Lee Davy sits down with Jay Farber to talk about his guns, his work in the nightclub industry, and his respect for Dan Bilzerian and Dan Fleyshman.
Jay Farber has a big set of guns, and an even bigger smile.
He has two entries on his Hendon Mob profile. A runner-up finish to Ryan Riess in the 2013 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event, and a 34th place finish in the €10,450 World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE) Main Event that same year.
A sponsorship deal with 888Poker duly followed, and suddenly Farber was spending more time at the tables than in the nightclubs that had become his home. I caught up with him during the Millionaire Maker and this is what he had to say.
Impressive guns, how did you get them?
“I eat a lot.”
What do you eat?
At this point I think he is going to eat me. I stutter. Why didn’t you ever leave your job to play poker full time?
“I never wanted to play poker full time. I played it initially when I came out here but I soon lost the love for it. I didn’t like the feeling of getting up each morning to play poker. I felt obligated to play, and I don’t like that. I like to play when I am in an optimal state. I love working in the nightlife business. People come out here with an idea of what their perfect night out is and I get to help them fulfill that.
“I set Brian Hastings up in Hakkasan the other night, and he said they treated him like a king, and it was one of the best nights he has had. That makes me feel good. It’s an easy job. I get paid to hang out and party.”
What are the best nightspots in Las Vegas?
“The best three clubs are XS, Hakkasan and Omnia. They have the best talent line up, it’s where the best DJ’s are, and that’s where all the pretty girls go. All the people who spend the money go to those three places, so that’s where the party is.”
What else do you have going on?
‘I have a couple of businesses that I am working on. Hopefully, when the first one is done, I will never have to work again. But even when that happens I will still be taking care of people, working in the nightlife business, and playing poker.”
Why have you been so successful?
“I don’t think I have special attributes. I am good at networking, making connections with people, and leveraging those relationships to connect others. I rarely meet people and let them fall by the wayside. As a poker player I am very self aware of my strengths and weaknesses. A lot of poker players aren’t aware of that. They try to play the player and the math. They don’t consider how people perceive them. I know how people perceive me and I can profit from that.”
What do you think about the world we live in?
“I try not to watch the news. It’s depressing and fear mongering. I do like to watch food and travel documentaries. If it’s on Netflix I have seen it. I have a lot of free time at home with my dogs, so I watch a lot of TV.”
What holds you back?
“Everybody has a fear of failure. Nobody wants to try something and not succeed. Overcoming that is tough for anybody. I’ve been putting my foot out there and testing the waters. I invested a lot of money into a project that will be opened in August, and once that gets rolling I will be able to get involved with other businesses that I am passionate about.”
Who inspires you?
“Dan Bilzerian is an inspiration. If you get past the glitz, glamour and all the bullshit that people say about him, you find a guy that has an attitude in life that’s all about fun. He doesn’t care what people think about him. He wants to be liked, everyone does, but he will do what he wants and to hell with everyone else.
“You can learn a lot from that mindset. People are too concerned about their image or what people think about them. Look at these kids on Instagram who are vapid selfish human beings who seek approval from others. I just go out there and live my life. If people like it great, if not it isn’t going to bother me.”
He comes across as a misogynist, is he like that in real life?
“He is and he isn’t. I think everyone has a bit of that in them. Dan has a very carefully cultivated image and that’s the image he wants out there. Before I made the final table we went to Boston and were hanging out with his Dad and the System of the Down drummer, John Dolmayan. It was great listening to his Dad telling stories about Dan as a kid.”
Tell me one of those stories
“When Dan got expelled for the second time from his High School, his Dad went to his school to see his teacher. He noticed they were building a new gym and he told the principal that he would donate whatever money he needed to get the job done, because he could not have his son expelled. The principal said, “Ah…forget about it.”
He must have been one of your toughest clients?
“Thankfully I don’t have to do that for Dan. We have always been just friends. The last party he threw at his house, the level of production that went into that was insane. I don’t ever want to be in charge of something like that.
“They raised $250k for Brain Research and the who’s who of Hollywood was there. I met Vin Diesel, Ludacris, and Adrian Grenier. There was a ton of great people, and everyone had a great time. Unfortunately, it wasn’t just Dan throwing a girl of the roof…so he didn’t get as much attention as it deserved. It was a shame because he did a really good thing.
“I also have a lot of time for Dan Fleyshman, who helped organize it, he is the reason that I was successful as a host when I started. We met playing $5/10 at the Hard Rock and started working together. It’s through Dan that I met everyone within the poker world.”
Have you ever thrown a woman off a roof?
“Of course I have. Dan didn’t pioneer that move. People have been throwing women off roof’s since the 50s and 60s.”