Poker Stories Podcast: World Poker Tour President And CEO Adam Pliska

Poker Stories is a long-form audio podcast series that features casual interviews with some of the game’s best players and personalities. Each episode highlights a well-known member of the poker world and dives deep into their favorite tales both on and off the felt.

Adam Pliska has been with the World Poker Tour since the start, and along with the company recently celebrated 20 years in the game. The WPT President and CEO acted as the tour’s general counsel for several years before making the switch to the executive side. Under his leadership, the tour has since grown to a truly global scale and recently hosted a record-breaking $29 million prize pool WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas.

Before Pliska took the helm at WPT, he worked in TV production. The USC film school graduate even helped to launch programs such as Baywatch, Win Ben Stein’s Money, and a reboot of Lassie. He ultimately decided to go back to law school, however, graduating from UC Berkeley. He was all set to take a job with the Senate Judiciary Committee on intellectual property law when his good friend Steve Lipscomb called him with an offer for a brand-new poker TV show that had yet to secure distribution. Pliska decided to gamble on the start up, and the rest is history.

Highlights from this interview include faking press credentials for Hollywood access, being focused on TV production, Leonardo DiCaprio and the collie, following a girl to law school, battling the cold of Washington D.C., gambling on a poker start-up, becoming poker Disney, how the tour makes money, putting the world in World Poker Tour, pivoting during a pandemic, how to lease a horse, taking a frozen cake to the face from Steve Aoki, learning the cello, hating the 4 a.m. paper route, betting against Antonio Esfandiari’s charisma, looking like Obama, a Maleficent job offer, in labor at the final table, and death-defying sailboat races with Richard Branson.

Catch up on past episodes featuring notables such as Doyle Brunson, Daniel Negreanu, Jennifer Harman, Patrik Antonius, Justin Bonomo, Antonio Esfandiari, Phil Galfond, Nick Schulman, Fedor Holz, Barry Greenstein, Dan Smith, Scotty Nguyen, Mike Sexton, Maria Ho, Brad Owen, and many more. If you like what you hear, be sure to subscribe to get the latest episodes automatically when they are released.

*Photo credit WPT