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Poker Hall of Fame 2023: Brian Rast

Dec 08, 2023

Photo: winamax

“For some of the greatest players who have ever played to say, ‘Hey, you’re one of us. Welcome to the club,’ it’s just very gratifying and satisfying.”

The newest addition to the Poker Hall of Fame is Brian Rast, also known as tsarrast. At only 41 years old, Rast has $25.2 million in live earnings, six World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets, and numerous other high-roller titles. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in Las Vegas, Nevada, on July 13, 2023.

As a known Vegas crusher and a regular at high-stakes cash games in "Bobby's Room," Rast was the favorite to become the 62nd inductee into the Hall. He’s also the only player to earn more than $1 million in tournaments for seven years in a row.

Luck creates the poker economy

During his acceptance speech, Rast took a moment to repeat the first lines of the serenity prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Shortly after his inauguration, Rast again repeated this prayer on the Winning the Game of Life Podcast with Dan “Jungleman” Cates, another poker pro. He reflected on how poker is a combination of luck and skill, and a big part of his success is knowing which is which and being able to roll with the ups and the downs.

This led to an interesting reflection on why luck is the foundation of poker: there needs to be luck because bad players need to win sometimes for there to be a poker economy. Nobody would be willing to bet against pro players if they didn’t win sometimes—there would be no point in just giving money away.

Poker pros need to lose sometimes. If they didn’t, there wouldn’t even be poker pros to begin with.

The grind

An avid Dragon Ball fan, Rast went as far as to wear a shirt featuring the protagonist, Goku, on his shirt during the induction ceremony. During his interview with Cates, he explained the significance that Goku and Dragon Ball have had on his poker career.

Goku starts as a virtual nobody, and he strives to improve with every fight. He wants to be the best fighter in the galaxy, and he’s relentless in his quest to improve. He gets knocked down and gets back up. He trains like hell. He’s a grinder. And he becomes a Super Saiyan.

Rast has applied this same philosophy to his poker career. And here he is today: a member of the Poker Hall of Fame.


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