Just Browsing With Bad Beat Clothing

published on 12/10/08 at 10:43 am

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The e-commerce world is a tough market with a lot of shopping options. Add to the fact that specializing in a niche market, like poker, can be an arduous journey. But Bad Beat Clothing have done their homework and have hit the road running at full speed. We talk with John Doran, owner of Bad Beat Clothing, and Joe Newman, Bad Beat’s marketing director, and dive in on the world of poker clothing, tournaments, and personalities.

Why did you start up Bad Beat Clothing? Was there a gap in poker clothing? How long has the company been in existence?
John: Poker players aren’t really known for their fashion sense. You can’t blame them, either. They sit in casinos and card rooms, playing for hours on end and they want to be comfortable. They wear t-shirts and hoodies. Plus, most casinos keep it just above freezing in their poker rooms, so you’ve got to put something warm on. We figured there was a huge market for t-shirts, thermals and hoodies that were both comfortable and stylish.

Joe: I had some experience marketing and designing poker t-shirts for a friend’s company but they were mostly novelty shirts — the kind with funny cartoons and sayings on them. When John told me earlier this year he wanted to develop a line of designer t-shirts geared toward poker players, I told him to count me in. We’re both fans of mixed martial arts and felt that there was room to do for poker players what Affliction did for MMA fans.The company is only a few months old.

Of the poker personalities you have met, who has been the most memorable? Why?
John: I’ve played with quite a few pros in Atlantic City and Las Vegas and the ones who stand out are the guys who aren’t full of themselves and don’t let their egos get out of control. I sat next to Gavin Smith for a session and he was a funny dude. I also played with Jamie Gold and thought he was a lot nicer than TV made him out to be. ESPN really made him look bad during the 2006 WSOP.

Joe: I used to write a syndicated poker column and interviewed Phil Gordon once. He was a great guy to talk to — real down to earth. He went out of his way to explain poker strategy in a way that the average player could understand. I would highly recommend his books to the beginning player. I’d also be remiss not to thank Jerry Yang, winner of the 2007 WSOP main event, for wearing our shirt at a recent charity tournament at Bay 101 in San Jose. I admire Jerry because of his willingness to give back to the community. The poker world needs more players like him. We met Jerry through Frank Wiese, author of the upcoming book, Eat Professional Poker Players Alive!. Frank is really an interesting guy who has some great connections in the world of poker.

What poker tournaments have you worked the floors at? Has the feedback been positive? Have new ideas been planned because of feedback?
John: Since the company hasn’t been around too long, we haven’t had a chance to go to a lot of tournaments. I get to Atlantic City about once a week and the feedback from the recent WPT event at the Borgata and the $350,000 Deepstack tourney was encouraging. Players love the feel of our shirts. They are very soft, not stiff at all.

Any new product lines can you reveal?
John: Right now all of our apparel is designed for guys but we want the ladies out there to know that we’re going to be introducing some tops and hoodies for them sometime in the beginning of the year.

Any advice to an e-commerce start-up? What you did right? Wrong?
John: I’ve run a successful mortgage company for the last four years and was in the limo business before that, so I know what it takes to get a company off the ground. Still, it doesn’t prepare you for everything you have to deal with as an online retailer. We’re really learning a lot of this as we go — what works and what doesn’t. The thing to remember is not to cut corners — when you’re trying to stand out in a crowded marketplace, quality is important. We hired a top, up and coming graphic designer and insisted on top-quality material for our shirts. I also have to give a shout out to my wife, Judy (Joe’s sister). She keeps the business organized, oversees inventory and handles the books. So, my advice is to have a great wife!

Joe: Neither of us are Web designers. John and Judy used an off-the-shelf template for our Web site. John’s thinking was he wanted to invest in developing a great product line first and then concentrate on the bells and whistles later. I think that’s great advice: produce a high-quality product, first.

What is your poker background? How long have you played? Stakes? Any WPT or WSOP entries?
John: I’ve been playing seriously for about three years. Last year I played the main event of the World Series of Poker and sat at the featured table with Jamie Gold. I got knocked out on the first day with AJ, just before the dinner break. I’ve also played in WPT events and WSOP Circuit tournaments in Atlantic City. I won $11,000 for taking 7th in a WSOP Circuit event this past March at Caesar’s in Atlantic City. I also finished in the money in the 2007 Borgata Summer Open in Atlantic City. My usual game is $20 – $40 limit at the Borgata. We both plan on playing in next year’s WSOP main event.

Joe: I haven’t had as much luck as John in big events, though I did finish in the money at a WSOP circuit event at Caesar’s in March 2007 (53rd out of 1,155). I’ve had better luck in the regular tournaments at the Borgata and Taj. My best win was a $9,000 cash in a Borgata tournament. The game I play the most is $5 – $10 N/L, $10 – $20 limit and $20 – $40 limit.

What is your favorite game? Why? Do you play other varieties?
John: I like the $20-$40 limit Texas Hold ‘em because you can pull some big pots without risking your whole stack in any one hand. At that level, you can also start bluffing people off of hands.

Joe: I like N/L Texas Hold ‘em tournaments the best. There’s a lot more strategy in tournaments and the loose, wild players will eventually get punished. I’ll play Omaha and stud online but I never play stud in a live game. Those stud players are usually the best poker players in the casino and they look at someone like me as fresh meat.

What type of player do you find is the most difficult to play against?
John: Inexperienced players with money to burn are always dangerous in cash games because they’ll call just about any draw or with any bottom pair. It’s very difficult to push someone off a hand if they don’t know they’re supposed to fold.

Joe: I’ll agree with John on that one.

Do you have any habits or superstitions at the poker table, live or online?
Joe: I won’t sit in the 1 seat next to the dealer and, in a live limit game, I always play Q-4. One time I folded Q-4 twice in the same session and each time it flopped a full house. Also I have this thing I say in my head when I sit down at the table: “I’m not here to be your friend. I’m here to take all your money. It’s not personal. It’s just poker.”

If you could give one piece of advice to the average player to help improve their game, what would it be?
John: Remember that when the cards are running well, you’re never as good as you think you are and when they’re running bad, be patient, eventually the cards ALWAYS change.

Joe: Buy one of our shirts. It might not make you a better poker player, but at least you’ll look good.

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7 Responses to “Just Browsing With Bad Beat Clothing”

  1. Street 3

    Dec 10th, 2008

    Great effen interview!

  2. Deanna

    Dec 10th, 2008

    Can’t wait ’til you come out with your ladies’ line, but in the meantime I’ll be more than happy to wear the men’s shirts and say I stole ‘em from my hubby.

    Great interview, guys and fantastic product!

  3. Bad Beat Clothing

    Dec 10th, 2008

    thanks so much for spotlighting us! great questions. everyone we’ve met so far has been very supportive and we really appreciate all the compliments and feedback!

  4. PokerVixen

    Dec 10th, 2008

    Definitely looking forward to the women’s line.

    I totally dig Joe’s mantra when he sits down at the table. That’s right up there with “I’d check-raise my own mother” :)

    Great interview guys.

  5. [...] Interested in knowing a little more about Bad Beat Clothing? You can find out who we are over at Pokerplasm.com, which interviewed us recently for today’s post, “Just Browsing with Bad Beat Clothing.” [...]

  6. [...] Bad Beat Clothing is now the sponsor of the Twitter Poker Tour! Free t-shirts abound in this week’s event (see below). Would you like to know more about these fine gentleman, then you can read up on them here. [...]

  7. Gaming Software

    Dec 12th, 2008

    encountering bad beat means you’re having a good game…

    i want some shirt also, maybe it give me luck next time. :)

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