Faraz Jaka, WPT champion and winner of multiple big money online poker tournaments, recently appeared on CNN’s Money show as a nomadic millionaire.
Sitting in stark contrast to the usual depictions of high stakes poker players and their lavish lifestyles, the two-minute piece by CNN focuses on Jaka’s unusual approach to traveling the poker circuit.
Usually when mainstream media covers a high stakes poker player, the typical motif used is of excess and lavishness that is presented on top of a of Las Vegas backdrop.
However, in the latest installment of CNN Money, the producers took a different route. Titled: “He’s a homeless millionaire poker player” the video outlines how Jaka has “couch surfed” his way around the world and made millions of dollars in the process.
Unconventional, even by the poker industry’s standards, the profile paints the picture not of a young millionaire making insane prop bets, but a culturally sophisticated traveler who has found a way to combine his two passions in life.
In addition to recounting his trips to dozens of countries and experiencing new cultures, including spending time in a Thai monastery and not talking for ten days, Jaka gave his take on the value of money.
Going against the grain and valuing the experiences money can buy and not the material possessions, Jaka’s ethos is certainly atypical when it comes to the general public’s perception of poker players.
Naturally, people will still have their preconceptions about “gamblers” regardless of whether they’ve watched the video or not.
However, as more mainstream media outlets decide to focus on the positive side of poker, the better things will be for the industry.
At the start of 2015, the online poker world appears to be on a positive trajectory.
As well as improvements in the flow of traffic in regulated US states such as New Jersey, the status of online poker in Europe appears to be improving also.
Although the legal landscape is still somewhat unclear in some countries, the majority of European regions have now defined and refined their igaming policies.
Overall, these changes, coupled with positive portrayals of poker players by media outlets such as CNN Money, are helping to improve the reputation and prosperity of the online poker community across the world.
When he’s not couch surfing his way across the world, Faraz Jaka is grinding against the top MTT players in the world.
Whether it’s online or live, the American competes, and beats, the game’s toughest pros on a regular basis.
In fact, it’s Jaka’s poker rÃ©sumÃ© that has allowed him to travel the world and experience new cultures.
According to the Hendon Mob’s live tournament database, the American pro has won $4,565,966 over the eight years.
During that time he’s managed to make countless final tables and take down two titles, including the WPT Emperors Palace Poker Classic High Roller back in November 2014.
On top of his live earnings, Jaka has also enjoyed a huge amount of success online under the screen name “The-Toilet”.
Across PokerStars, Full Tilt and a selection of smaller sites, Jaka has won $3,641,937 and participated in a six-way chop worth $417,000 in the 2014 WCOOP Main Event.