FlopTurnRiver.com recently had the opportunity to interview Ben Wilinofsky just days after his EPT Berlin 2011 Main Event win.
Last week 773 poker players battled it out in Berlin for a first prize of $1.19 Million. It was the 22 year old, Canadian, Ben Wilinofsky, with the Beatles-esque mop-top and stunner shades, who took the massive first place prize.
Wilinofsky won the EPT Berlin Main Event Title with confidence and a healthy mix of friendly banter and trash talk. Originally from Vancouver B.C., before poker, Wilinofsky, played competitive chess and Magic the Gathering. The eclectic Wilinofsky draws inspiration from such diverse sources as Mozart, street artist Banksy, and Kurt Vonnegut. Ben plays at PokerStars under the screen name “NeverScaredB.”
Jared Huggins: Congratulations on your EPT Berlin 2011 Main Event Title!
Ben Wilinofsky: Thanks! It still hasn’t quite sunk in yet.
JH: Have people been coming out the woodwork to congratulate you on your EPT Championship win?
BW: I’ve gotten a lot of messages from people I hadn’t talked to in years. I’m grateful that so many people are genuinely happy for me. Do you mind if I send a shout out? I’d like to send some love to my family and all my poker friends.
JH: What type of wine does Ben Wilinofsky drink?
BW: I’ve been known to enjoy a healthy glass of Ron Zacapa 23 year. It’s superb.
JH: What do you do to relax away from the poker table?
BW: To relax I usually hit the gym, do some yoga, then cruise down to the beach, in that order. Pushing myself physically and then unwinding in the sun keeps my game sharp.
JH: Rather fight in a steel cage deathmatch: a vicious pitbull unarmed, or a silverback gorilla with your best friend and sharp weapons at your disposal?
BW: The pitbull, obviously. The odds of my best friend dying go to 0.
JH: How did studying entrepreneurship in college take your poker playing to the next level?
BW: I think the best thing studying entrepreneurship did for me was get me to accept failure. In order to play tournament poker at a high level, you have to accept that you’re going to win maybe 1.5% of tournaments if you’re grinding small fields AND are really good. The whole business school module I went through put a lot of focus on making the best decision possible with the information at hand and letting the results come. That’s exactly what you have to do to succeed in poker.
JH: What advice can you give the FlopTurnRiver community about meeting girls?
BW: Honestly, online poker is such an anti-social thing to do that it’s tough. I think the most important thing is to look for someone in places you’re happy. If you hate going clubbing, you’re not going to be confident meeting women in clubs because you’re going to be uncomfortable. Maybe more importantly, you’re going to meet women who like clubbing at clubs. You’re already starting with a disconnect in personality.
I am so impressed with women that have confidence and are happy with themselves. It’s a rare commodity, but anyone who has enough character to stand up and be who they are regardless of who likes it, is going to draw my attention.
JH: What’s on your bucket list?
BW: Start a business. Visit the Great Wall of China. Have a threesome with two beautiful ladies. Learn Jazz Piano. Train Kung Fu. Breakdance. Learn Russian. Meet the woman of my dreams. One day I’d like to be a father.
JH: Wow, great answer. I heard that you had some crazy adventures in Amsterdam last year. Care to share some stories?
BW: I was practically broke with no way to get out of Amsterdam after San Remo last year (I had some money online but I couldn’t actually spend it on anything). I ended up at the Citizen M Hotel at Schipol airport in the lobby, staying up all night and playing with some money I had online.
I made 15K at 3/6 HU PLO and was sort of in a daze. I wandered into a public restroom and took off my shirt to bathe myself and start shaving. At like 5:20 AM. One of the employees walked in on me, shirtless, with shaving cream all over my face. I just kind of nodded and said “Hi”.
That’s all for now. Most of my crazy stories aren’t PG-13 enough to release to the general public (plus my mom knows how to use google). Hi mom!
JH: FlopTurnRiver.com thanks you for the interview. Much appreciated!
BW: You’re welcome!
(Photo Courtesy of Ben Wilinofsky’s Facebook account.)