888poker’s new 888Ride podcast is on a roll with our third guest, broadcaster extraordinaire Jeff Platt. Most people recognise Jeff Platt as the roving reporter at the WSOP in Las Vegas.

But this poker enthusiast has several deep Main Event runs under his belt, including 55 cashes and a WSOP Circuit ring (as of 1/2024)!

In this 888Ride, we discover how and why he ended up in Vegas and what gets this poker player out of bed in the mornings!

Check out the full-length Jeff Platt podcast HERE.

The Showdown: Broadcasting vs Playing

Most broadcasters double duty as poker players eventually reach that crossroads –

Which one do you love more and is deserving of most of your time and effort?

"The broadcasting. I really do love the work, and I'm sure you feel this also. But I think we're so fortunate to have like a real legitimate genuine passion for what we do, and hopefully, that displays itself when I do work."

So, despite the relative success Jeff has had at the poker tables, particularly in main events, he chooses broadcasting as the heart of his desires.

Jeff attributes his early success to "run good" - making "a ton of hands and "winning "a ton of flips". Luck aside, anyone who's cashed 55 times in the WSOP and circuit events as of January 2024 has to have some level of skill in their game.

From Texas to Vegas

Jeff was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, and grew up in Plano. As far as games went, basketball, not poker, was his main sport. Not having the hops to be an athlete, Jeff turned to the sport broadcasting side.

He studied sports management at Indiana University, transferring to USC to pursue broadcast journalism.

“I think I had always just kind of had that in the back of my mind. If I want to be involved in sports and the presentation of it in some way, but I know I can't play, what option is there? And I've always enjoyed telling stories, talking to people, interviewing people.”

Enrolling at the University of Southern California brought him closer to Vegas and the world of poker! But, in the beginning, the USC gigs involved play-by-play for the student radio station and various football and basketball games.

Of all the types of reporting he did, sideline topped his favourites – one-on-one interviews with the players.

After playing the WSOP for several years and acquiring knowledge of poker, Jeff thought he could carve a career in poker broadcasting. He reached out to Dan Gotti to hook him up with a PokerNews gig.

Eventually, Jeff and his broadcast partner Brent Hanks got an audition with Dan and Mori in Las Vegas. Jeff packed up and moved to Sin City with no guarantees.

"I think the audition was more for Brent that they were gonna throw him into the mix soon, and for me, it was like they're, like yeah, yeah cool. Good job. I'm like, okay, so does that mean, like, maybe you would use me or not?"

"And they're like, yeah, maybe we'll see. Okay, you know I'm just gonna move out to Vegas, and if you use me, great; if not, I'll figure it out. So, I moved out here."

While in Vegas, he contacted Sarah Herring, who was working for PokerNews at the time. She recommended Jeff as a co-host for their podcast when the position opened up.

He also joined their team of WSOP presenters.

Reporting for the World Series of Poker

Jeff’s first WSOP interview featured Daniel Negreanu in a side event in 2019. The nerves were still there even after hosting the first Global Poker Awards without a teleprompter.

But it wasn't until 2021, when Kara couldn't make the World Series of Poker, that Jeff got his big break—filling in for her spot.

Jeff's first assignment was to interview poker legend Doyle Brunson, who was at Day 1A's featured table.

“It's the gravity of the moment. Yeah. I think that there are just two different people who have that kind of world when they walk into a poker room.”

“One is Phil Ivey, and one is Doyle. And Negreanu and Helmuth are awesome, and they are super famous, but it's just different when Doyle would walk into the room.”

Goals On and Off the Felt

Despite his preference for broadcasting, Jeff’s goals involve playing poker. He is a student of the game and is passionate about getting better and improving his results.

“Like I would love to win a World Series of Poker bracelet. It's very possible I go into the 2024 World Series of Poker, play the best poker imaginable and like have two cashes or two min caches or something like that.”

He had this to say about his future endeavours off the felt:

"It's a great question, and honestly, I'm not just saying this, but I'm truly happy to be here, and I could do this every day for the rest of my life and be absolutely thrilled. In the back of my mind, maybe some opportunities pop up." 

We sincerely hope that he continues to build his credibility and skills as a broadcaster in the poker industry.

Check out the full-length Jeff Platt podcast HERE.

Hyacinth Swanson is a part-time live and online poker player who enjoys writing and editing poker content. She currently runs marketing firm PurpleGob.com.