What happened to Paul Phillips?
During the poker boom from '03-05, Phillips was one of the game's most recognizable personalities. With a WPT title and multiple WSOP final tables, Phillips was an accomplished mixed game player who amassed over $2.2M in career earnings.
As one of the first pros to embrace blogging, Phillips gained a following through his livejournal site, which is still popular to this day (although now void of poker-related content).
Phillips also built a rep for speaking out against what he saw as improprieties with the game, causing a few controversies along the way. Something we can certainly appreciate.
So what the hell has he been up to? Paul was kind enough to accept our interview request and discuss his latest passion (Scrabble), South Park, and of course, why he's no longer on the poker circuit.
WCP: You're no longer active on the tournament scene. What have you been up to the past couple of years?
PP: Got married, had kid, moved to Colorado, moved to Oregon, had another kid, decided to go back to school and get masters in Computer Science, applying now.
WCP: How are Scrabble and poker tournaments similar/different?
PP: Similar: people who don't quite fit into society are overrepresented.
Different: most Scrabble players have taken a vow of poverty, while most poker players live large until they can no longer borrow money.
WCP: How lazy was the "dot-com" nickname you got? You got any other nicknames you go by?
PP: Hey, at the time I received it (1999) it was not so widely applicable. I would not say I ever "went by" that nickname, which implies active participation - other people called me that. My livejournal username is "extempore," but I don't go by that either. So in a nutshell: no.
WCP: For the most part, the poker media is very forgiving to the players, burying or glazing over a lot of the less appealing aspects or personalities in the game. Part of your popularity was due in part to speaking your mind and not being worried about throwing flames on message boards and forums. Did this cause any personal issues with you and guys on the circuit? If so, did that also play any part in you withdrawing from tournament play?