Samuel Laskowitz has been on fire in 2023.
The Bayport, New York, resident has ran up almost $1 million in live poker tournament wins in the calendar year.
PlayNY recently caught up with the former lawyer to discuss his recent success on the felt. The live NY poker grinder has been busy making a name for himself in Las Vegas this past year. His secret?
“Be a professional,” he told PlayNY. “One of my good friends used to say that to me all the time and it really stuck with me.”
He went on to say:
“If you want this to be your profession, you need to treat it as such – have a schedule, plan, show up, take it seriously, etc. Just like I would when I was working as a lawyer.”
Being professional may be an understatement. The 30-year-old phenom has been a force to be reckoned with since summer 2022. He doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.
From litigation to high-stakes NY poker
Laskowitz may call Bayport home, but he can be found a large portion of the time in poker rooms around Las Vegas. His tournament journey kicked off in July 2022. He played his first-ever $400 tournament at the World Series of Poker and placed runner-up for an astonishing $256,170.
His path in life was about to change.
“Although I always wanted to be a professional poker player, I kind of put poker on hold, went to law school, and practiced law for about a year,” Laskowitz told PlayNY.
“After finishing law school, I got back into poker a little bit, went to Vegas in the summer of 2022 with some friends, played the WSOP Colossus and finished second. I then ended up quitting my job and pursuing poker professionally.”
Some may have thought that Laskowitz may have jumped the gun by leaving his job. But he took the idea of being a professional to heart. Since that WSOP 2022 event, he has become one of the most stand-out players in the game. Laskowitz has proved he is no one-hit wonder and has racked up over $1.3 million in wins.
Laskowitz on rise since 2022 WSOP
He has proved that he is not lucky but good. Laskowitz has had notable success and has scored big among some of the toughest players in the field.
Besides the Colossus event in 2022, here is a glance at some of his big wins in the last year:
- Jan. 2023: 1st at Borgata Mystery Bounty AC, $146,609
- Jan. 2023: 8th at Borgata Main Event AC, $144,006
- Nov. 2023: 1st at NAPT High Roller Las Vegas, $180,850
- Oct. 2023: 2nd at Wynn Classic Las Vegas, $94,820
In total, he has cashed for $1,320,978 – all only at age 30. He has 28 cashes in 2023 so far. Out of all his scores, a few hold a nostalgic place for him.
“All the scores stand out to me,” Laskowitz said, “but the two at Borgata’s The Return in January were special because I grew up playing poker there in my early 20s – playing 2/5 and 5/10. To do it at my home casino that I’ve played countless hours at was pretty cool.”
Moneymaker effect to making money
Before the WSOP Colossus, Laskowitz considered himself a cash game player primarily. He traces his introductions to the game from the Moneymaker effect of the early 2000s.
“After Chris Moneymaker won the 2003 WSOP Main Event, poker was all over ESPN and becoming very popular, and I started playing with my friends in 2003-2004 when we were 10- or 11-year-olds,” Laskowitz said. “My father also started playing around that time, so I was learning the game with him too.”
Laskowitz takes the game seriously and continues to treat it like a job. He offered some insight of what he has experienced so far in the poker professional realm.
“Poker provides its own unique challenges you need to overcome if you want to be successful,” he told PlayNY. “Learning how to not be results-oriented and learning how to deal with losing stand out as two of the bigger challenges.
“It’s a challenge to continue to put the work in, keep studying, and keep showing up when things aren’t going your way, but it builds discipline.”
Final tables to future ambitions
Reflecting on the past two years, Samuel Laskowitz cherishes the significant milestone of reaching the final three tables in the $25K 6 Max WSOP event in May 2023. This experience, especially considering it was only his second WSOP event, marked a mental triumph for him.
Playing against some of the industry’s best and proving himself in high-stakes situations provided a confidence boost, validating his ability to succeed in the realm of high rollers despite having played for less than a year.
As the newly minted poker pro eagerly looks forward to 2024, Laskowitz expressed a simple yet ambitious goal: to play in all the major tournaments and continue to get better.
When not immersed in the poker world, Laskowitz enjoys a well-rounded life, balancing his time with activities such as hitting the gym, engaging in sports and spending quality moments with friends. As he navigates the world of life and poker, Laskowitz stands as a testament to the power of dedication and a strategic mindset in pursuing one’s passions.
“I study pretty hard,” Laskowitz said. “I spend more time with the solver than I do playing. I take a lot of notes, I do a lot of drills, I review a ton. I am obsessed.”