Red wine

Poker Stars Gamble on Grapes

It’s well-known that you have to spend money to make money. No one knows this better than professional poker players. They can gain and lose thousands in the blink of an eye. But on the days they walk away successful, they can be awarded huge amounts. With the correct investments, players can use these large pots to support themselves financially for years to come. So what are poker stars doing with their winnings? Some are finding that the best investments incorporate another passion. For a select, unorthodox few, this reasoning left them with only one solution: wine.

Former poker pro Joe Sebok took an interest in wine after taking a year off from the poker circuit. Partnering with his step-father, Barry Greenstein—another famous poker player—Sebok and Greenstein have completed a long list of successful business ventures together. While some call Greenstein ‘The Robin Hood of Poker‘, most know the duo as Barry ‘The Bear’ Greenstein, and Sebok as ‘The Cub’. But, in their latest venture, the two chose to soften their icy demeanors at the table to relish the finer things in life—an artistically crafted, superb bottle of the perfect wine.

The winery was one of the first businesses that ‘The Cub’ decided to head up himself. Even with his notoriety, Sebok wanted to make sure he paid his dues in the industry before starting out. In 2012, he worked at the custom crush facility, Vinify, in Santa Rosa, CA. There, he was responsible for punchdowns—punching the top layer of grapes to the bottom of the bins so that they ferment evenly—and pumpovers—pumping the wine between holding tanks.

After his three-month stint at the vineyard, Sebok gained a new appreciation for a hard day’s work. He was quoted as saying, “Now poker is not much fun as before, the players have become lazy and are not in the best shape ever”. Sebok has yet to establish his own brand of wine, but only time will tell where he decides to place some of the €1.5 million he’s won over the years. With help from his step-father’s €5 million in earnings, the two are sure to create something fantastic.

Holger Clausen’s passion for wine and poker began when he was at university. While most students his age were only interested in the cheapest option with the highest alcohol content, Clausen chose to spend his money at high-limit poker tables and on premium bottles of wine, aged to perfection. When he was old enough, he toured Napa Valley, trying a variety of different blends and vintages along the way. It was there that he decided he wanted to take his love of wine to the next level and open his own winery.

Inspired, and funded, by his successful career in professional poker, Clausen fulfilled his lifelong dream, and established Aces Wine. Today he has vineyards in three different locations, and buyers are able to choose from over nine blends of the finest grapes from California, VQA, and Argentina.

If you’re eager to find your favorite brand of poker-inspired wine, you can also try popular blends from Dead Man’s Hand, as well as a variety of choices from JAQK Cellars.

Dead Man’s Wines;

JAQK Cellars;

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