Interview: Ben Fischman
Residence: Las Vegas, NV
Best Known For: Starting Yo Mama Energy Drink and Champions Poker
This week, someone from the business-end of the online poker world was able to free up a few minutes to chat with us. Ben Fischman is the CEO of Champions Poker, an online poker room he started after selling his energy drink company for $100 million.
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PokerTips.org: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us, Ben. Tell us, what made you decide to launch Champions Poker?
Fischman: I just noticed that the market was really ripe for a new, fresh face in the industry. All of the big online poker rooms just aren't "cool", ya know? I wanted to start an online poker room that gave players the feel of being in a nightclub.
PokerTips.org: Is it true you made $100 million from creating your own energy drink?
Fischman: Yeah, that's how I made my first hundred million. But I'm staying hush on how I'll make my first billion.
PokerTips.org: Do you have any legal worries regarding Champions Poker? After all, you are American and are outspoken about running an online poker room that services American clients. Don't you think the Department of Justice might one day come after you?
Fischman: Psssh... everyone knows online poker is about to be legalized in the U.S., you probably never watch CSPAN, do you?
PokerTips.org: Tell us, Ben. What else have you been investing in lately?
Fischman: Actually, for some of my other investments, I'm mainly focused on Chinese real estate, especially condos in Shanghai. China is the future man, gotta get into the high end real estate before you get priced out.
PokerTips.org: One of the sponsored players you signed for Champions Poker was a former Playboy Playmate. Tell us, what was the logic behind that acquisition?
Fischman: Hey man, I just want Champions Poker to have the right image, and we are definitely the nightclub/playmate online poker room.
PokerTips.org: What are some things that players can redeem their comp points on at Champions Poker?
Fischman: We have an exclusive line-up of Ed Hardy apparrel available to our players as well as bottles of Grey Goose, Patron, and trips to Vegas to hang out with our sponsored pros Amir "The Wizard" Amanpour and Austin "Nice2KnowU" Noble in an exclusive VIP nightlife setting.
PokerTips.org: What do you offer for the wallflower types out there who might not be intersted in Ed Hardy clothes or VIP Vegas packages?
Fischman: I'm sorry, I don't understand the question.
PokerTips.org: Well, you know, not everyone is interested in bottles of Patron and hanging out in overpriced clubs with pretentious poker pros. What types of promotions do you offer for the more down-to-earth folks?
Fischman: Oh! You mean like people from the midwest?
PokerTips.org: Uh... yea. I guess you could look at it that way.
Fischman: Oh, we're really not interested in that market. Champions Poker believes that one day, everyone will be interested in the appeal of our brand, so we're letting them come to us.
PokerTips.org: Hmm... what makes you think that people will find your brand appealing?
Fischman: Uhh... bro... have you seen some of the models that hang out with us at our VIP parties? We have a pretty simple philosophy at Champions Poker: get hot girls and everything else will just fall into place.
PokerTips.org: Hmm... okay, that's an interesting business strategy. How is it working out for you so far?
Fischman: Well, we don't actually have any real money players yet, but we've only been in business for six months. I mean, we didn't expect to build a huge player base from the first $10 million we spent on marketing. Right now, it's just more about creating brand awareness within the industry. I know once these young online poker players see me, Ben Fischman, the CEO of Champions Poker, in pictures with girls that might register an 8, or maybe even an 8.5 on the hottness scale, they'll eventually have no choice but to sign up and play at our site.
But hey man listen, it's been real chatting with you, but I can't take anymore questions. I've gotta head to a meeting with some of the Full Tilt guys. We're going to strategize on various ways we can lobby Congress to help legalize online poker in the U.S. I really think we're just a couple of weeks away from seeing the right legislation pass. After that, we're taking it to the club, baby! VIP table at Urge. I think Snoop Dogg might have the table next to us, but that's just all part of life when you're the CEO of Champions Poker.
PokerTips.org: Alright, Ben, thanks for taking the time to chat with us.