The U.S. Poker Open returns to PokerGO and Poker Central in early 2019, between the 13th-23rd February. With 10 events across 11 days of poker inside the PokerGO Studio, everyone is already talking about one of the year’s premier high stakes festivals. Each week, we are catching up with players who have carved their name in Sin City legend. This week, we spoke with Brian Rast, a man who loved Las Vegas so much, he now calls it home.
“For most people, Vegas is a type of adult playground and it used to be that way for me when I lived on the Strip. But now my family and I have moved away to Summerlin, which is still technically a part of Vegas, but a little bit off the Strip. It’s nice out there, everything is convenient. Vegas now to me just means home. It’s not particularly crazy or strange out in Summerlin and I rarely go down to the Strip for much other than to play poker.”
“I usually play at the ARIA or Bellagio, but also occasionally take advantage of the amenities at the ARIA because of my relationship with them. As a place to live, outside of playing poker, Vegas has grown on me a lot.”
Rast’s journey to Las Vegas ended with him moving to Sin City. Changing from being a visitor to a resident has altered his perception of the city.
“I’ve lived in Las Vegas now for over 10 years and it’s grown on me as a place to live. The weather is better than most people realize. From June through August, it’s too hot during the day – but it’s a dry heat and it’s nice at night. Spring and fall temperatures are amazing – warm days and moderate nights. Winter is chilly, especially for my Brazilian wife, but compared to many places in the Northern hemisphere it’s extremely moderate – it doesn’t get cold enough for snow to settle!”
Vegas may be viewed as an expensive city for anyone who travels to the World Series and doesn’t have a winning series. But on a day-to-day basis, Rast explains it’s not the most taxing to reside in.
“The cost of living in Vegas is way cheaper than a place like California. There are no state income taxes here, as opposed to more than 10% in many places. There are lots of great restaurants here, definitely more than Vegas’ size warrants. There isn’t much traffic either – it’s easy to get around. My wife and I are in the middle of remodeling a home to be our dream home for the foreseeable future. Given that I don’t plan on quitting poker any time soon along with all the other positives about Vegas, it just makes sense to set up base here.”
“I always look forward to the World Series of Poker when it comes to town. I regularly play cash games as they have more of an effect on my bottom line than tournaments do, and I care more about them – which is even the case during the WSOP. I also have a short memory when it comes to most results that I have, good or bad.”
Want to learn more about Brian Rast? Watch the Pokerography documenting his life right now.
This seemed like the best time to remind Rast that last year’s U.S. Poker Open saw him bubble the $50K NLH Main Event.
“Bubbling last year’s tournament is a distant memory, but I’m sure I was disappointed when it happened. As I remember, I came into Day 2 with a strong chip position and ended the day outside the money. That’s never fun, but it’s also not that difficult. There was still a lot of play left between the end of Day 1 and the money and things like that can easily happen. I do like when these tournament series come through Las Vegas, as I rarely travel for poker anymore, so enjoy playing them. I’ll be looking forward to the U.S. Poker Open and all poker action that comes to town.”
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Rast built a reputation largely in Las Vegas and it’s fair to say that he now has the status of a cash game boss and tournament titan in the neon Nevada paradise for poker professionals. That all began with a focus on No Limit Hold’em, but that has shifted in recent times.
“Years back, I’d achieved a very high level of No Limit Hold’em play and was comfortable in high rollers and high stakes cash games. I turned my focus to playing mixed games. But in the last few years, the level of play in No Limit Hold’em tournaments has improved dramatically. In my opinion, that’s due to the advent of solvers as a means to study. I view it as another challenge in my life to work hard at No Limit in order to stay competitive at the highest levels and continue playing high rollers. There are a lot of smart, talented players in poker and I relish the opportunity to test myself and try to earn a living in all arenas of poker combat.”
‘What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas’, as the legend goes. That folklore applies directly to Brian Rast, the man who enjoyed winning in Sin City so much he made it his home.
With a huge schedule of tournaments taking place across 11 days of poker, the 2019 U.S. Poker Open will have something for every player – and fan – of the game. Poker Central will be in Las Vegas throughout to bring you wall-to-wall coverage of every bust-out, blow-up or big bluff. Stay tuned to Poker Central next week as we bring you another exclusive conversation with one of the game’s greats. For now, subscribe to PokerGO and get in the game.