Cranston East grad knows when to hold ‘em, when to fold ‘em

By PAM SCHIFF Special to the Herald
Posted 5/15/24

Cranston’s own Aram Zobian was crowned the US Poker Open Champion in Las Vegas on April 17.

Zobian moved to Cranston when he was 11 years old, and attended Edgewood Highland, Park View and …

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Cranston East grad knows when to hold ‘em, when to fold ‘em


Cranston’s own Aram Zobian was crowned the US Poker Open Champion in Las Vegas on April 17.

Zobian moved to Cranston when he was 11 years old, and attended Edgewood Highland, Park View and Cranston East, where he was a member of the Class of 2013. He looks back on his childhood in Cranston very happily.

 “It always felt like a safe place,” Zobian recalled. “Days were simpler. People were kind. During grade school I had some exceptional teachers over the years. Sledding in the winter time at Roger William’s park and playing basketball at Doric and Park View are times that I miss.”

After taking some classes at CCRI, he realized the business world was not for him.

“I first got the poker bug whilst watching World Series of Poker footage on ESPN,” Zobian said. “The mathematical side of the game as well as the psychological intrigued me. So at a young age I envisioned playing big buy-ins on the big stage.”

Longtime friend and investor Ed Brady has nothing but praise for Zobian.

“When we met, he was a 19-20 year old, delivering pizza,” Brady said. “One night he came to a poker game and was simply enthralled with his attention to the craft of the game.”

Brady recalls one night they were together in Tampa, Florida along with other friends, and Zobian chose to stay in and study hand simulation.

“He comes from a great family, and is truly an overall great guy,” Brady said. “I am so happy for him and his success. He is so humble.”

Zobian took some time to learn poker and has never looked back.

“I was mostly self-taught, but I’ve had many friends and coaches teach me along the way,” he said. “From poker coaches to basketball coaches, personal trainers; learning about ancient history, religion and metaphysics, having someone to guide you goes a long way. I’ve also studied nutrition and wellness extensively. Needless to say I am a huge advocate for learning and utilizing one’s resources towards the betterment of self and therefore of the collective human experience.”

He has won approximately more than three million dollars over his career.

“The game is No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em,” Zobian explained. “We played at the Aria, Las Vegas, at the PokerGo studio. It is a high roller series with buy-ins ranging from $5K to $25K.There is a points based leaderboard. Every event gives points based on how much the player cashes for (the money they won).”

Zobian had an exceptional series, cashing in four events, with three podium finishes: 1st in a $15K buy-in for $265K; 2nd in a $10K buy-in for $163K; 3rd in a $10K buy-in for $108K; and 6th in a $25K buy-in for $78K.

“I won the overall series leaderboard by having the most points,” he said.

Zobian is pragmatic on his most recent accomplishment.

“I was fortunate enough to have a great run of cards while also playing some of the best poker of my life at the US Poker Open,” Zobian said. “The competition is quite tough and the stakes are high, so being able to perform well in this environment meant a lot. After making four final tables I accumulated the most points for the series and was crowned champion at the end of it. A truly joyous and exciting experience.”

He has tried and true practices to prepare for games.

“I always try to do something that fires up the nervous system, whether it be cold water therapy, or working out, or stretching,” Zobian said. “Making sure you are present with your breath is key to having a strong day. Prayer & reading scripture are daily staples for me. Oh, and quality sleep during high volume poker series is crucial.”

One perk that all his winnings have provided him, is the opportunity to play around and see the world.

 “I’ve been blessed to be able to travel freely,” he said. “I most recently went to Japan, which brought me great peace. The cities of Italy are gorgeous; the nature of Australia is beautiful but treacherous. Also returning to the motherland of Armenia was powerful.”

For a young man, he has his head, not in the clouds, but settled securely on his future.

“My final goal for poker is to allocate the money I win into helping other people,” Zobian said. “A nonprofit seems like a solid idea, but really what I’d like to do is open healing centers. With the right mindset, habits and environment the human body is capable of incredible healing transformation. I wish to culminate an environment for people to unlock their healing potential.”

He wants to sustain success at the high stakes level for many years to come and win multiple bracelets at the World Series of Poker.

As for his personal life goals he again is very planned and thorough in his thoughts.

“I’d like to open wellness centers, educate and empower people on the topics of detoxification, how to lead a life of wellness, and the body’s amazing healing ability,” he said.

Zobian also shared what he’s learned in life so far.

“I’ve gained countless lessons in my time spent in this world,” he said. “The game is so much more than luck or gambling. It is a vehicle for growth. When taken seriously the act of improving at the game sparks intense introspection and a desire to become a better human. Being in high pressure scenarios trains one to be resilient and calm. Understanding variance and risk management helped me to learn how to manage money (and how not to).”

pokr, Zobian, hold 'em


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