"Ya, Sign me Up!" Platt on Poker, Broadcasting, and Life on 888poker's 888ride "Ya, Sign me Up!" Platt on Poker, Broadcasting, and Life on 888poker's 888ride

Most people recognize Jeff Platt for his work behind the camera with a microphone in his hand. Despite the recent memes poking fun at his interview timing, few players are sorry to see Platt approach with a microphone as his professionalism never fails to show interview subjects in their best light. 888poker’s David Tuchman recently took Platt for an 888ride to talk about life, broadcasting, and poker.

While Platt is most recognizable as a media personality these days, he works both sides of the poker fence and can often be seen working a stack of chips rather than the more familiar microphone. With over 50 live cashes, including a couple of deep Main Event runs, his passion for the game he covers is easily spotted.

That mix of passion and training is a big part of his success, something he is quick to acknowledge.

“I think we’re so fortunate to have, like, a real legitimate genuine passion for what we do, and hopefully, that displays itself when I do work,” Platt told Tuchman. “So to be able to go into what we call quote-unquote work and just do what I love? Ya, sign me up for that!”

Before Poker

Before he was Jeff Platt the interviewer, he was a sports junkie. He loved basketball as a kid, but quickly realized his skills were not on the court.

Instead, he turned to the off-court side of sports, with an education in sports management and broadcast journalism. In the early years of his education and career, poker was still in the future, but the seeds of the interviewer on display today were there from the beginning.

Before he found the green felt, he cut his broadcast teeth doing play-by-play for college football and basketball during his time at the University of Southern California. This is when he found his true passion — talking to people.

“I think I had always just kind of had that in the back of my mind. If I want to be involved in sports and the presentation of it in some way, but I know I can’t play, what option is there? And I’ve always enjoyed telling stories, talking to people, interviewing people.”

Almost immediately, Platt realized the one-on-one interviews with players on the sidelines was what he enjoyed the most, so it’s little surprise to see his mastery of the impromptu player interview at poker tournaments around the world, including the WSOP.

Player or Broadcaster?

Platt has no trouble answering that question, and he lands squarely on the broadcast side, as is evidenced by his exuberant “Sign me up” comment. Like many in the poker media, however, his poker life began as a player and it was only after some experience on the felt, and not a little success, that he turned his eye to the media side of the game.

The WSOPC Ring winner found early success at the tables with a couple of deep runs in the Main Event but, in hindsight, he admits they were because of run-good as much as skill. With his off-table life still filled with sports broadcasting, he began looking at the media landscape of the poker world.

Like many on that side of the game, he got his start with gigs at PokerNews, writing and working their podcast, but it was in 2021 that he found his genuine passion. That was, of course, a wild year for the world, presenting a lot of challenges, but also opening up unexpected opportunities.

Because of the unprecedented disruptions that year, Platt got the chance to step in for the inimitable Kara Scott in WSOP coverage when that event ran. His introduction was anything but easy, however.

Trial by Doyle

Platt recounted his introduction to WSOP interviewing duties. He remembered being “super-nervous” even before he got his first assignment, as the series was back after a year off, and he was filling the shoes of the great Scott. All he needed to do to start of his WSOP commentating career was interview the Godfather of Poker, Doyle Brunson, who was at the feature table to start the coverage.

He joked with Tuchman that he “almost had a heart attack” when the gravity of the moment hit him. “Yeah. I think that there are just two different people who have that kind of world when they walk into a poker room. One is Phil Ivey, and one is Doyle. And Negreanu and Helmuth are awesome, and they are super famous, but it’s just different when Doyle would walk into the room.”

While the “extroverted introvert” says he is often nervous on the inside, his professionalism shows through. Despite almost having “a heart attack”, he delivered a solid interview with a legend of the game to start one of the most unusual Main Events in history.

Since then, Platt has become a fixture on the floor of the WSOP with a microphone in his hand, but can still be found sitting behind a stack of chips in Vegas poker rooms. Finding something he loves on both sides of the game is clearly working for Platt — and while he has certainly run well both on and off the felt, his modesty hides the solid skill set he brings to the table.