poker player Jeremy Ausmus has always had a talent for games that
require planning and patience.
The youngest of three, Ausmus grew up in the small town of Lamar, Colorado. His interest in poker was sparked when he watched the movie “Rounders” as a Colorado State University student in 2002. His desire to learn more about the game led him to devour poker books, hone his skills at online poker sites and grind out wins in cash games at small casinos and card rooms. In 2004, he was making more in poker than his job, making it a somewhat easy decision to rely on his poker skills as his sole income for his final year of school.
In 2005, Ausmus graduated with a degree in Economics from Colorado State University and relocated from Fort Collins, Colorado to Las Vegas, where he could play poker full-time as a professional.
Jeremy started out playing small no limit hold'em games around town. Within a few months, he was doing quite well both online and playing bigger games in casinos, however online proved more profitable. He spent the bulk of his hours over the next few years on the virtual felt, under the screen name, "TheTaker." Feeling the need to expand his poker horizons, Jeremy began adding more tournaments and mix games to his repertoire.
Throughout 2011, while still focusing primarily on cash games, he piled up nearly $300,000 in tournament cashes. The 2012 World Series of Poker has brought him close to record-breaking notoriety, cashing in nine events and outlasting nearly 6600 people to earn a seat at the final table of the 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event. Jeremy finished fifth earning over two million for his efforts.
While poker is a way for Jeremy to provide for his family, his family is his best supporting cast. His beautiful wife of three years, a two-year-old daughter, and his new baby boy is where his heart lies.
Eugene Castro has been an avid poker player for the better part of twenty five years, whether playing with friends and family or to help cover his college and law school tuition -- the game has been a constant in his life. After delving into tournament poker in 2007, Mr. Castro has earned the highest degree of respect from his fellow players following dozens of tournament cashes and several impressive 1st place finishes.
Always seeking the betterment of anything to which Gene dedicates his time, he began to ask himself what he could do to improve the poker community. Upon meeting Randy Kasper and Eric Siegel they found their common purpose. Upon careful consideration of the state of the poker world, and after examination of their collective strengths and experiences, they devised the goals, objectives and mission statement in forming Poker PIayers International. In forming PPI the trio has focused on establishing relationships that are beneficial to a PPI member's quality of life and to creating an Online and Offline environment to enhance member's results.
Eugene has a diverse business background. Among his accomplishments are the establishment of the largest non hospital based sleep disorder clinic in the Midwest , the development of an Internet green product loyalty based program, establishing several health and tennis facilities and the development of numerous ground up residential and commercial real estate projects both local and abroad.
Eugene has been very involved in charitable initiatives emanating from poker. Eugene was instrumental in the formation of NephCure's All In' for a Cure - Pledge Program and is committed to continuing his support. Eugene is on the advisory board member of Prevent Cancer foundation's Bad Beat on Cancer division and encourages PPI members to join him in taking and fulfilling a minimum 1% pledge of their winnings.
Eugene resides in Nevada with his wonderful wife Kristine and his two daughters Karma and Katie.
Nolan Dalla is probably best known for his longtime association with the World Series of
Poker and Caesars Entertainment. He has served as WSOP Media Director since 2002. In that role, he has covered more final tables and witnessed more prize money awarded than anyone in history. Nolan first became known to the poker industry back in 1993, when he started as a regular columnist for Card Player Magazine. He created Card Player’s "Player of the Year" race, which is still in use today. Dalla's previous positions have included Director of Public Relations for legendary Binion's Horseshoe Casino in Downtown Las Vegas, as well as Director of Communications for PokerStars.com, the world's largest poker site. He is also author of the best-selling biography, "One of a Kind: The Rise and Fall of Stuey 'The Kid" Ungar." Today, Dalla lives in The Lakes section of Las Vegas along with his lovely wife Marieta, and two lazy cats.
Lauren Failla is the Co-Founder & CEO of Empire Industries, LLC and is the founder of the High Heels Poker Tour and Academy. As an avid player since college, Lauren turned her love of poker into a passion and full time career as both a business owner in the industry and a player. Lauren gives women the opportunity to expand their skills at the poker table by providing an outlet for nurturing the next top female poker player. Growing up and living in Washington D.C. for most of her formative years and as the daughter of a lifelong politician, she realized that politics was not her future and began her career in public relations and corporate communications as a corporate event planner, for the largest health care provider in the U.S. After many years Lauren struck out on her own and opened a gourmet food/event business in 1994 and worked with such clients as Carnival Cruise Lines, Miami Dolphins, Florida Panthers and Perfumemania. In addition to her career, Lauren has chaired and sat on the boards of many charities including; Take Stock in Children, Family Central, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Education Committee and the Dade County Chapter of the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Her philanthropic efforts have led to her passion for giving back and raising monies to help fund charities across the country. In 2010 Lauren was nominated for The Rising Star Award at the International Women in Gaming Awards in London and is also a feature writer for Ante Up Magazine (and on the cover in March of 2010) . As a mother of one son, Tyler and wife, Lauren juggles career and family to live out her passion for poker and business.
Lupe Soto has a background as a professional therapist and social services administrator. However, she is best known for her involvement in the promotion of women in poker. In 2003, she founded Poker Chix, an online poker forum. Poker Chix was met with an overwhelming positive response from women poker players. This led to the creation of the first woman's poker tour called Ladies International Poker Series - LIPS Tour - which now has events in more than 16 states and 60 land-based casinos. After meeting so many accomplished women who helped shape the poker industry, Lupe realized the need to honor the women who have excelled in the industry as a player or as an industry professional. In 2008, she founded the prestigious Women in Poker Hall of Fame. Induction into the Women in Poker Hall of Fame is one of the greatest honors in the industry.
Nancy Todd is a political consultant and president of Nancy Todd, Inc., an international strategic consulting firm based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Todd cut her political teeth in Louisiana where she attended LSU law school and volunteered in political campaigns. She started with the legendary Matt Reese in 1979. Since then, Todd has been a consultant to over l96 campaigns in 42 states and six countries, with a winning record of 98 percent. Nancy Todd, Inc. has worked with candidates and projects both nationally and internationally and has received several national awards for creativity in political advertising. In 1995, Todd completed a successful hostile takeover of a rural electric cooperative in Louisiana, the first such takeover in the country. As Treasurer of the board of directors of the International Association of Political Consultants and past President and Chairman of the American Association of Political Consultants, Todd was inducted into the prestigious Hall of Fame of the AAPC in March, 2008, the first such woman to be so honored. Her articles and commentary have appeared nationally in newspapers and professional publications. She is a frequent speaker both nationally and internationally for governments, heads of state, key leaders in emerging democracies and major universities including Harvard, the John F. Kennedy School of Government, George Washington University, Georgetown University and Vanderbilt University. Todd authors a monthly column for Casino Journal entitled "The Politics of Gaming". Nancy Todd, Inc. specializes in controversial issues with special emphasis on promoting integrity and responsibility among all involved parties. Her success rate for assisting clients deemed “Davids” to defeat “Goliaths” is legendary. Her corporate site can be viewed at www.NancyTodd.com.
Nancy 's record is unsurpassed, and her induction into the prestigious Political Hall of Fame in 2008 is a true recognition of her accomplishments. After losing her son, Hayden, in 2005, she began playing poker the next year. Her poker winnings help fund The Hayden Scholarship, a Foundation Nancy started in her son's name to help students get an education.