Interview: Brian Hastings (Stinger885)

Hello Mr. Hastings! Where should we begin with you? Well, you’re a 20-year-old student who goes to Cornell, you’re a part owner of CardRunners, and you’re one of the top three online players in the world right now, if not the best. What’s been going on with you lately and poker?

That’s quite a compliment, thanks. I’ve just been finishing up the second semester of my sophomore year, enjoying the nice weather (rare in Ithaca), and playing a bit of poker as well. I’ve been playing a lot of Pot Limit Omaha, with some No Limit Hold’em and H.O.R.S.E. sprinkled in. I still need work on the latter.

Are you addicted to PLO like everyone else these days? Do you prefer to play it rather than NL?

I do enjoy it more than NL. PLO is a very fun game. Everyone plays looser PLO than NL, and people gamble it up more. Also, the overall quality of play is lower than NL right now. NL has greatly evolved in the last few years since the poker boom, while PLO is more of an unsolved game. I think there’s definitely more money to be made in PLO than in NL right now. I plan on playing plenty of it this summer.

You said you’re a sophomore in college; why are you still in school now that you’re a millionaire?

I certainly have had many people ask that and wonder. Basically I’ve received lots of advice from close friends, family, and colleagues preaching the importance of a degree. Obviously this is no surprise coming from my family, but I think it’s even more significant coming from someone like Taylor Caby, who is in a similar position as me but a few years older. Also, I’m not sure I want to just play poker for the rest of my life, so I’d like to keep my options open.

That’s terrific. What do your parents think about all your success at such a young age?

At first, they weren’t too excited with my poker playing. They’re not big on gambling and didn’t really grasp the fact that I was consistently winning by outplaying my opponents and managing my money well. I think they were expecting me to lose it all back or something. Once they realized that I was winning consistently over an extended period of time (and maybe paying for tuition had something to do with it − ha-ha) they started to come around. Now I’d say they’re proud of me.

That’s great that your parents are supportive now. Did they see poker more as a form of gambling rather than skill and strategy?

They realized that there’s strategy involved, but definitely did see it more as gambling. I think that’s true for most parents who aren’t familiar with the game.

If Mr. Hastings weren’t a professional poker player, what would he be?

Good question, one that I’d love to know myself. I’m an economics major and I’ve had thoughts about going into finance, but I’m not sure if I really want to do that. One thing I can see myself doing a few years down the road is starting a business. I’m not sure what exactly I’d want to do, but it seems like a challenge that can be very rewarding, both monetarily and emotionally.

Are you a big prop bettor?

I have done a few prop bets.

Tell us about your best one so far!

I made a prop bet with Brian Townsend last year toward the end of summer. I had been running bad in the 200/400 NL and PLO games online, and wanted a good reason to stay away from them for a while. I bet Brian that I wouldn’t play those games until January of 2008. We decided to put the terms of the bet to a vote on CardRunners. The members voted that the loser had to work twenty hours at McDonald’s, plus training. I won the bet, and I think Brian is going to do his working this summer in Las Vegas. Stay tuned!

That is too funny. Besides playing poker, what do you like to do in your spare time?

Aside from my poker playing, I’m basically a normal college kid. I’m in a fraternity and enjoy parties. I also like to play golf, play video games, and watch movies and TV (currently watching The Wire, great show).

Better than Entourage?

They’re completely different shows. I love Entourage too, but The Wire is more of a serious drama with a bit of humor added in. I’m not sure which I prefer, but it’s pretty hard to top Johnny Drama.

You said you are a gamer. Which of these systems do you prefer: Xbox360, Wii, or PS3?

I have all three systems. I didn’t open my 360 until Grand Theft Auto 4 came out though. Also I can’t find the sensor for my Wii.

We should have known you would have all three. I mean if you’re making a couple hundred thousand a day, why not have all of them?

Ha! I would say I play PS3 the most.

You are in a frat, and we know frat guys love to party. What is your favorite beverage?

I’m more of a mixed drink guy. Margaritas are always fun. One drink I really liked was the Bushwhacker. We made them for our Hawaiian party; they’re made with vanilla ice cream, dark rum, Kahlua, Malibu, and coconut water. They taste like a milkshake. As for beer, some of it is pretty solid. Blue Moon and Stella Artois are two of my favorites.

We like your style, sir! On another note, which online player do you like playing the least and why?

Cole South (cts), he’s just unbelievably good. He is hard to play against, hard to put on a hand, and good at reading yours. Cole being a friend also adds just another reason why I don’t like playing against him.

Now on to the BLUFF Final Five. What is pumping in your headphones while you’re pwning donkeys?

My favorites are newer rap and 90s rock. Currently I’m on a 90s rock kick. I like stuff like Weezer, Foo Fighters, Taking Back Sunday, and Incubus. As for rappers, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, and Eminem are some of my favorites.

All three of those rappers are my favorite, too. Do you believe luck is a factor in poker, and do you have any rituals to avoid bad luck?

I believe in the short term that luck is a factor, in the long term it is not − at least for a cash game player. I joke around about it some, but I don’t actually have any rituals to speak of.

If you could bust anyone or take his whole bankroll, whose would it be?

Guy Laliberte, because then I’d be a billionaire. He’s a nice guy though, so maybe I should pick someone else. I guess Grimstarr would be a pretty funny one.

Why Grimstarr?

He backed out of a prearranged $5000 flip against someone a while back. He also used to sit at HU tables, play his button, and then sit out. Basically he has no ethics, so if I had to pick someone based on merit, it’s him.

That is definitely not cool. What celebrities would you like to have in your entourage?

Being a big Yankees fan, I have to go with Derek Jeter as one. LeBron James would be fun to hang out with. Definitely Floyd Mayweather, because then my entourage could have an entourage.

Ha! That would be some sick protection having Floyd Mayweather and his entourage. The final question that we always like to ask: Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Scarlett Johansson, or Giselle Bundchen?

It’s very close, but I’ll say Gisele. It’s close between her and Alba, but I think she’s the best looking all around. Best combo of face and body.

Yes. They are both smoking hot, that’s for sure. Brian, thanks for taking us into the mind of Luc Longley/Stinger885. It was a pleasure.

Thank you very much!

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