GPWA Times Magazine - Issue 5 - May 2008

17 INTERVIEWWITH Tyson Tanaka | Tyson City currently residing in: Manhattan Beach, Calif., USA Age: 36 Favorite food: Sushi One book everyone must read: The 4 Hour Work Week Site: Continued on page 48 Tyson loves “Fight Club,”but won’t go 3 rounds with a kangaroo. Before we get to the poker ques- tions, we have to ask you about Barack Obama. We noticed that you, Eric and Xianti have endorsed Obama for presi- dent in a banner at the top of the FTR homepage. Why did you decide to dip into politics like this? Haha – yes, we gave Senator Obama some prime real estate at FTR! This was not a business or financially motivated decision for us, we simply believe that we need change in this country, and we believe Obama is the best candidate for that. Our support of Obama is not because of the UIGEA – it’s much larger than that. We certainly have concerns for our personal busi- ness, but we also have concerns for this nation’s future, the economy, our for- eign policies and our fellow Americans. Fortunately for us, we’ve built a Web site that receives thousands of visitors a day; we have a voice, and we decided to use that for what we believe will be the betterment of our country. Surprisingly, we haven’t received much flak from our users. A few political debates popped up but we have the support, if not the re- spect, of our fel- low members so this hasn’t been an issue. Let’s move to pok- er now. When and how did FTR get its start? FTR was started in 2003, right before poker exploded across mainstream me- dia. I’ve always been a fan of poker. I used to play poker as a young kid with my friends, and we would wager our Hal- loween candy! Anyway, I started dab- bling in online poker in 2003, found the games very fun and exciting, and eventu- ally found them to be quite beatable. I looked at online poker as a second source of income. At the same time, my friend and co- worker Eric Sprague was dabbling with Web site development and search engine optimization. I asked Eric if I wrote poker strategy articles, could he publish those on the web… and that was the birth of Flop- So initially, I wrote basic articles teaching no-limit Texas Hold’em strategies. Of course now, my role is purely administrative – I manage our af- filiate relationships, the bookkeeping, and our marketing and advertising. What kind of poker do you like to play? How often do you get to play? I still play no-limit Texas Hold’em, but mostly live, brick-and-mortar games. I play with friends or occasionally at a casino, but now it’s just for the recreation. I do plan on playing in one or more of the events in the 2008 World Series of Poker with fellow FTR members, so I’m really looking forward to that. One of things that comes through quite clearly when looking at FTR is how com- munity is a central pillar of your success. How did FTR go about building its com- munity? We do position FTR as a poker community Web site. We learned early on that our Web site needed a discussion forum, so players could learn from each other, and in the meantime, help us grow our Web site. That’s when John Kwon (aka Xianti) joined our team. John had been a longtime friend and he also had GPWA Affiliate Interview Series | GPWA TIMES