Perhaps as famous for his hoodies and sunglasses as for his poker results, Phil Laak - aka "The Unabomber" - is a world-renowned professional poker player
based in California. With 27 tournament cashes between October 2002 and November 2010, Phil Laak has earned over $1.4M, a World Poker Tour title, and a World Series of Poker bracelet.
Born in Dublin, Ireland in 1972, Phil Laak's family relocated to Massechusetts when her was four years old. Laak attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering. Hopping from one career opportunity to another, Phil Laak has worked as an engineer, a gardener, a real estate investor, a day trader, and a backgammon player in New York.
When his short, but profitable career as a backgammon player came to a halt as the games dried up, Phil Laak decided to give poker a try. However, poker didn't quite reap the monetary results Phil was hoping for until his friend, Antonio Esfandiari
, tipped him off to the games at Bay 101. For two years, Phil and Antonio made their living at the casino, sharing an apartment nearby.
When the action at Bay 101 dissipated, Phil Laak moved on to LA, where he spent two years playing twice a week at the Commerce Casino. It was during this time that poker began drawing more and more attention from the general population, and No Limit Hold'em became the game of choice.
After cashing twice in WPT No Limit Hold'em events in 2003 - including one final table - Phil Laak claimed a World Poker Tour title in 2004 with his first place win in the WPT Invitational at Commerce Casino, and earned a $100K prize. Laak scored another WPT tournament cash later that year at the Borgata Poker Open for an additional $18K. He cashed in two more WPT events in 2005, including a final table at the Five Diamond World Poker Classic worth $160K.
Also in 2005, Phil Laak scored his first two WSOP cashes, including a second place prize of $156K in a Pot Limit Hold'em event. Cashing again at the WSOP in 2006 for $6K, Phil Laak also made two final tables; one at the Seneca World Poker Classic No Limit Hold'em Championship for $15,840, and a second place in the Pro-Am Equalizer $10,000 No Limit Hold'em for $150K.
Taking 1st place in week 5 of Poker After Dark in January of 2007, Phil Laak added another $120K to his career poker tournament
winnings. He then moved on to the WSOP, where he cashed twice, short of the final table, for a combined total of just over $36K.
In 2008, Phil Laak busted out of the NBC National Heads Up Poker Championship in 14th place, for $25K. He then cashed twice more in the WSOP, including a final table 9th place for just under $75K. Phil Laak also cashed in the Bellagio Cup IV WPT No Limit Hold'em Championship for a little over $19K.
Things slowed down for Phil on the tournament scene in 2009, but picked back up again in 2010, with five live tournament cashes, including another 14th place in the NBC National Heads Up Championship. A final table at the PartyPoker Premier League Poker IV earned Phil $50K, followed by a first place victory in event #1 of the WSOP Europe, worth $278,179, and his first WSOP bracelet.
Phil Laak is dating actress Jennifer Tilly, who he offered to teach how to play poker
one day at the Commerce Invitational when she expressed in passing, while hanging out, that she wished she knew how to play poker like Phil and his friends. Now an avid poker player herself, Jennifer Tilly
has since won a WSOP bracelet in the 2005 Ladies No Limit Hold'em Championship.