Check out our interview with Float the Turn coach Ryan “Protential” LaPlante.
PokerForums.org: You’re part of the “next” generation that has come along after Chris Moneymaker, Rounders, and the whole 2003 poker boom, so since you weren’t a “Poker Baby Boomer” how did you get into poker?
Ryan “Protential” Laplante: Started playing with friends in high school when I was like 13 (9 years ago). Was absolutely terrible at the game until I discovered 2+2 forums and that there was strategy/math involved.
Fell in love with the game when I realized how complex and interesting it was. My year of college I spent my time hanging out with friends and playing poker, rarely going to class.
By the time Black Friday had hit I had been playing professionally for around a year, exclusively online.
Black Friday ended up being a great thing for my game as it forced me to think differently with playing live, made me work a lot harder on my game, and gave me a lot of time to think about what I wanted.
It also got me to spend the summer at the WSOP, which allowed me to get in my first FT at 21yrs old.
PFO: You already have two WSOP final tables on your resume, are live tournaments the goal you are moving towards, or are you content with playing mainly online with a smattering of live events mixed-in?
Protential: Variance in poker is ridiculous, especially in MTT’s. Playing live MTT’s is really fun, but it is impossible to consistently win at them, thus you have to mix in cash/S&G’s and play loads or play online and play loads.
I’d love to be able to travel the euro MTT circuit while I grinded online for a year, and end with WSOP. I think it’d be a great excuse to see a lot of Europe (never been there) and be a great way to pay for it as well.
PFO: Being openly gay you’re part of a very small community in poker, I’d be curious to hear your opinions on why there are so few poker players from the GLBT community, and could you talk about your experiences with other players that have been either positive or negative?
Protential: I think there are as many GLBTQ poker players as a % of the community compared to the rest of the population (3-10%), I believe though that many of the players who are GLBTQ prefer to keep it quiet as to not draw attention to themselves, or aren’t well known enough for people to know who they are.
Being openly gay in poker is pretty much seen as a non-issue, people really don’t care for the most part. The only time I’ve had any issues were live, and even then it was pretty minimal.
The only thing I do see a lot of use in the community is the use of “gay” as a negative when describing hands/whatever. Most people don’t realize how insulting and degrading it is, and very derogatory.
It has been getting better, and I don’t really see the use of “fag” any more, but I still see it on a day-to-day basis on sites like 2+2/p5’s.