Mori Eskandani
[Photo courtesy of PokerGO] Mori Eskandani

Having spent more than two decades as the driving force behind some of poker’s most notable poker shows—think High Stakes Poker, Poker After Dark, Face The Ace, the Poker SuperStars Invitational Tournament, the National Heads-Up Poker Championship—as well as providing coverage from events such as the World Series of Poker, WSOP Europe, and the Super High Roller Bowl, Mori Eskandani, the man heading up PokerGO and acclaimed member of the Poker Hall of Fame, is one of poker’s most iconic television broadcasters.

Few people have seen more of the poker world than Mori Eskandani—he spent many years grinding out a living on the poker felt before launching his illustrious TV career. But it was the countless hours he spent behind the camera that ultimately earned him legendary status in the Poker Hall of Fame.

This year marks the second year of our exciting partnership with PokerGO. As we kick off our second Global Poker X US Poker Open, we thought you’d like to know a little more about the President of one of the greatest live event production companies in the world.

Ahead of the new series, we were lucky enough to sit down and chat to the PokerGO President about how he first broke into the poker circuit, how the world of poker has changed over the years, and what impact online poker has had on live poker play.

Mori Eskandani and Luke Williams
[Photo courtesy of PokerGO] Mori Eskandani and Luke Williams, winner of the GP x USPO 2021

1. Global Poker (GP) How did you first get into poker, and what do you love most about it?

Mori Eskandani (ME): I got into poker in college playing quartet ante 5-card stud.

I love the game because it challenges me the same way life does; full of ups and downs that require courage and patience to survive.

2. GP: How has poker changed in the time you’ve been playing it?

ME: The biggest change has occurred since the invention of online poker. The younger generation has been able to get a feel for the game much faster than when I first started playing in 1978.

Computers have put the game at their fingertips. They can play thousands of hands in a matter of days, and sharpen their strategies and skills much quicker than my generation of players.

3. GP: How has online poker changed the way the game is played?

ME: Online poker is basically live poker amped up. I believe online poker has helped the growth of live poker. Online players will always enjoy stepping out of the digital world to play with real chips and cards.

Moving all of your chips to the center of the felt in live games will always feel more exhilarating than pressing the all-in button online.

4. GP: What’s the future of poker in the USA?

ME: Poker is a true American pastime and it can go no place but up.

Live poker rooms and social online sites are operating in nearly every state.

5. GP: How did you get started with PokerGO?

ME: My previous company, POKER PROductions was acquired by Poker Central LLC by PokerGo in 2017. Both companies had business relationships for a few years prior to acquisition.

It’s simply amazing to be a part of the world’s most powerful poker content production and distribution corp.

6. GP: What’s special about the US Poker Open that sets it apart from other tournaments?

ME: USPO mainly caters to the top poker professionals. It’s part of a tournament series called PGT (PokerGO Tour). What sets these series apart from other events is the core of participants.

These series have high buy-ins and attract mainly the best players in the world.

7. GP: What are some of the highlights of partnering with Global Poker?

ME: We love that more social/casual poker players are becoming associated with the USPO brand. Partnering with Global Poker has provided the opportunity for a much larger USPO family.

It’s so exciting to see thousands of online social players compete in the online USPO at Global Poker. Maybe someday the online social champion will play an exhibition match against our pro live champion for some well-deserved bragging rights. 😃

Luke Williams and Phil Helmuth
[Photo courtesy of PokerGO] Luke Williams and Phil Helmuth

8. GP: Last year’s Global Poker x USPO 2021 winner, Luke Williams, received a tour of the PokerGO studios and met poker greats Phil Hellmuth and Tom Dwan. What can our 2022 winner expect from a tour of the PokerGO studios?

ME: Although I can never guarantee the likes of Hellmuth and Dwan to be present in the PokerGO studio, I have no doubt the 2022 winner will have a similar experience when they travel to Vegas to see us in action.