The Story Of World Poker Tour President Pliska, US President Look-Alike, Who Doesn’t Play Poker – Part 1

Adam Pliska World Poker Tour President

Pliska’s notoriety is not only based on him being the President of the WPT but also his close resemblance to the President of the US.

Adam Pliska has quite a few things going for him. Not only has he been told that he has a striking resemblance to the most powerful man in the world, Barack Obama, US President, but he also has a drink named after him “The Pliska”. The drink sells at a tony bar at the SLS Hotel in Los Angeles.
Hopping from Las Vegas to Paris or even over to China’s Forbidden City.

The forty-three old lean Pliska is energetic and worldly, traveling from his Newport Beach home in his white Mercedes-Benz convertible. He spends as much as 6 months on the road, as a deal maker and promoter of televised poker tournaments aiming to promote WPT to the same level as the competing Amaya PokerStars‘ World Series of Poker.

Promoting Poker in Asia

Sam Quinto WPT

Pliska is just back from China, after signing a deal back there to expand poker tournaments across Asia. He hopes to go back this year in Asia, where the tour’s partner will be a company called Ourgame, a Chinese company that ‘specializes in digital, non-wagering game’s. A colleague of his at the tony bar at the SLS Hotel offers to get him ‘The Pliska’ which costs USD 18. The cocktail is a blackberry and Islay Mist infusion, served in a smoking globe-like glass with a float of liquid nitrogen.

The drink embodies Pliska himself – distinctive and deceptive, for Pliska doesn’t drink, but feels obliged to accept the cocktail made in his honor, to please the crowd, so he jokes “It’s the most expensive gift nobody ever gave me. But that’s not the only thing surprising about the president, Pliska doesn’t play poker either.

Pliska is an Emmy award winner

He does however indulge in a home game with close friends, every now and then. So just how did Pliska get to the head of WPT? Not by playing poker in US poker rooms but by gambling as he weighs the risks and rewards of piercing new wagering markets across continents.


Pliska is a lawyer and ex-TV producer. He has even won an Emmy award. To top it all off Pliska has what everyone needs to make it in the gambling business, he is a hard-core businessman. Age 16 he was a T-shirt entrepreneur, putting names on athletic jerseys, which generated enough profits to put him through USC film school.

Mediating to promote poker

Today, his goal is to “make the world safe for poker,” in an industry often put in a gray area under US gambling laws, or in conflict with global government regulators and lobbyists against. Pliska doesn’t bow to the pressure even as he manages billions of dollars.

While Pliska oversees a a poker culture, obsessed with winning, he on the other hand, is obsessed with promoting the legalization of the game. To achieve this he prioritizes the quality of life. So to prepare for his daily challenges, meditating has become second nature.

A film a night keeps Pliska’s goals in sight

To get rid of the stress after a hard day at work Pliska does weight-lifting at the Equinox in Irvine as he listens to audio books on the lives of John Wayne and Nelson Mandela, science books by Stephen Hawking and Michio Kaku, politics, public speaking, and on business.

Pliska, who still has an affinity for good films, enjoys watching a documentary every night. His hobbies include photography, shooting portraits and travel photos of exotic cultures. Moreover, Pliska is also a connoisseur of Asian and Italian cuisine.

Humility a necessary attribute

Pliska gives top honor to the restaurant San Shi Go, in Newport, for their sashimi and fresh sea urchin Beach. He and his japanese wife also named one of their Yorkshire terriers Uni. Pliska says “When he was a puppy, he had a black body and an orange head. He looked like little piece of uni sitting on a seaweed roll”.

But before rising to the top, Pliska was a lowly paperboy for the Register, according to gambling news. He also grew up in Orange, where his father, a deputy sheriff, and his mother, a housewife, both instilled in him the need to be humble. Pliska reminisces “My parents were grateful no matter what. As silly as it sounds, they were grateful they could live in this country, grateful that my dad had a job.”

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