CardsChat ambassador Ryan Laplante is ready for a summer grind that includes a planned seven-and-a-half weeks of almost non-stop tournament action with only one day of rest. The challenge won’t be easy, but his mindset seems to be in the right place.
“The summer is going to be long so the best way to prepare is to make sure I get a lot of sleep,” he said. “I’ll make sure I’m eating healthy and getting enough exercise. I don’t drink or do drugs of any kind.”
Laplante, who won his first WSOP bracelet in 2016 in a $565 Pot-Limit Omaha event, said he intends on playing approximately 60 events this summer between the WSOP and other tournaments around Las Vegas, where he resides.
“I sold a general staking package which includes 84 total entries in about 60 events,” he told CardsChat. “Beyond the WSOP, I plan on playing in the MSPT events at Venetian. I will play the Wynn million-dollar guarantees. And I will probably play the Planet Hollywood Main Event.”
Like any smart poker player, Laplante isn’t results oriented. When I asked him what goals he has for the summer, he said he just wants to “play great” and “play focused.” If he sticks to those goals, and the cards fall his way, he could be on his way to a second career bracelet, which he admits would be a thrill.
“Nothing against the other tournaments,” he said. “I love those, but it means a lot more to win a WSOP bracelet than some trophy at Venetian or somewhere else.”
Laplante has won his share of tournaments, and money, throughout his poker career. The Minnesota native ranks 5th all-time on his home state’s money list at $1.55 million, and has a resume that includes a WSOP bracelet, a WSOP runner-up, and a runner-up finish in a 2017 $1,100 Wynn Summer Poker Classic event.
We’re happy to have Ryan aboard here at CardsChat not only for his poker skills, but also his character. He clearly has “Midwest values,” as some might say, including myself who also grew up in the Midwest.
Laplante one of the more heartfelt bracelet victory speeches ever after winning his 2016 PLO title at the World Series of Poker, which occurred hours following a mass shooting that killed 49 people in Orlando at a gay nightclub.
“I’m proud to call myself an openly gay man and encourage all of you to be proud of who you are and be comfortable loving yourself, to be open with who you are with those around you if you so desire to do so,” the teary-eyed Laplante said during his speech hours after a crowd of innocent men and women were gunned down. “Please treat each other with love and respect, as there’s too much hate and anger in this world.”
Fast forward to this past Friday, coincidentally the day I spoke to Ryan, and America is dealing with another tragic mass shooting, this time at a Texas high school where 10 innocent people were killed and 13 others wounded. Laplante, who has strong political beliefs and encourages all citizens, regardless of party affiliation, to participate in politics, has an opinion on how to limit violence in the US.
“I’m not anti-gun at all,” he said. “I believe law-abiding citizens should have a right to own pistols and reasonable guns for protection. But I think guns should be heavily regulated.”
One thing is clear, even if you don’t agree with his political views, Laplante is genuine and educated, certainly more so than the average talking head on CNN or Fox News, in my opinion.
“What needs to happen is our generation and younger just needs to be more willing to enter politics and vote,” Laplante said.
Making a Run at Player of the Year?
In 2016, Laplante spent part of the summer atop the WSOP Player of the Year leaderboard and was in contention into July before finishing in 24th place. Although winning the prestigious award would be quite an honor, he understands his odds aren’t great.
“Winning Player of the Year would be a major goal of mine if I had a legitimate shot at it,” he said. “The way they currently have the Player of the Year setup is that unless you’re actively playing the 10k’s, you’re not really in the running at all.”
Laplante, who started his summer on Sunday at the $10,000 buy-in WPT season finale at Aria, will enter a couple of $10,000 WSOP events in 2018 but won’t play the biggest events such as the $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop, which will hurt his chances of winning POY given the recently adjusted scoring system heavily favors those who compete in the more expensive tournaments.
“Two years ago, when I was in the hunt, I was leading for two weeks, which was really cool,” Laplante remembers. “But I knew that I was drawing dead in July.”
Whether or not he’s in contention for POY during the upcoming WSOP, Ryan plans to tweet hand histories on Twitter so his followers and backers can find out what he’s up to all summer long. You can also learn more about the CardsChat ambassador at PokerProtential.com.
CardsChat forum members can enter a Last Longer competition during the $565 buy-in WSOP Colossus. If you are the last person standing in the event on Team CardsChat, which includes Ryan Laplante, you’ll receive $500.