“I Hope to Inspire People,” Says Cranston’s Zobian on $1.8 Million World Series of Poker Finish

Monday, July 16, 2018
GoLocalProv News Team and Kate Nagle

Zobian at the WSOP; Photo: Instagram/Podheiser
Cranston native Aram Zobian finished 6th in the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, playing for a total of 76 hours over nine days and taking home $1.8 million. 

"I wouldn't want people looking [at the tournament] like black and white, that I'm someone who just played a tournament," said Zobian in an interview with GoLocal on Sunday. "I want people to see someone who worked hard to go out and do something. I'd like people to see someone who put the work in, went into something with a positive mindset, and believed in himself."

"I hope I inspire people that they can do whatever they want," said Zobian. "A lot of time it won't work out. But if you love it -- don't worry about it, just do it."

"Majority of the Action"

As GoLocal reported at Zobian's 6th place finish, prior to this World Series of Poker, Zobian had $112,011 in live tournament earnings, with 25 cashes on his record.

His largest winnings came at the Megastack Challenge event where he finished second and took home $47,000 earlier this year.

"I had the majority of my action [at the World Series of Poker], but I did sell action to investors," said Zobian, of the WSOP $10,000 entrance fee. "Most were close friends. This is to reduce the cost of such a large buy-in, and an added bonus is all the extra positivity and energy that comes with people having a financial and emotional 'sweat' with you. It's like a journey together as a group, as opposed to if I were not to sell [any percentage]."

Read about Zobian's final hand HERE.

From Beginnings to WSOP

Zobian, a Cranston East grad who now resides in North Providence, spoke to his beginnings in the game -- and what is next for him. 

"I learned around 15 -- we never played for money [back then]," said Zobian. "Then I played in private games, low-stakes. I really started with money at 19 -- and then when I was 21 -- I could really start playing [for money] then. Florida the age is 18, but most states are 21."

Zobian said he attributed his run at the WSOP -- only his second time playing the tournament -- to a number of factors. 

"I think a lot of it is being able to calculate simple math in the moment, and using it to your advantage -- using things like odds and ratios, like every good player uses," said Zobian. "And a calm demeanor -- usually I'm extremely patient. And I'm very competitive."

"The tournament is extremely long. In order to get in a rhythm, I try and sit back, and pick up reads on opponents, and not do anything too out of line," said Zobian. "You can take your time and pick your spots."

"I think in terms of the energy level [of such a big tournament] -- it's a lot different, and that definitely changes how people approach it," said Zobian. "Some people are afraid to lose. You pick up on reads, you notice if someone's attacking. You don't have to wait for 'real hands' -- there's plenty of opportunity to bluff -- but that's what makes a tournament player, someone who's willing to risk chips to make it. The risk-reward has to be there."

"Surreal" Tournament -- and Next Steps

"It was absolutely surreal, in each and every way," said Zobian. "From the media, to everyone blowing up my phone and giving me love and support, I've never experienced that. From a poker standpoint, it's everyone's dream, to get to the final table. As a kid -- 15-16 -- I loved watching it on ESPN and dreaming about playing it. This was [World Series] number two for me."

As for the money, "1.8 million dollars -- it put a smile on my face," said Zobian. " First I have to see my family, I haven't seen them in over a month. I'm coming home end of this week, I drove here from Providence, so I have to figure out shipping the car back."

"What's next? Networking with stronger players, now that I've made a name," said Zobian. "I'll start traveling to high stakes tournaments and the circuit on the World Poker Tour events, and playing Europe. [Basicially] playing bigger events and building on my career."

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