Chad Holloway: Ascending the Plateau

TAGs: Chad Holloway, WSOP

Chad Holloway: Ascending the Plateau Audio


Lee Davy catches up with the World Series of Poker bracelet winner, Chad Holloway, to talk about how it feels to be in the midst of one of life’s little heaters.

Chad Holloway: Ascending the PlateauHeaters don’t just happen on the felt, they can also burn into your life.

Chad Holloway is one such man reveling in that heat. PokerNews Senior News Editor is having the time of his young life. As I walk down the Rio corridor most of the booths that line the walkway are not yet ready.

Holloway is.

He stands by the Blue Shark Optics booth. He’s suited and booted. He looks lean, minus the mean. And he wears a huge smile that says, “I am living the dream.”

Holloway has written a comic book. No, scratch that, Holloway has written a comic book, found an artist who can turn his words into paint, printed a ton of copies, and is now selling them. On top of that he featured in Poker Night in America playing against Phil Hellmuth, wrote the first chapter in Jonathan Little’s new book ‘Excelling at No-Limit Hold’em, and did I mention the fact that he is a World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner.

Like I said, the man is smiling.

How’s life?

“It’s not too bad. The WSOP is upon us. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly it comes around. In addition to all of my duties within the community I have been trying to get involved in other things. That’s why I’ve been playing poker on TV, and writing comic books. I’m excited for this year. It’s the first time that I have not been live reporting, and this allows me to pursue some other things, and write some stories I have always wanted to write.”

You have just busted from the Casino Employees Event. Describe how it feels to bust from a WSOP event?

“I’m not going to give you a bad beat story, but I played each hand the right way, and still went out. It’s a small consolation when you play well, but it still irks you so much when you are out.”

You have this sense of loss. When it happens to me it’s as if the day ends right there. Nothing else matters.

“I wanted to go straight home, and on the way, stop at McDonalds and a pizza joint so I could drown my emotions with food whilst watching shows on Netflix.”

How does it feel to be working at the WSOP and not live reporting?

“It’s different. When you are live reporting at a tournament, the tournament clock determines your life. When it’s ticking you are on the floor. Even during the breaks you are taking chips counts, etc. I don’t have that this year. I have more freedom. I am going to love it when asked to go to dinner, or a few drinks. As long as I get my stories and articles done, I am free to do what I want.”

It’s going to be tough to go back to the way things were.

“I don’t want to say it’s the end of my live reporting. It’s not. I will be live reporting plenty outside of this event. But, man, if next year comes around and live reporting was offered to me in some capacity it would be difficult to get motivated to do it again.”

Tell me about Poker Night in America.

“At the end of April I had the opportunity to feature in Poker Night in America. It’s a televised cash game in the States. It had $25/$50 blinds – way above my bankroll – but I wanted to take my shot and tick something off my bucket list.

“I got to play with Phil Hellmuth, Shaun Deeb, Tom Schneider and Andy Frankenberger. That was cool. I cashed out with more than I bought in for, and I can’t wait for it to be aired.”

I believe you had a high percentage of yourself as well.

‘I sold 5% straight away with someone I worked with, and that was it. I had to buy 95% of myself, which was $5k per day, over two days, which is $10k. But as I walked into the casino, a colleague said he would buy 10%, so I ended up having 85% of myself. Fortunately, I cashed out $8,000 up. I was up $15,000 after the first day, but I gave half of that back on the second day.”

Talk to me about your role in Jonathan Little’s new book.

“Last WSOP Jonathan came up to be during one of the breaks and asked me if I would contribute to his new book “Excelling at No-Limit Hold’em’. We could write anything we wanted to so I decided to focus on the evolution of poker from 2003 up until present day, examining the little nuances that have changed throughout the years. Much to my surprise it turned out to be the first chapter of the book. I was pleased to hear that. It will be released in June.”

And the World Series of Zombies?

“I call it the WSOZ. The World Series of Zombies is a passion project of mine. It’s a comic book about a zombie outbreak during the WSOP. There are a few star names in there; plenty of comedy, action, and plenty of horror. I wrote it, I found someone to do the artwork, found some ads, got the printing done. It was a learning experience. I am selling it at The Rio for $5 a piece at the Blue Shark Optics booth and we will be selling them every day.”

What else do you want to achieve in life?

“A while back I felt like I had plateaued and hadn’t progressed with some of things I wanted to do. I put a lot of effort into the comic, the cash game was taking a shot, and I want to maintain that motion and make some waves. I wanted to make a positive contribution. One or two tournament wins would be nice. I want to keep the ball rolling.”

You can get bogged down in this writing gig. Time flies by and you wonder what you are doing with your piece?

“I often think: “where is this road going to end? Am I going to be in poker forever?” Eventually, I will transition out of poker, but I think I will always be involved in something related to it: such as gambling or sports. Poker will always be in my life, but not necessary my entire life. Who knows in 10-20 years time…this poker media is not an old man’s game. {With the exception of Nolan Dalla, that man is timeless}. I am trying to travel down the road that life has set me, because I have no interest in going back to school.”

What if a corporate job came along? Would you give up your freedom for the 9-5?

“I think it would be a question of money. I put a high value on my freedom, but if a corporate job came along offering me 2-3 times my salary it would be hard to say no. I don’t know how I would manage being in a 9 to 5 after being so flexible for so long. But you have to keep your options open.”

Jason Wheeler recently asked me if poker writers had a deep knowledge of the game, or are blindly writing down hands. Where do you stand on that continuum?

“I try to take advantage of the opportunity to observe first hand some of the best poker players in the world. I do my best to pay attention. I look at it as a learning opportunity. But there are times when you are live reporting for 12-hours and you just zone out. There are times when I have intently watched a hand, got back to my computer and I haven’t even wrote down the flop. It can be an exhausting business. But I try to actively engage in my live tournament reporting.”

Live tournament reporting?

I think young Mr. Holloway is slowly evolving into something completely different.

What do you think?


views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of