Brian Rast The Courage to Take Chances

Thursday, 5 May 2016

by Bogdan Fechită


If we look at the pictures of Brian Rast surprised at the game table of different tournaments, we could get the impression that he is a shy and sensitive player. However, the 34-year-old American has managed to transform these states of being into positive weapons, and the game table is the best place he found to evolve as a person.

Brian was born in the fall of 1981 in Denver, Colorado, but his family soon moved to the picturesque town of Poway in California, a few kilometers north of San Diego and not far from the border with Mexico. He went to high school in this town, then he joined the University of Stanford.

Decisive moments

One could say that Brian has faced two important moments in his life that have marked his destiny. The first was in 2003, a year in which, quite incidentally he watched the movie Rounders, directed by John Dahl. The action of the movie inspired him and gave him a decisive burst towards his passion for cards and gambling. He began to dream of becoming a poker player, and this caused him to take a risky and courageous decision: he gave up college, where he wasn’t feeling comfortable at all, to devote to his passion.

Like any player at the beginning of their carrier, he tried to play with his friends, then he had tried his luck in a few tournaments and at the casino. Initially he was not successful, but he did not get discouraged and began to read books about poker and study the game better before throwing himself in the competition on money again.

After he finished reading all the poker books he got his hands on, he gave up his part-time job and became more involved in poker. He made online accounts on different platforms under the nickname “tsarrast”, ID under which he plays currently as well on Full Tilt Poker and Pokerstars.


In his first summer as online poker player, Brian managed to raise $ 20,000, but he was not convinced that will be able to make a career in this game. So at the beginning of the new academic year, he returned to college. Next summer he tried again and managed to amass $ 100,000 in his account. He became more confident in its path and completely dropped studies. His the highest winnings online were $ 114,203 for the 3rd place in the Main Event organized by Full Tilt Poker and $ 73,490 for a 3rd place in the Sunday Million, PokerStars event.

He started to play live also, but his first money cashing came after a year of playing, in the summer of 2005 when he had finished 79th in a WSOP event and won $ 3,290. A year later, he managed to win the first live tournament: he finished first in a weekly tournament at the Bellagio, Las Vegas and receives $ 56,345. 54 cashes follow over the next ten years, receiving prices from a few thousand to millions of dollars.

The Grand Prize

The biggest win Brian cashed was of $ 7,5252,000 and it happened in Super High Roller Bowl in July 2015, held in Las Vegas. The fascinating part is that although the event had a buy-in of $ 500,000, he managed to win the Grand Prise after investing only $ 25,000! He entered the Main Event through a satellite which he won a few weeks before and defeated 43 of the best players in the world to make his way to the biggest prize of his career.

Although he was about to be removed from the game in a duel with Scott Seiver when there were only three players at the game table, Brian remained calm, eliminated Connor Drinan and got back on Scott, winning the grand prize.

Previously, Brian had succeeded to win more than a million dollars in one event three more times: the first time in July 2011, at a WSOP event ($ 1,720,328), then in the summer of 2012, also WSOP, at the Big One for One Drop event, where he had finished in the 6th place and took $ 1,621,333, and the last time in a WPT event held in Las Vegas, December 2013, where he grossed $ 1,083,500.

In total, Rast has grossed $ 16,313,290 and is ranked the 12th in the top of the all-time greatest winnings in poker.

Brian Rast about poker: “Poker was stopped increasing in popularity during the last years and I think this happened because it is no longer broadcasted on TV, websites no longer offer generous promotions as before and nothing new happens.”

The trip that changed his life

The second moment which marked his life was in the winter of 2010. His good friend, Phil Laak, persuaded him to go together with him in Brazil. It was a trip that changed his life. During a party in a Brazilian club, Brian met Juliana. He tried to pick her up, but the problem was that he did not speak Portuguese, and she did not know English. They found a compromise: they spoke Spanish!

During the Brazilian holiday, Rast and Juliana became inseparable and their relationship became serious. The poker player wanted to take her with him back to America. This was not possible right away, so that, a period of time they kept in touch via Skype. Brian learned Portuguese to communicate better with her, and the young woman tried to get a visa to come with him to America. It took a year and a half to obtain it, during which Brian made no more than 10 trips to Brazil to be with her. The two became parents, and their relationship has strengthened over time.


– Brian is one of the professionals who provide advice and training on Poker TV;

– he is a member of the Victory Poker Pro team;

– among his good friends we find important poker players as: Antonio Esfandiari, Isaac Haxton, Jason Somerville and Phil Laak;

– he moved his residence in Las Vegas to be closer to the major poker tournaments;

– he is also active in online tournaments with the nickname:”tsarrast”.


TRIVIA Brian Rast:

– 34 years old

– Born in Denver, Colorado

– Residence: Las Vegas, Nevada

– Nickname: tsarrast

– Golden Bracelets: 2

– WSOP money cashing: 11

– carrier money cashing: 54

– biggest win: 7,525,000$

– total winnings: 16,313,290$

– online total winnings: 422,138$

– ranked 12th in the all-time poker highest winnings top

Author: Editor

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