away from the area for the same reason. I told them I was a pro poker player and didn’t want to stop. I told them I wanted to stop playing in the pits, and have better bankroll management. They were telling me that I had to go cold turkey. I don’t think that it’s that big of a problem for me anymore, but it definitely used to be.”

Bryn Kenney: “Everyone is a big degen at heart. We all need to feed the beast. Everyone likes to bet on sports, everyone wants to make quick money, everyone wants to do nothing and make money, nobody wants to work hard, nobody wants to put any work into anything, they want to sit around and hope money comes to them. So what happens? They take bad gambles: in the casino, in sports, with their health, with life. Look at everyone in the US. They sit around drinking beers all day. It’s all about how you feed that addiction.”

Sorel Mizzi: “The lethargic life is the worse addiction of all. You don’t get to feel the full spectrum of what life’s got to offer.

Lee Davy: “How did this conversation start?”

Sorel Mizzi: “I can’t remember.”

Bryn Kenney: “Didn’t you fart near Samantha Abernathy?”