John Tabatabai talks about the WSOPE and his own business outside poker

We catch up with WSOPE 2007 runner up John Tabatabai as he juggles running a business and playing poker

How did your WSOPE go, John?

The WSOPE was brilliant. My first event I went deep, bubbled the final table in the six-handed £2.5k event. I feel I played very well and was pretty focused.

You won the heads-up in Melbourne in January 2009 but have been pretty quiet on the circuit since then, how come?

Lol, cheers for that! Well, I never really play that many live tournaments a year anyway, so it’s rather hard to have results when you don’t have much volume. It’s almost impossible nowadays to have results with no volume, especially when you take into account the large fields plus the incredible amount of talent which is present and growing! I have been playing more live cash games in London, heads-up stts at and I recently started a business, so that has taken a lot of my time.

What about online poker – are you still hitting that hard?

I was playing insane amounts again online. I go into spurts of playing 8-10 tables, hours and hours a day for a couple months, then stop playing entirely and just play live for a couple months on end. My last spurt was on the online side of things and it truly is so gruelling. 

It takes the fun out of it. The perfect balance I believe is playing online tournaments complemented with heads-up cash or head-up STTs. Betfair now actually has cool 4 and 5 handed tables which brings a fresh new dynamic to the scene.

You talked about starting your own business, can you tell us more about that?

Yeah, is something I have been working on for a long time and we finally officially launched it a couple months ago. Basically, we have taken the penny auction model and instead of auctioning just electronics like all the other sites, we are offering prizes for the online gambling industry.

We’ve been running 2 months and still losing over 4 figures daily due to low traffic, the value is there but people are yet to hear about us. (wink wink :)) What makes Bidibot different to other auction sites is with us, you have to purchase bids beforehand, to partake in the auctions. 

Everytime you place a bid, it costs you 1 credit. We have a few different features and there is some strategy involved, you need to check out the site to really understand it.

How difficult is it to juggle a company and poker?

Juggling a company and playing poker is very difficult, simply because running a company is very difficult. It is the first time I have done anything like this, and something I have always wanted to do since I was a young kid.

However, even though most of my time is spent on Bidibot I find time with the help of my amazing sponsors Betfair to play in live events such as WSOPE and the World Open. Also, I find it therapeutic playing some online STTs before bed nowadays. How reformed I am! The days of throwing a mouse into my neighbours garden are over. Well…

Are you looking to do a Peter Eastgate and leave the game completely?

I wasn’t aware that Peter Eastgate had left poker! I have no intention of leaving the poker industry, I am still heavily involved in the industry through Bidibot anyway, but I love playing poker. It is a passion and a game that I enjoy and at times, excel at, so would be silly to leave it. 

Poker is one of the best adventures one can ask for. You are provided with the opportunity to travel the vast lands of the world, meet colourful characters from all corners of the planet and experience a wide variety of great and unpleasant events, all of which improve you as a human and build your character. The adventure is no where near over for me, however, at this juncture I have decided to take a side adventure of my own in the world of business 🙂

How has poker changed since you came 2nd in the WSOPE main event?

Well, poker has changed massively since I came 2nd to Annette in the WSOPE but this is heavily discussed everywhere and a common question, so I will not bore the PokerPlayer readers with a lengthy answer.

The game is incredibly tougher nowadays, harder to make money but more challenging which is great if you are looking to flex your psychological and analytical muscles. The money involved is also greater than ever before, but now you really must shed blood to get it!

John Tabatabai runs and is sponsored by


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