ABOUT TODAY’S GUEST | MATT JARVIS
Matt Jarvis is the CEO and co-Founder of CashLive, a free-to-play live-streamed poker game for your mobile device. His company was born out of his passion for poker combined with his dream of entrepreneurship. Matt’s entrepreneurial journey truly began with his experience selling Cutco in Vancouver, Canada. Through some friends at Cutco, he was introduced to the game of poker. In 2010, Matt nearly reached the pinnacle of the poker world, finishing in 8th place in the World Series of Poker Main Event World Championship. With one WSOP bracelet to his name, and millions of dollars in poker winnings, Matt achieved excellence in this challenging endeavor. His new vision is to bring that same level of excellence to his business, while building a company in the mold of the Cutco/Vector culture.
Q&A WITH MATT JARVIS
Q: Let’s start by talking about poker today. Tell us how you got into playing poker
- I didn’t play poker until I was 19. But I played cards growing up probably from age 2 or 3. That was a good thing and it started my journey.
- In 2003, Chris Moneymaker won the main event in poker. I was 19 at the time, the legal age for playing in casinos in Canada. I was like, “oh! This is something I could do!”
- My first experience real-life with poker was after a Cutco sales meeting. I got invited to play a little $10 – $20 game, and immediately fell in love with poker.
- I started playing it online, starting with free-to-play then eventually playing for real money tournaments. For many years, I wouldn’t miss a Sunday. I was sitting in front of a computer from about 7:30am up to midnight every single Sunday.
- Something else that led me to poker was my dad qualifying for the Champion’s Tour (golf) in 2005, and experiencing a lavish lifestyle. I was like, “I got to do this on my own!” and poker was the only practical avenue I could think of.
Q: Tell us about your run-in in the 2010 main event. There were 7,000 players, you’re in Vegas, it’s at the Rio. Tell us about that ride, what do you remember?
- My path in poker wasn’t a straight route to success. I was making some money, losing it all, making more money back and losing it again.
- 2010 was my breakout year and I made it to the Final Table of the WSOP Main Event. It was an incredible experience, and every poker player’s ultimate dream is to make it to the final table.
- I qualified to get into the main event, and it was a real cool feeling. I had a real good Day One. Kind of hanging there in Days 2 to 4. On the “bubble” (one spot away from when everyone gets paid), I won 24 out of 25 hands before it broke. That vaulted me up in the chip standings at that time.
- The next day, I was approached to represent Full Tilt Poker for the rest of the tournament. For me, that was the coolest thing, to wear that patch was like a badge of honor.
- Day 8 was crazy (playing from 27 players down to 9). We started at noon until and went until around 6:30 – 7:30 am the next day.
Q: Going from 10 players to 9, what was that like?
- It was so unreal! Took MANY hours to bust out #10.I had my loved ones beside me. it was a really life-changing bubble that 10 to 9. Finally, I busted the guy who finished 10th.
- I made it to the final 9, and it was so exciting. We, the players hugged each other, we were so tired. We knew what this meant for all of us. Basically, every one was guaranteed a $1 million. It was an unbelievable feeling.
Q: So, there was a 4 month hiatus and the 9 guys returned and played the final table. You want to talk about how that wound up for you?
- Those 4 months, you want to figure out what to do. I did tons of interviews and a couple of other tournaments then the finals came.
- It was a rollercoaster of emotions for sure.
- NOTE: Matt’s EPIC final table hand vs. Michael Mizrachi was the audio from the intro to the episode.You can view that hand here.
Q: It was an awesome experience. You won over $1 million in that tournament. Who are your favorite poker players?
- Daniel Negreanu is at the top of the list. He’s been such a good ambassador for poker, and he’s Canadian, my countryman
- There’s also Phil Ivey, who’s always been known as one of the best, if not the best.
- But back then, the most instrumental player for me was Tom Dwan. He played this high stakes poker game, and I watched more of this poker than probably anyone else in the world. I just wanted to be Tom. I loved his style, and I wanted that.
Q: Who have been the toughest players you’ve played against?
- I’ve never played against Tom. I’m sure he’d be way up there.
- I played with Antonio Esfandiari, and it was pretty tough.
- Then there was Bryn Kenney, who is now the all-time top money earner worldwide. He was very tough to play against, and put me through some real difficult decisions.
- Lastly, one of my closest friends, Ash (Razavi). He won a bracelet 2 years after I did.
Q: What did you grow to love about this game?
- For me, I always grew up as a super-competitive guy. I was always real strong at math.The blend of math and competition in cards fit into a perfect combination for me. It’s like a battle of wits.
- I also love the people I play with. People from all walks of life. It’s super-cool the type of people you get to play with.
Q: I’ve heard you saying selling Cutco made you a better poker player. How so?
- I worked at Cutco from the age of 19 to 21, and it was one of the best experiences in my life.
- There is a lot of networking that goes on with poker as with Cutco. So, Cutco taught me how to handle that. I got to get real good at understanding how to read people and opponents at my table.
- Lastly, dealing with the ups and downs, realizing not to ride those emotional highs too high or emotional lows too low.
Q: What are some lessons from poker you feel like you’ve carried over to your other business ventures?
- I always wrote on my hand “why not me?” That was the first thing I wrote when entering a poker tournament. I did this right before going to the main event. I said, there are so many players in the field. I could sit at any table and fell like I could win. I put the effort in it, I’ve being working for years, taking notes.
- Being adaptable was a big one. You might lose half your chips, be willing to understand that’s the new normal, and you’ve got to find a way to adjust from there. I think that’s important, especially with COVID-19. We have to find a way to adapt.
- Trusting your instincts was another big one for me. when you first get an initial reaction trust that reaction and don’t go against it.
- The last thing I wrote on my hand was “no ego, no emotion.” Finding a way to drop the ego, the emotions, I think that’s very important in both poker and business.
Q: Let’s go back to your Cutco experience. How did you find Cutco?
- I found the ad in the paper, and I was like interesting opportunity here. I went for the interview.
- I started with Cutco and ended up doing it for 2 ½ years part-time as a student.
- I sold around $75,000 and it was an amazing experience.
- You just never know where a random job will lead you and impact your life. If you approach each situation with optimism and put in lots of effort, everything turns out great.
- That’s what I took from Cutco.
Q: Tell us about what led to the ideas for your current business?
- I was an entrepreneur when I was young. From the age of 10, I was selling golf balls back to golfers on the golf course.
- From my winnings from poker, I started investing in business. I bought 2 trailer parks in Indiana. I bought a house detailing business.
- Still, I felt like I hadn’t landed on my passion. Cash Live did it.
- What we’ve built is basically Zynga Poker meets HQ Trivia. It’s a fast-paced game show played on mobile devices.
Q: Tell us about how it works
- It’s a mobile app, free to play, and it’s currently in beta.
- We pay up real cash, so if you win, you get something meaningful.
- There are also live commentators talking to you during the gameplay.
Q: You guys got picked for the Snapchat Accelerator Program, right?
- Back in 2019, we were among the 10 companies chosen to be in the Accelerator program.
- They invest in your company, then they basically bring you in and mentor you for several months. For us, it was 14-week process.
- It was a great scenario for me as someone who’s a founder, but not coming from a tech background to be really engulfed in technology with one of the most innovative tech companies out there.
Q: What’s your vision for the future?
- Our vision is to launch with poker, 1 game per day at first. Then we look to do a similar version, a livestream 12-15 minute game show including blackjack, roulette, and baccarat.
- Down the road, we look towards replacing scratch-off tickets.
Q: If there are people in the Cutco community that want to support what you’re doing, what are some of the ways they could jump in?
- They could join our beta games, and give us feedback.
- If you want to join in as an investor like Dan and the others, reach out to me.
- When we go live tell your friends and jump on to play!
Q: What fires you up when you look into the future?
- I love creating a window of excitement, fun and competition.
- People are so busy these days and allowing them to have a quick experience to escape is real important.
- What we’ve built has never been done before. Social casinos are really excited about that.
- We’re also making strong connections with casinos and gaming companies and they are going to help us propel Cash Live and the vision I’ve had for it. That’s pretty exciting!
Q: How about personally?
- Personally, this past weekend, we found out we’re having a baby girl. I’m about to become a #GirlDad twice over!
- I really love what Matt experienced with poker. The competitive aspect, the challenge that comes as a part of that. It’s a huge factor why the game is so powerful for a lot of people.
- The networking and the people you get to meet is also amazing. Poker brought me and Matt together. I’ve had the chance to meet some really incredible people through experiences at the table.
- Then there is the emotional mastery that’s required to pull yourself in any situation where you are forcing yourself to deal with ups and downs.
- I think all these things relate directly to selling Cutco and the entrepreneurial journey. These things help bring the best out of individuals. That self improvement, that growth that happens!
- Linkedin @mattjarvis
- Linkedin @dancasetta
Show Notes for this episode were provided by Brian Njenga.
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