Sam Razavi has come a long way since his early days when he played poker as a hobby. Today he is considered the undisputed king of Asian poker after winning the Asian Poker Tour (APT) Player of the Year for the fourth year running in December 2015. This is the first time that a player has managed to win the title for four consecutive years.
Originally from England, Razavi hit the big league when he placed sixth in the Aussie Millions Main Event in 2011. He went on add more wins in the same year, winning the UKIPT Main Event at Cork for $100,000 and reaching Black Belt status in Neil Channing’s online poker room.
Razavi has chosen to focus on live tournaments in Asia in recent years due to a mix of personal and professional reasons and has achieved great success. Some of his major wins on the APT circuit include winning PHP$1.5 million after being placed third in the APT Manila Main Event in 2014 and coming in second to win more than PHP$1.9 million in the APT Cebu Main Event in 2012.
In 2015, Razavi won 7 titles on the APT circuit and cashed in 27 point-generating events, putting him on top of the chart. His total winnings for the year were a little over $1.5 million. Razavi was in fact trailing in the APT POY leaderboard towards the end of 2015. But his decision to miss the Asian Main Event and instead play in the side tournaments paid off, earning him crucial points that he needed to retain the title.
In a statement, Razavi said
It’s all about the dedication and commitment to playing all stops and the drive to remain one step ahead of the competition. I let that slip towards the end of the year and it nearly cost me the title. But I took a strategic decision not to play the Main Event at the Finale to focus on the side events giving me multiple opportunities for points, and I think that worked in my favour. It might have been the difference between winning and coming in a close second.
For Razavi, live poker is a fun game to be played responsibly like any other form of gambling. Razavi believes that the element of luck involved in poker gives the player a chance to win incredible amounts of money but it is the element of skill involved which makes it possible to have a career in it.