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“From the three Boot Camps that I took, I probably had a total of 12 lectures. Every single one of them had something that changed my game.”
Sean Jazayeri: Defeats Star-Studded Final Table to Win L.A. Poker Classic, WPT Title and $1.4 Million
When Sean Jazayeri enrolled in WPT Boot Camp, he had one goal: to improve his poker game. A dedicated student, Sean didn’t just stop with one WPT Boot Camp. He took three: Tournament Camp, the advanced Tournament Clinic, and Champions Camp.
Well, Sean’s game did get better. It got so good, that when Sean entered the 2012 L.A. Poker Classic—against a large and very tough international field—he took it down, winning $1.4 million and a coveted World Poker Tour championship.
For Sean, winning the LAPC was the thrill of a lifetime. Immediately after taking the crown, he said, “You dream about it, you fantasize about it, but in my heart, I never thought this could happen. It’s a real dream come true.”
Winning any WPT Championship is impressive, but the LAPC traditionally attracts one of the toughest fields on any tour. To take down the crown, Sean had to overcome 549 players, including former LAPC champions Michael “Grinder” Mizrachi, Antonio Esfandiari, and Phil Ivey, who bubbled the money. His final table included WSOP bracelet winners Jason Somerville and Dan Kelly, three-time WPT final-tablist Noah Schwartz, WPT final-tablist Jason Burt, and well-known online pro David “Doc” Sands.
Later, he said, “The best emotion I can compare it to was when my parents finally took me to Disneyland. It was something that they told me would happen and I didn’t really believe it. I don’t think anything matches this!”
Poker vs. Boredom
Sean first learned poker as a kid back in Iran, when his father taught him 5-card draw.
“Then we moved to the U.S., where I was more a blackjack player,” he recounts. “And then they started showing poker on TV, so I started watching it.”
Sean enjoyed second-guessing the players on TV, but he still didn’t take poker seriously. But then, he says, “I had this project going which was in China. I was bored to death at nights. There was absolutely nothing to do. So I started playing online poker, not for money, just for fun. And after a while, I started winning them and I started thinking, ‘Maybe I’m good.’”
In 2007, Sean joined his family on a cruise that featured a small poker tournament of under two dozen people. When he won, he thought, “I’m pretty good at winning free online poker. I just won a tournament. Maybe I’m good.”
So, Sean, says, “I went to Las Vegas. I played in two daily tournaments and got my ass handed to me!”Sean’s first encounter with serious poker players showed him that “these were people who knew what they were doing and I did not.” His competitive nature kicked in—and a serious poker student was born.
Mastering the Game
“I’ve always been a competitive guy,” Sean explains. “I used to be a chess player and a backgammon player, and I like gaming theory.” So he did what countless other serious poker students before him had done—he bought a dozen poker books and began to study.
“I learned a lot from reading these books,” he recalls. “I went back to Las Vegas and actually started cashing and even winning some small tournaments.”
In the larger tournaments, however, Sean would start strong—but finish weak. “I would just get unlucky,” he says. “But then I thought, ‘Maybe it’s not luck, maybe I’m missing something.’” A commercial for WPT Boot Camp during a World Poker Tour broadcast led Sean to take first one Boot Camp, then another, until within a year, he had taken all of the WPT Boot Camp’s tournament offerings.
“Since then, my results have been a lot better!” he says.
Sean has been quick to credit WPT Boot Camp with his tournament success. Right after winning the LAPC, he told Poker Pro magazine, “I wouldn’t be here without the Boot Camp. I was cashing before, but usually only in the top 25...in thousand dollar buy-ins.”
He is especially grateful to WPT Boot Camp for teaching him how to adjust his play based on effective stack size (the second-largest stack in play) , his position, and on his opponents’ style .
“At WPT Boot Camp, I learned that my theory was fine but there were some things I wasn’t doing well,” he says. He appreciates the effect Boot Camp has had on his game, because, he says, “When I do something, I want to do it well! I wasn’t satisfied with where I was at. WPT Boot Camp helped me improve.”
The Thrill of Victory
Sean wondered whether he might be nervous as he approached his first WPT Championship, but, he says, “When the final table happened, I was having the time of my life. I was really enjoying myself.”
Sean’s expectations at the WPT were affected by his experience at a WSOP Circuit event a few weeks, where he ended up coming in third.
“I went over and got my cash at the cage and as I was coming back, the other guy was having his picture taken and was also showing off the WSOP ring. As I was walking away, I thought, ‘I wonder if I’ll ever get another chance like that?’”
Sean was discouraged, and when he entered the LAPC, he says, “In all honesty, I did not go in there thinking I would win. This was something that I pictured a million times and never thought would really happen.”
Looking Toward the Future
Since his LAPC victory, Sean has continued to blaze a trail of tournament success. He took eight place in two EPT tournaments and final-tabled the Bellagio Cup for $50,860. He plans to continue playing poker as “a serious hobby.”
He has also stayed in close touch with WPT Boot Camp.
“One of the best things about the Boot Camp is the variety of instructors that they have,” he says. “Sometimes you even get varying views from the instructors, which attests to how good the class is, because poker’s not an exact science. You need to understand how other people would handle a situation and then decide what’s best for you.”
He adds, “From the three Boot Camps that I took, I probably had a total of 12 lectures. Every single one of them had something that changed my game.”