Josh Arieh is no stranger to the spotlight of a final table at the World Series of Poker. He won a bracelet in 1999, finished runner-up in a $1,500 Pot-Limit Omaha event a year later, and most notably finished third in the 2004 WSOP Main Event for $2.5 million the year Greg Raymer took down poker's most prestigious title.
A year later, Arieh won his second bracelet and he has since made four other final tables, including a fourth-place finish in the $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em Shootout at the end of May.
Currently contending for his third bracelet and near the top of the chip counts in the final eight of this $5,000 Eight-Handed No-Limit Hold'em event, we felt Arieh would be the perfect candidate for the PokerNews Final Table Interview.
PokerNews: You've been at the Main Event final table and a number of others, including your bracelet wins and a fourth place finish already this year in the Shootout. Are these final tables old hat for you, or is this still exciting?
It's always exciting. I love playing when there's a lot of pressure and I don't get to do it too often, so this is a lot of fun.
PokerNews: Speaking of pressure, knowing you have a ton of final table experience here, is it your goal to pick on players who might not have as much?
In a lot of the $1,000s and $1,500s, yeah, but this is a $5,000 event where everybody is a really good player. So they might make a little mistake, but they're not really going to make a big mistake.
PokerNews: So what is your plan against these players right now?
Just to see how the chips fall. It's so dependent on where the stacks are and who has got what. I just try to catch good cards, try to lean on some shorter stacks and hopefully get lucky.
PokerNews: You were certainly one of the stars of the post-Moneymaker poker boom making the final table the very next year, but it seems lately you've moved away from the game a little and have turned this into a part-time vocation. What have you been up to?
I play a lot of golf and I play poker once a week at home in a home game. I try to spend as much time with my kids and my family and enjoy them. I've always said that I want to play poker to live, not live to play poker, so I try my best at that. I love playing, so I still get carried away sometimes, especially this month because I really enjoy competing at the World Series.
PokerNews: It's shaping up to be a really good series for you so far. To what do you attribute all this recent success?
I'm running really good. I'm thinking clearly and I'm not making a lot of little mistakes like I used to.
I feel like I haven't gone into autopilot at all in any tournament. I used to be a big victim of getting into autopilot and playing all the cards. I just feel like this year, I've continued to think through all situations, try to pay a lot of attention to every hand and try to keep track of how I think everybody's different feelings at the table are.
I guess it's working. I've made a lot of deep runs. I'm a few coin flips from a bunch of different cashes, but I'm happy, I'm playing well and I'm enjoying myself.