Andrew Neeme is a globetrotting professional poker player currently stationed in Las Vegas.
Andrew’s vlog — widely considered to be the best on YouTube — follows his poker adventures as he grinds mid- to high-stakes games throughout the city. His knack for creativity and unique perspective have earned him a dedicated following, and sparked a poker vlog trend on YouTube.
We got the chance to ask Andrew a few questions on behalf of the Upswing audience. Hope you enjoy!
Andrew Neeme Interview
Hey Andrew. I’m a big fan of your vlog. Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.
Q: I get the feeling a bunch of your viewers are at the early stages of their own poker journeys. How did yours begin and what were your early years in the game like?
Andrew Neeme: My early years in the game were the same as everyone else’s: fishy.
I was playing recreationally online after seeing poker all over television around 2004-05. I had a regular job back then, as well as a social life, the two of which often co-mingled.
I was working in the music industry in London and then Los Angeles — where you’re often going to shows after leaving the office. I didn’t have a ton of time for poker or improving. As the economy slowed down, my interest in the music biz slowed as well.
My full time job became more of a part time thing, which allowed for a lot more time for poker, both studying and playing. (Well, mostly playing, since the games were so much easier back then and you could get away with studying less.)
As I put more time into poker, I grinded my way up out of the micros and into mid-stakes. Eventually my bankroll was healthy enough that I felt comfortable leaving my job entirely.
Q: The production quality of your videos is superb and really shows off your knack for creativity. Have you always been a creative at heart?
Andrew Neeme: I’ve always had some of the arts in me, I guess. I say some, not all, because I absolutely suck at drawing, painting or anything like that. But I picked up the drums in 5th grade and played through college. And I feel like I’ve always been a decent writer.
Some people got a kick out of the #chipporn pics I was doing on Instagram before I started vlogging.
So yeah, there’s always been some creativity in there.
Q: Can you tell me about your 2016 photo-per-day challenge on Instagram?
Andrew Neeme: That really was the precursor to the vlog. I wanted to do something that would force me to be creative every single day of the year, while also encouraging me to add variety to my daily life.
I also wanted the Instagram feed to look good, and not just be pics of my couch, my walls or my cereal that morning.
The rules were that I had to take a photo of something each day, and post it before I went to sleep. The hardest days were when I went out the previous night and spent all day on the couch, hungover.
I slipped up a few times regarding my posting time, but I did manage to do 366 photos that year. (It was a leap year.)
(Editor’s Note: Andrew’s Instagram is incredible–definitely worth a follow. Check out his page here.)
Q: Have you enjoyed your newfound stardom in the poker world since the vlog has grown so rapidly?
Andrew Neeme: I’m not ready to call it “stardom.” I’m just a 5/10 player with a camera. My Hendon Mob is 5 figures.
People get a kick out of the videos for various reasons, but I look at it as me being the conduit for something that was always there, rather than me being the actual thing.
It’s great when people come up to me in poker rooms and say how much they like the videos. That said, It’s more important that they tell me something about how the videos inspire them to take action in some way, rather than me being a poker celebrity of the moment.
The coolest thing that’s happened so far, happened last week…
Brad Owen (fellow vlogger) and I were hosting a game at Mandalay Bay, and someone from Seattle approached me. They told me the vlog inspired them to quit their job of 10 years at Microsoft, where they were miserable on a daily basis, and ride a motorcycle up to Alaska.
I was a little taken aback, but he explained to me that in one of my videos I had encouraged people to think about how happy they are with their professional life, comment with a 1-10 rating, and also about why that number is what it is. He told me they increased his pay every so often, and every day he would have to remind himself that he’s one day closer to a raise. That was the only reason he kept staying on. It can be a little worrisome when you encourage someone to quit their job, but he’s a programmer, and he knows the working world will welcome him back at any point when and if he decides to go back.
These types of things are way more interesting than “I’m a poker celebrity.”
Q: Have there been any instances where you think your opponent played differently against you because you are filming for the YouTube channel or in general since starting the vlog?
Andrew Neeme: I’m a bit of a station and I’m beginning to think people are catching onto that fact, and might be a little reluctant to bluff me.
Then again, I’m not always aware of who’s seen the vlogs, so I try not to think about it too much. But a lot of times after a hand is over someone will say, “Will that one be in the vlog?”
Q: In less than a year (your pilot episode went up in October 2016), you’ve turned the poker vlog niche into a craze and have set a high standard for others to follow. Do you have any plans or interest to mix in other content-types?
Andrew Neeme: I would love to ramp down the number of poker hands and ramp up some other aspects of Las Vegas, include some entrepreneurship topics and more travel based content.
I think the way that I discuss poker hands is new to so many people who haven’t had a winning player to analyze a hand street-by-street with — at the stakes that they play — and they find it game changing for themselves.
But I don’t think the poker strategy is my strongest suit. You look at Doug’s Poker Hands series and the info in there is the absolute nuts, especially considering that it’s free. My analysis is a little limited in comparison, but ideas for general content are endless.
Q: What is the longest live session you’ve ever put in at the casino? And how many days did you sleep for afterwards?
Andrew Neeme: Somewhere around 28 hours. It’s dumb. I don’t suggest it.
Q: It’s nice to see that your partner Busi is so supportive of the vlog and your poker career. Has/does she ever hop in a game?
Andrew Neeme: Busi is not only supportive of my poker pursuit but she helped me thrive, and continues to help me in and away from poker.
It’s so important to have someone like her in your corner. It’s not impossible to do things on your own, depending on your own personality and work ethic, but I certainly was not doing things on my own.
She doesn’t play, oddly, because I think she’s always found the game interesting, but she’s stuck to her own pursuits. Although, she seems to have found PLO extra-interesting recently…
Q: To play poker as much as you do while managing the YouTube channel shows an impressive work ethic. What advice can you give to fellow players that are struggling to find the motivation to advance their own poker career?
Andrew Neeme: You know, it’s possible that you don’t like poker as much as you originally thought. Or, maybe you just don’t like the way that you’re currently learning about it. Try a new way; try talking with other players about hands, or try watching videos, or try game selecting more aggressively, or try playing poker in a different location…
The thing that won’t help you advance is sitting around and pondering. It’s good to be considering why you aren’t motivated, and what it is that you like/dislike about poker. But it’s useless unless you actually try something different.
Q: I understand that you have a background in the music industry (it shows from the always stellar soundtrack in your vids). If you can narrow them down, what are some of your favourite albums of all-time?
- Doves “Lost Souls”
- Smashing Pumpkins “Siamese Dream”
- Muse “Absolution”
- Daft Punk “Alive”
- Stone Temple Pilots “Core”
- Weezer “Blue Album”
- Beastie Boys “The In Sound From Way Out”
- Radiohead (any album)
I think the days of “albums” are mostly behind us.
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- Don’t let loose players in the big blind get the best of you with How to Open-Raise In MTTs So The Big Blind Doesn’t Crush Your Soul
- Go back to the top of this interview with Andrew Neeme