Phil “Unabomber” Laak

Phil was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1972 but was raised in Wellesley, Massachusetts. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Phil has had a variety of past jobs, including being a repo man. He legally stole cars and said it was a bit dangerous and somewhat unstable. He also used to broker sports bets. Besides being a poker player, he is a part time stock market speculator and single family home real estate investor.

Already an accomplished backgammon player, Phil began playing competitive poker in 1999, but didn’t really break onto the poker scene until 2003 where he began entering tournaments more consistently. He quickly advanced to his first final table at the Bicycle Casino’s renowned Legends of Poker Main Event, as seen on the WPT’s 1st season.

What propelled Phil to stardom was his uniqueness and antics. Often times when the game is intense, Phil can be seen jumping around, doing push-ups or kneeling beside the dealer to catch the first glimpse of the next card. By many this has been deemed as curious behavior at best, however the trained poker eye knows that Phil is an expert at extracting information from his opponents, if not simply distracting them from his true hand-strength in a given hand of poker.

He was dubbed “the Unabomber” because he always wore a hooded sweatshirt with the hood up and sunglasses. Phil has a highly developed capacity for game theory, so he appreciates games and friendly wagers of all types. His favorite poker game is Pot Limit Hold ‘Em and social sport is Ultimate Frisbee.

Currently, he is dating Jennifer Tilly, an actress and avid poker fan and player in the Ladies Night events. Since playing poker and dating Phil she was dubbed the “Unabombshell”. Poker fans can look forward to seeing Phil for years to come, as his personality has gathered a fan-base, and he has thus embedded himself in the world of poker stardom.

For several years he lived in the Bay Area with another well known player, Antonio Esfandiari, but is now moving to Los Angeles. Both players travel to tournaments together and share a room about 99% of the time when they are on the road.

In his own words:

“I like Pot Limit Omaha and Ultimate Frisbee more than No Limit Holdem.”

“When the session is over, or even between hands, I allow myself (sometimes liberally) the pleasure (but rarely the pain) of wins and loses. It is hard for me to see anything in poker as bad beats. Christopher Reeve (Superman) falling off his horse and ending up paralyzed — that is a bad beat. Runner runner flush is not a bad beat. That is just poker.”

“Living well is all about optimizing, and achieving a balance between fun, freedom and fulfillment.”