– General Information –
Cary Katz is an American businessman, entrepreneur and recreational poker player. He was born on January 29th, 1970. His success in the business world allows him to frequently play the biggest poker tournaments around the world while not depending on his cashes to make his living like the professionals he’s constantly playing against.
In these live high rollers that he plays for recreation, he’s amassed a staggering $28.480 million in cashes.
The exact size of his personal wealth is unknown but he’s often referred to as a “Las Vegas billionaire” by various media outlets.
He’s also the founder of the online poker content streaming company Poker Central. For his copious contributions to the world of poker, he won the “Poker’s Biggest Influencer” award at the 2018 American Poker Awards.
– Key Career Dates –
- 2004: He starts playing live poker tournaments.
- 2017: He creates the biggest online poker streaming company, Poker Central.
- 2018: He wins the “Poker’s Biggest Influencer” award at the 2018 American Poker Awards.
- 2019: He comes in first in the £275,000 Super High Roller Bowl London for $2.610 million. That is his biggest single live tournament cash to date.
– Cary Katz’s Career –
→ Beginnings ←
Katz graduated from the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. In 1999, he founded the Las Vegas-based College Loan Corporation (CLC). The success of that company is where the biggest bulk of his wealth comes from.
He’s still the CEO of CLC. The company brings in millions and millions of dollars in revenue in each quarter. During their 20 years, they’ve provided loans to about 800,000 students to the tune of $19 billion. CLS is among the top 10 student loan companies in the US. The student loan market in America is estimated to be $285.5 million.
As for poker – according to his bio on WSOP.com, Katz learnt to play the cardgame from his grandmother. His earliest cashes on Hendon are from 2004. Since by that time he was already a multi-millionaire, there’s no reason to suspect he was grinding smaller tournaments prior to that to build up his bankroll.
→ Live Tournaments ←
As we wrote above, the first cash on his Hendon profile is from 2004 – it’s a $10,381 payday for a 24th place finish in a $10K tourney at the Bellagio.
The first time he made a cash over $100,000 in a poker tournament was a whole 9 years after his first results. He came in 4th in the $100K Super High Roller at the 2013 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. That performance earned him $543,800. At the final table, he had to battle such accomplished poker pros as Scott Seiver or Nick Schulman.
The following year, in 2014, he started bringing home cashes from some of poker’s highest buy-in events. From that point on, he was a regular feature in the $25K High Rollers at the Aria.
Katz also won two $25K High Rollers at the Bellagio within one month (!) in February 2014. He got $176,069 and $208,081 for those two victories, respectively.
He won a $100K Aria Super High Roller for $733,000 in 2016, while also finishing runner-up in the same event for $653,400 two years earlier. In 2016 again, he won a $50K tourney at the Aria as well, pocketing no less than $615,621.
In 2019, he took down the A$100,000 Challenge event at the Aussie Millions for $1,074,908. A year earlier, he claimed another 7-figure first prize – that time by topping the field in the $100,000 Super High Roller at the 2018 PCA in the Bahamas and winning $1,492,340.
The same year, in 2018, he came in 2nd in the HK$1,000,000 Triton Short Deck Hold’em tournament for $1,773,722.
He also has a vast number of cashes from the World Poker Tour – 18, to be exact. He’s never won a WPT title, the closest he came was losing heads-up to Samuel Stein in a $5,000 WPT tournament at the Bellagio in 2013.
He also played in the €1,000,000 Big One for One Drop event at the 2016 WSOP Europe in Monte Carlo. There, he managed to make it to the final table, eventually taking 5th place for $1,929,203.
Being the prolific high roller Katz is, he’s amassed $28.480 million in live tournament earnings over the course of 16 years and 206 ITM finishes.
His highest score is from September 2019. He took down the £275,000 Super High Roller Bowl London for $2.610 million. He bested a star-studded field of 12 players, which featured such poker greats as Stephen Chidiwck, Sam Greenwood, or Bryn Kenney. Katz defeated the Bosnian Ali Imsirovic heads-up for the title.
→ World Series of Poker ←
Cary Katz is yet to win his first WSOP gold bracelet. But that doesn’t mean his resume doesn’t have a number of impressive results from World Series events – especially for a “recreational” player.
He cashed in the Main Event twice. Once in 2009 when he finished 159th for $40,288, then in 2019 when he finished 311th for $38,240.
He also was very close to triumphing in a WSOP event when he came in 2nd in the $1,500 NLHE tournament for $225,181 in 2017. He lost the heads-up battle for the title to Mohsin Charania.
In 2019, he took 8th place in the $50,000 No-Limit Hold’em for the 50th Annual event and won $151,755. Even more impressively, he also finished in 8th place in the 2014 WSOP $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop super high roller, for which he got $1,306,667.
Overall, Katz has 36 ITM finishes at the WSOP for a combined $2,438,315.
→ Business Ventures in Poker ←
Cary Katz founded the online poker streaming company Poker Central in 2015. Their streaming service is called PokerGO. For $10 per month, they provide live streams and VOD’s from the WSOP and other high profile poker events.
They also made many initiatives to entertain poker fans around the world.
In 2017, they revived the classic poker show Poker After Dark which originally aired on NBC between 2007 and 2011. The infamous Black Friday events made it impossible for their main sponsor Full Tilt to continue supporting the show.
PokerGO, however, created new installments of the series. The logo, the intro and the on-screen graphics during hands are the same. They also feature super high stakes cash game and tournament action in their selection, just like the old show.
PokerGO also brought to life the Poker Masters, the annual high roller tournament series in which the very best of the poker world compete. Modeled after the US Golf Masters’ Green Jacket, whoever cashes for the most amount across the events gets to take home the Purple Jacket. In the inaugural year, 2017, it was the German Steffen Sontheimer.
Because Cary Katz is involved in all these super ambitious poker projects, he was awarded with the “Poker’s Biggest Influencer” award at the 4th – and last – annual American Poker Awards in 2018.
→ Scandals ←
Katz is also the creator of the media company Conservative Review Television (CRTV). As the name suggests, it’s creating content geared towards the conservatives and Republicans in the United States. He’s also one of the largest donors to the Republican Party in Nevada.
That alone is enough for some people to attack him. He regularly has hit pieces written about by leftist online media outlets like Salon.
Suing His Own Company
In April 2018, Katz decided to file a $20 million lawsuit against CRTV, the company he founded and is still a co-owner of.
According to his claims, CRTV was loaned $20 million by Katz but failed to make the first payment by the agreed deadline. In turn, Katz took the case to court.