Sep 1, 2017
In poker, there are very few players who need no introduction. Especially at World Poker Tour Events, Anthony Zinno is one of them. If you aren’t familiar with his past accomplishments let me rattle some of them off for you.
Three-time WPT Main Event winner (one of only a handful of players to have achieved this rare feat), $2.5m in WPT earnings and Season 13 Player of the Year to name but a few.
Zinno admits that to even to him, a WPT event, be it a Main Event or a DeepStack, is a social event as much as it is a competitive tournament.
“Every time I come to a WPT I’m excited, first off, because I enjoy the environment a lot but also I get to see some friends. And in this stop I get to make some new friends!
“I love the structures of these tournaments and how well they’re run, but it’s also a bit like Christmas.”
We stopped for a second. Had we heard correctly. Christmas? It’s only just turned September!
Zinno laughed when we asked him what he meant.
“You know how some things remind you of Christmas? I really like Christmas. It’s my favourite time of year, with the snow and being around my family.
“So, coming back to a WPT kind of feels like that. If I haven’t played one in a while, there’s this feeling of ‘Wow, this has been where some of the best experiences of my life took place.’
“That first win in 2013 quite literally changed my life.”
His win in the Borgata Poker Open saw him take home $825,099 and Zinno says that it was the culmination of years of hard work.
“I had worked really hard up to that point to chase that dream, and then that dream came true.”
And then it happened again. Twice in fact.
“It was magical,” said Zinno.
But complacency hasn’t set in.
“I make an effort to bring my A Game at all times. I’m trying to win and hoping to win. But once you’ve become the ‘consummate professional ‘you embrace the variance of tournament poker.
“You set your goals out to be: play your A Game, get good sleep, try to eat relatively healthy, not party too much. Things like that all increase your likelihood of winning or at least producing good results.
“As long as I do that I’m content with my performance.”
Zinno admits that the only time where he gets upset is if he makes a mistake in one of those categories he mentioned.
“Like if I go out or stay up in bed watching Game of Thrones on my laptop, and I’ve definitely made these mistakes as of late.”
No wonder, with Season 7 being this year’s must-watch TV show!
“It happened to be some of the best episodes!” protested Zinno with a smile.
Another thing Zinno says you have to combat as a tournament professional is jetlag. Balancing his desire to play poker with his wanderlust can be tricky.
“It’s difficult because I’ll be in Vegas and next thing I know I’m in Monte Carlo.
“I have had this strong desire to travel since I was about 21. But there came this point in my poker career where I was able to do that more.
“That was really fulfilling personally. Just that goal, that dream to be able to someday point at the map and just…go there.”
Subconsciously perhaps Zinno still keeps an eye on the WPT calendar, from the Main Tour to the DeepStacks.
“The WPTDeepStacks Portugal clashed with the Legends of Poker, but that’s all the way in California. I was enjoying myself in Barcelona and didn’t want to travel all the way. So this stop just made perfect sense.”
And Zinno has been enjoying himself in sunny Portugal, balancing dual professions as well as allowing himself some time to relax.
“I’ve been busy! I went deep in the WPTDeepStacks High Roller, and my secondary profession is the stock-trading which means that during the week days I’m quite consumed by that.
“It’s been nice to do my trading in the sun. It’s been pretty awesome. I want to get better at this profession because I can do it while I’m on the move.
“The food too has been top-tier; I’m not a fussy eater or picky, but I do think that I know good food. I know good prices! The people are warm and welcoming. I’ve had zero problems at all while I’ve been here, from the moment that I landed here.”
For a player of his experience, Zinno has been exposed to a lot of the world’s casinos and casino staff, but he insists that Casino Vilamoura ranks very highly.
“It’s very clean and the managers and the staff are very professional. The poker dealers are phenomenal – for real.
“I see dealers all the time, so often that I could rank them. And these are 10/10.”
Stay tuned to WPT.com for the second instalment of our interview with Anthony Zinno, and to keep up to date with all that’s happening in the WPTDeepStacks Main Event.