GeekWire Radio: Poker legend Phil Gordon is back in the technology game

Phil Gordon is a familiar character in the world of professional poker — an accomplished tournament player, author and former commentator on Bravo’s popular “Celebrity Poker Showdown” television show.

But Gordon, a Georgia Tech computer science alum, actually got his start in the technology business. Netsys Technologies, where he was the first employee, was sold to Cisco in 1997, long before Gordon broke through as a professional poker player.

philgordon

Phil Gordon in the KIRO studios.

And now he’s back in the world of technology, as the CEO of Jawfish Games, a Seattle startup developing multiplayer, real-time tournament games for the web and smartphones.

We’re excited to have Gordon as our guest this week on the GeekWire radio show. We get the inside details on Jawfish’s unique tournament infrastructure for games, and how Gordon’s experience playing in tournaments helped to inspire the startup’s approach. Gordon also shares some tech-related tips for becoming a better poker player, and talks about the similarities between playing poker and running a startup.

“There’s a lot of crossover,” he said. “Generally, people that are successful in poker are both aggressive and patient. … You have to wait for a good hand, but once you get a good hand, and you think you’ve got the best of it, then you have to be willing to stick your chips in the pot. … You want to wait, wait, wait until you really have something, and then once you know you have something, you devote a lot of resources to it.”

Jawfish Games has partnered with another Seattle company, Big Fish, on a new tournament-style game called Match-Up! for iPhone and iPad.

On the subject of poker, Gordon suggests the site Card Runners for online training to improve your game. Also check out Phil Gordon’s Little Green Book for more poker insights.

The discussion with Gordon begins at the 8:00 mark in the audio player above, following our weekly news roundup. Topics this week include …

App of the Week: Drawnimal for iPhone and iPad.

Name that Tech Tune: Here’s the answer to last week’s contest.

Listen to the show above or via this MP3 file.

GeekWire airs on 97.3 KIRO-FM in Seattle at 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. every Saturday, except when preempted by live sports. The show runs every weekend on GeekWire.com. You can receive every episode using this RSS feed, or subscribe in iTunes. Also find us on Stitcher.

Updated to clarify Gordon’s role at Netsys.

  • http://twitter.com/bcrimmins Bob Crimmins

    Clearly I’ve had the wrong GeekWire founder on the Startup Poker 2.0 invitee list. Todd… watch your inbox for the invites. ;)

    • http://geekwire.com Todd Bishop

      Ha. Thanks, Bob. I’m sure I’d be a very, um, popular player. :)

  • rich

    He was not a ceo at Netsys, probably one of the employees. It could does not matter, but facts are important in general, right?
    http://newsroom.cisco.com/dlls/1996/corp_101496.html

    • http://geekwire.com Todd Bishop

      Thanks, I updated the post to clarify that he was the first employee (as well as holding a stake in the company).

  • Random

    Thought you said Drawnimal is free app in the podcast but turns out it’s $2 :(

    • http://geekwire.com Todd Bishop

      That’s a change since last week. Previously it was free to download and install, with a few letters available for free and the rest available as an in-app purchase. Looks like they changed their approach in the past couple days and made it $2 out of the gate.