(photo from Mike's site)
Hey Mike, first of all thanks for the chance to interview you!
I discovered about you when you were working for GaryVee as his personal fitness trainer. Then one day I found you on Bill ‘The BusinessMan’ Perkins famous ‘Streaming Boat’! So I tried to dig a little bit deeper about yourself and I discovered that you are a former online poker pro/player! That’s why I decided to do this interview but I’d really like to talk about different stuff! So, thanks again, and let’s start!
1) Easy one but always interesting: how did you start playing poker?
Plastic chips and play money. The Moneymaker boom happened when I was a sophmore in highschool and that's when things picked up.
2) Have you ever considered yourself as a professional poker player? If so, for how many years?
Never professional. I put in a lot of hands during university. And, I used to grind a good amount before and after working my corporate job post-college. But I was never a pro.
3) Which one was your main game?
NLH 6max cash games. Small and mid stakes.
4) Then tell us a little bit about the transition from poker to fitness and then to personal training.
Poker was always a side hustle for me. I was above average and I enjoyed it. But it was always a means to an end (make money to create freedom). Fitness on the other hand was an obsession and a passion. I've been fascinated with both nutrition and strength training since I was 15 years old.
As far as the transition goes... Black Friday put an end to my poker career. I continued working my corporate job for another year before quitting to take a shot at the fitness industry.
5) Now I think something that really everyone wants to now: how was working with Gary Vee? I’m a big Gary fan since longtime by the way, and I really think that DailyVee is something really extraordinary and completely disrupting. I cannot miss an episode.
I love that dude.
Not only was I ecstatic with his progress, but he became a good friend during our two years together. He's also helped me a lot and definitely served some kind of mentor role in my life.
6) Which are the main lessons that you have learnt during this period? Let’s start with the HUSTLING..
Ha. I'll give you a whole list - 14 Things I Learned Training GaryVee For Two Years
7) What are you up to right now? I saw a very interesting vlog about your life (if the guys want to know more about your relationship with poker they have to watch the episode 77 in Barcelona, but all the vlog is really cool). Are you developing and pushing your online training activity? (find more about fitness at www.ontheregimen.com for video and articles or even at youtube just look for Mike Vacanti’s page). I mean, is that your main focus right now?
My main focus is making good art. I enjoy writing and making videos. I do run an online personal training business, which is how I pay the bills. But growing my business is not a priority right now.
8) Are you still friends with some poker players? Which one of them are you the closest with and which one or two are the best in your opinion?
I never had a ton of "poker friends" back in the day. Mainly just my friends who played poker.
Jaime and Matt Staples, who I am training at the moment, have become good friends of mine over the past 6 months.
I don't have my finger close enough to the pulse to give a coherent top #1 or #2 poker players. But I am a sucker for a good comeback story and would love to see Durrrr go on a tear.
9) Never thinking on going back to grinding?
Nah, just for fun these days. Random Vegas/AC weekends.
10) I know from the Internet about the prop bet of Jaime Staples (famous online poker pro and famous Twitch streamer as well, follow him here …..) with Bill Perkins. Are you helping him/responsible for his physical transformation?
Indeed, I am training both Jaime and Matt.
11) Tell us something about Bill Perkins‼ From the outside he seems like a really good dude! I’d like one day to interview him as well!
Incredibly generous and thoughtful guy.
12) And about Dan Bilzerian? Have you ever met him?
13)Now, will you ever consider pushing someone on becoming a poker pro in 2017? I know that the situation is completely different with respect to ten years ago. The average field as well is way way tougher, you have to move outside the US if you live in the States and away from Italy if you are Italian.
Again, I don't know that I'm qualified to answer this haha.
If someone loved poker, I actually would encourage them to take a shot assuming it made sense given what else was going on in their life (family / debt / net worth / living situation / etc).
If someone was looking for the best way to make money and was considering learning poker, that seems super non-gto to me.
14) Or about pushing someone in his 20s to start a business?
Absolutely. If you have the itch, start grinding on the side. There are a lot of hours in a week outside of traditional full time work.
15) Let’s talk about fitness now. I always trained a little bit in the gym, but with not a lot of attention on diet. Which advices will you give to someone which is already trained but that want to move forward in term of quality of the training and diet? Focus on main basic excercise (bench press, squat, deadlift, pull up) and then on diet? For example for someone that want to start like a good serious 6 months of mass?
So, the primary goal is to add muscle? I would focus on getting stronger in the 4-6 rep range on the main compound movements (squat, deadlift, chin up, bench press, shoulder press, row). But I would dedicate a material percentage of your time in the gym to getting volume in on single joint/single muscle movements. Training in the 8-12 rep range on biceps curls, lateral raises, etc.
16) Where our followers can find more about yourself on social?
YouTube and Instagram. They can also email me if they like - email@example.com
17) And from a business standpoint, for example if someone reading would like to have a customized training program/diet?
Ha, I appreciate the plug. Honestly, my advice is to see if they can make progress following my free content first. Watch YouTube, read the blog, and give training and nutrition an honest shot. If that doesn't work.. we can chat coaching.
And last but not least…which WaitForAces thsirt do you like more?
Hahah keep calm and donk bet pot is amazing! (find it here.. )
Mike, thanks a lot for being a part of our story! I cannot thank you enough, and as well our readers will be very happy finding this golden advices!
Hope to meet you in person sooner or later. Take care and good luck with your projects and at the tables!
Tony of WaitForAces