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Phil Laak at the 2006 World Series of Poker
|Hometown||San Francisco, California|
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Main Event finish
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Philip "Phil" Laak (pronounced "lock"; born September 8 1972, in Dublin, Ireland) is a professional poker player, now residing in Los Angeles, California. Laak was the winner of a World Poker Tour (WPT) title in 2004 and has appeared on numerous nationally-aired television shows.
Laak was born in Dublin, raised on the East Coast, and now lives in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Nevada. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a degree in mechanical engineering and worked as an engineer, a repo man, a stock day trader, and a real estate investor, prior to getting into open poker games in California.
He is a former roommate of fellow professional poker player and close friend Antonio Esfandiari.
Laak learned to play poker as child. His first major tournament victory was at the World Poker Tour (WPT) Celebrity Invitational in February 2004. He has made two other WPT final tables since: sixth place in both the season two Battle of Champions and the 2005 Five Diamond World Poker Classic.
He has also competed in numerous Poker Royale series.
Laak was a winner of NBC's Poker After Dark, earning the weekly prize of $120,000. The tournament was entitled "Phil Phil" because both Phil Laak and Phil Hellmuth were contenders. Apart from Laak and Hellmuth the table consisted of Doyle Brunson, Antonio Esfandiari, Jennifer Harman, and Erik Seidel.
At the 2007 conference of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence in Vancouver, British Columbia, Laak and fellow professional player Ali Eslami competed against, and beat, Polaris, a poker playing computer program developed at the University of Alberta, in two of the four rounds with the remaining rounds being a loss and a draw.
As of 2008, his total live tournament winnings exceed $1,750,000.
Laak co-hosted a show called "I Bet You" on the (MOJO network) with his friend Antonio Esfandiari where they can be found betting on any and all things.
Nickname and personality
Laak became known widely in the poker scene as the "Unabomber" because of the hooded sweatshirt  and sunglasses he wears at the table, making him resemble the forensic sketch of Theodore Kaczynski who was known as the Unabomber.
Laak is known also for his unusual and inventive manner of speech. He coined the poker term "felted" to mean having lost all of one's chips (i.e. nothing left in front of the player except the table felt).
Laak has been highly regarded as one of the top "cash game" poker players on the circuit. He regularly plays the highest no-limit games at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles. He was seen playing the biggest cash games at the World Series of Poker at the Bellagio and the Venetian.
Phil Laak played the first day of the Main Event of the 2008 World Series of Poker incognito, in a latex mask, wig, make-up and costume. Only his girlfriend, Jennifer Tilly and close friend Antonio Esfandiari knew who he was. Even his fellow table mates who played the entire session with him did not recognize him. His disguise was discovered, and reported shortly thereafter, by AP reporter Oskar Garcia.