After Banner Year, Brian Rast Won’t Rest on Success
Brian Rast has, in the past, been referred to as one of pokers end bosses. And after his career year in 2023, that title has never been more apt.
The newly-minted member of the Poker Hall of Fame claimed his sixth WSOP gold bracelet this summer with a record-tying third victory in the prestigious $50,000 Poker Players Championship. With that recognition comes a new level of gravitas, one where when he walked into the Encore Ballroom to grab a spot in Day 1B of the WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas, players around the room took notice: Rast is here.
It was just over a year ago, after Rast won his fifth WSOP bracelet and was on the verge of turning 40 where he declared that he thought he had done enough to earn a spot in poker history. The poker world obliged and now, nearly half a year since his Hall of Fame induction, he reflects on reaching yet another poker pinnacle.
Its nice. I mean, my perspective on it evolved over the two years, he said. I felt like the second year I was just going to let whatever happen, happen and not put any expectations on it.
Rast has accomplished nearly everything in his poker career, including more than $25 million in live tournament earnings and a Super High Roller Bowl victory to go along with his bracelets. Its a Hall of Fame resume to be sure. But his inclusion in the Poker Hall of Fame isnt a stopping point for him as if he finally “made it.” Hes invested in this game and hes planning on continuing to do so.
Im always going to play poker, he continued. Im always going to hopefully win stuff and do well. But I dont knowIve won some bracelets and maybe this was the last big accomplishment. So it was something that was really nice and its cool.
I mean, Ive dedicated my adult life to this, so to receive acknowledgment from your peers is a special thingand I like that.
Whats left for Rast to accomplish? Sure, he doesnt yet have a World Poker Tour title. (Which is something hes playing for at this moment). And, as hes decked out in his Triton Poker hoodie, he likely wouldnt mind booking a win on that tour as well. But for Rast, it seems the titles and trophies are a product of just being good at something he loves to do.
I just enjoy playing, the process of coming, trying to be in the moment, watch hands, get reads. Tournaments like this, for me, are the most fun. Heres the thingthe top No Limit Holdem tournament players in the world, almost all of them – there might be an exception – have studied GTO more than me. Ive studied and I know some stuff, but Im behind a lot of the guys. But coming into a tournament like this isnt really about that.
I’m playing with a lot of peopleand I’m not saying it’s not good to know GTObut right off the bat it’s like, oh, these guys are too tight or this, and I’m already making kind of exploits, like opening a little wider here, doing this, that, whatever it is. So that whole process to me is a lot of fun and I still get enjoyment out of it. It’s still fun to try to win money.
I don’t think the poker world will be as serious to me as maybe in my thirties, but it will be something I always compete at and play for the rest of my life. So I’m happy to be here. This is a great event. I mean guaranteed 4,000 entries for a 10K. It’s like half of the WSOP Main Event or something.
In some sense, its a new era for Rast – a post-Hall of Fame second half of his career. The Hall is an achievement unlocked, an event that can only occur once in a lifetime. And while it sounds like hes grateful for the honor, the best players – the elite – continue to produce post-induction and thats likely what the game of poker can expect from Rast. Hes proven he can do it time and time again.
In this short moment, he doesnt sound like hes going to spend too much time looking backward and hes certainly already looking ahead to some of the challenges of next year.
I mean, next year I think I’m supposed to go back and do commentary again for Triton, which I’m looking forward to because I enjoy it. And like I said about the studying thing, when I did it in 22, it was the number one way I was studying and I really felt it helped my No Limit game so I’m kind of happy to go back and do it again. I’ll play the WSOP, but poker-wise, not necessarily anything. Just play, compete, and keep trying to win stuff.
More than anything, I guess next year though, I would say I am really looking forward to what I believe will be a very nice year for Bitcoin.”