Virgo – September 8, 1972
Phil Laak aka the Unabomber, was born and raised in Dublin Ireland and later moved to the United States to study mechanical engineering at the University of Massachusetts.
It was at university where he met Antonio Esfandiari and the pair ended up travelling to various underground clubs and entering into multiple tournament together.
He is often referred to as a loose cannon, and although his demeanour at the table is nowhere near as complex as Phil Hellmuth, Laak still employs some unique qualities of his own. His signature trait is his hooded sweatshirt. During a hand where Laak feels he is going to win, he will pull the hoody up over his head and pull the drawstrings closed so that only his sunglasses are showing. The nick “Unabomber” was given to him from Gus Hansen. He is considered to be one of the top cash game players and is a regular in the high limit games at The Venetian, the Commerce Casino and of course The Bellagio.
Phil Laak’s first major win was in 2004 when he won the World Poker Tour Celebrity Invitational tournament which would become the first of three final table appearances in a WPT event. The following year he finishes second to Johnny Chan in the $2,500 Pot Limit Holdem Event, and won the William Hill Grand Prix.
He made the headlines again in 2007 when he and Ali Eslami attended the Association for Advancement of Artificial Intelligence. The two took part in a study and proved that a computer could not outplay a human in a match of poker.
He is more widely known for his appearances on High Stakes Poker where his antics at the table didn’t go unnoticed. Jumping out of his seat and doing sit-ups on the floor gave Laak the media attention he was seeking. His most recent performance was during the 2008 World Series of Poker where he came dressed in a wig, latex mask and wearing women’s clothing. Not a single person at his table recognized him until an AP reporter figured it out and revealed him.
Currently Laak resides in San Francisco with girlfriend and poker player Jennifer Tilly. His total live tournament winnings exceed $1,750,000
Phil Laak Tournament Standings in 2008