Yes, he had won a WSOP bracelet before, taking down the prestigous $10,000 Heads-Up No-Limit Hold’em event in 2012. But the kid from Pennsylvania who rose to the highest stakes in the history of the game online, helped put training site CardRunners on the map, and once chopped enigmatic online poker phenom Viktor “Islidur1” Blom down to size over a two-session heads-up match that left the Swede close to $6 million lighter and the poker world buzzing, had the kind of summer most players can only dream of.
The results included two bracelets, with wins in the $1,500 Six-Handed 10-Game Mix and the $10,000 Seven-Card Stud Championship, but there was also a final table bubble in the $3,000 Six-Handed Limit Hold’em, an 11th-place six-figure cash in the $111,111 One Drop High Roller, and a deep run in the 2015 WSOP Main Event, where he finished 49th.
Not only did Hastings collect close to $1 million in cashes, he cleaned up in six-figure bracelet-win prop bets and came into WSOP Europe in Berlin, Germany, trailing only Mike Gorodinsky in the 2015 Global Poker Index WSOP Player of the Year race.
This week in Berlin, Hastings told PokerNews all the recent success is mostly due to his head being in the right place.
“I think being in the right state of mind was the biggest factor, and luck helps too,” he said. “My approach to this year’s WSOP was much more focused than in any prior year. I was about six months into my relationship with Sonya [Bubulka] and truly happy for the first time in years. As someone coming from an online background, my live poker skill set had been lagging behind a bit also, but in the year leading up to WSOP I played a live $75/$150 mixed game at Seminole Coconut Creek in South Florida twice a week. This game helped me get into the flow of live poker and work on stuff like reading tells, patience, and table talk. I think it helped take my live poker game to another level.
“The greater financial incentives added via my side bets certainly helped me to focus as well.”
Happy both personally and professionally, Hastings rode into Berlin for the 2015 WSOP Europe ready to make a run at the POY title.
“It would be a great honor,” Hastings said of winning POY. “When I first started playing poker in high school, I remember gathering around the TV and watching the WSOP with my friends. We’d talk about how cool it would be to play in it someday. I’ve already done plenty of that, but to win Player of the Year would be a great achievement to me.
“The race has been fun; I’m good friends with Mike Gorodinsky, Anthony Zinno, and Shaun Deeb, my three biggest competitors, and I think we’re all having fun competing for this prestigious honor. Unfortunately, Berlin has been a disaster for me results-wise through seven events, as I haven’t come close to a cash. But fortunately the €10K Main Event and €25K High Roller are still left to play and count for a lot.” Read Full