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Ali Nejad

888poker is back once again with another episode of their interview series 888ride. Over the last few weeks, the likes of Shaun Deeb, Phil Galfond and Ben Lamb have been in the passenger seat, and this edition sees GPI Broadcaster of the Year Ali Nejad join David Tuchman for a cruise around Las Vegas.

The duo discussed how Nejad got his start in poker and his several side hustles away from the felt. Nejad also shared some of his private jet-based adventures and how he nearly became an MTV star.

Getting into Day Trading

Before COVID, Nejad had never traded a stock in his life, but he became fully immersed in the investment world when lockdowns came into place. Nejad, never wanting to do just one thing, now finds himself day trading from 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Monday through Friday.

“For the last three years, I’ve been laser-focused on Draft Kings as a stock,” said Nejad. I get long and short options, short calls, and short puts, but I didn’t know anything about trading stocks [before getting into it].”

“[During COVID] I wanted action. I’m sitting at home, and I paid tuition, man. I put $50,000 at a time, like six different times, into my account, and I ran it down to $18,000. I was like despondent, it’s rigged, and then I turned a corner, and that’s when the green candles started going my way, and we’re in the black, handsomely, now.”

How did he figure it out? Through honest self-reflection: “I didn’t know as much as I thought I did. It was like a Dunning-Krueger kind of thing.”

Daniel Negreanu and Ali Nejad
Daniel Negreanu and Ali Nejad

Starting Off in Poker Commentary

“I began working in television in 1994, so my on-camera career in entertainment preceded poker… so I guess I had a bit of a headstart in the respect.”

Nejad then met Poker Hall of Famer and godfather of televised poker Mori Eskandani on a PartyPoker cruise in 2003 and the rest they say is history.

“I came [on the cruise] as a guest of Erick Lindgren, who ended up heads-up at the final table with Daniel Negreanu.”

“I had my VHS demo reels, and I had my resume, and I wanted to get in with Steve Lipscomb (WPT Founder). I just knew there were going to be people who were movers and shakers in terms of the early onset of poker television. I was sitting on my couch watching that stuff, thinking I should be hosting this.”

On the cruise, Nejad wound up at the same $75/$150 hold’em game as Eskandari, who was sharing his intentions of changing the landscape of poker broadcasting.

“You know all the BS we hear at poker tables. I’m looking over at Papa Smurf and thinking okay, but I indulged [him], and Eskandani was like, ‘what? you do this?'”

The pair then went to Eskandani’s suite, and Nejad put on his VHS tape.

“Midway through the demo reel, he looks over, and he’s like, ‘This is you?'” Nejad recalled. “He’s like ‘I’ve been looking for you, this is unbelievable.'”

“He basically grabbed my hand and dragged me with him onward and upward.”

Watch the Full Interview

The above only covers a few topics discussed in the 50-minute interview, so sit back, relax, and discover a few more things you likely didn’t know about one of poker’s most talented broadcasters.

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Calum Grant

Editor & Live Reporter

Calum has been a part of the PokerNews team since September 2021 after working in the UK energy sector. He played his first hand of poker in 2017 and immediately fell in love with the game. Calum’s proudest poker achievement is winning the only tournament he has ever played in Las Vegas, the prestigious $60 Flamingo evening event.

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