We were introduced to Jason White by 2013 Main Event runner-up Jay Farber via Twitter. White is the driver of the #24 Toyota in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and spends most weekends on the track. This weekend he traded four wheels for 30,000 in tournament chips and is taking a spin on the felt. We caught up with White just as the Day 1b players were headed to dinner, where he was kind enough to give us a few minutes.
PokerNews: What brings a NASCAR driver to the poker table?
Jason White: Well, me and my buddies have been playing poker for years back home. I also play a lot with the other drivers and teams at the track when there is down time. I love to play, but I don’t really have time to do it very often.
We race all year long, but by chance I was off this weekend, so I thought I would come on out and give it a shot. I met Jay a few years ago at the night clubs and when he made the November Nine last year, I was cheering him on. I thought that was awesome and we have become better friends since then. He comes to an occasional race and we have had a lot of fun. He was giving me some tips. It’s been a really cool experience so far.
Is this your first Main Event?
It’s actually my second. I played about three years ago and made it until Day 3. I am hoping to do a little better this time.
It doesn’t sound like you get the chance to play live tournaments very often, do you?
No, I don’t get to play them at all. This is only my second real tournament, the first one being the other main event I played. I have played tournaments in my home game but nothing like this. You definitely have to have more patience than in the home games. Jay’s been kind of coaching me on that kind of stuff.
What kind of tips does Jay give you?
Basically, he said not to get too wrapped up in hands. The main tip he gave me is all about survival. He said if you can just make it to the next day, then you are still in it. Keep the pots as small as you can. When you can pull off a win, pull off the win and if you lose, try to lose as little as possible.
What skills can you take with you from the driver’s seat to the poker table?
Endurance and focus are the big things. In racing, you are sitting in a car for three to four hours in 120 degree heat and you have to keep your focus. Sitting at a poker table for 10 hours a day is also hard. The tournament is long and keeping your focus is probably the biggest thing you can do to help your chances.
You have to see where you are at on the track. Likewise, you have to feel where you are at on the poker table. On the track, I’m looking to pass and at the poker table I’m looking to steal. You have to measure up your competition and find where the best place to make a move on them is. Racing and poker are two different things, but it definitely relates in some areas.
How is your day going so far?
I would say I am doing pretty good. I was up to about 60,000 in chips but got rivered to bring me down to about 35,000. If it wasn’t for that I would have been up to about 100,000. I am still doing OK. Jay ended yesterday with 52,000 and said if I could stay around that range I would be fine. Those last hands weren’t great, but I have to keep focus and survive the day so I can go on to the next.
So, do you have next weekend off, too? You might need it, you know.
Yeah. That might be a challenge. We’ll have to see but it would be a good problem to have.