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Phil Laak Biography
Highly recognisable at the table, almost always wearing his trademark hooded sweatshirt and sunglasses, ‘The Unabomber’ Phil Laak is widely regarded as one of the strongest cash-game players around. Laak’s now famous nickname was given to him due to the resemblance he bears when wearing these items to the forensic sketch of Theodore Kaczynski, who was then known as ‘The Unabomber.'
Born in Dublin in 1972 but relocating to Boston at an early age, Laak graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a degree in engineering. From there he went into many different jobs, including working as an engineer, a repo man, a gardener and a real estate investor. Laak also made a decent living as a world-class backgammon player, before discovering poker in 1999.
Despite being primarily known as a cash game player, Laak has also enjoyed success in tournament poker as well. Laak has won one World Poker Tour event and final-tabled three others, along with four World Series of Poker final tables, and a bracelet at the WSOP Europe in the £2,650 6-handed No-Limit Hold ‘em event which banked him £170,802.
Laak has proven to be a popular player on televised poker shows, known for his fun personality and table antics as much as his solid play. It is not uncommon to see Laak doing press-ups, standing behind the dealer for a first look at the board, or joking with the other players at the table.
Laak also currently co-hosts the TV show ‘I Bet You’ with fellow poker pro and best friend Antonio Esfandiari, with the two betting each other on almost anything. Laak is dating fellow pro and actress Jennifer Tilly, who credits her boyfriend with greatly improving her game.
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