Holy Cow, Look at What Prahlad Friedman is Up To

Prahlad Friedman’s name has not been heard much in the poker community in the last five years or so. Hell, many of the half-dozen people reading this (hi, Mom and Dad!) probably don’t even know who he is. Well, I am here to tell you that the former poker pro is back and better than ever as… a rapper? Actually, scratch that, it goes a little something like this:

My name is Dan and I’m here to say
Prahlad Friedman is back in a major way.
[/suburban dad rap]

Seriously, though. He is now, as his bio reads, “a rapper, singer/songwriter, beat maker/producer, and owner and CEO of Pragress Records.”

Speaking of a bio on his Pragress Records site, there is some amazing stuff in there. “I used to be considered the best in the world at online poker, but now I’m betting on music. Damn that sounded corny, haha,” for example.

Or, “Pragress is a dedicated vegan. He is an an avid basketball player who once held a world record for free throws with 1 ball, 1 rebounder, 1 minute to shoot.”

Neat.

His first release, titled “Hazy Eyes,” just dropped about a week ago. A collaboration with singer Aida Leal Magalhães (going simply by “Aida”), it is essentially your typical modern-day hip-hop/rap track, with Aida singing a chorus with hints of reggae inspiration and Friedman coming in with the rap verses. The video is fairly cliché, complete with a mansion on the ocean, expensive cars, pot, and slow motion shots of Aida’s butt. I, personally, am not into this kind of music at all, so my opinions and amateur observations are likely invalid, so feel free to watch the video and form your own thoughts on the matter. The production values are good and again, as someone whose musical tastes don’t remotely come close to this, I didn’t want to stick scissors in my earholes. I mean, I didn’t ENJOY it, but I did make it through the entire video without dashing out into rush hour traffic.


Friedman gave us a glimpse of his prodigious rapping talents at decade ago during ESPN’s World Series of Poker coverage, treating viewers to a wonderful mix of poker rap and spoken word:

Poker is fun for everyone
Except my opponents
They shoulda
Practiced avoidance
They ain’t big proponents (in thinking)
Not just in the moment
But the possible future problems
Sometimes comes tough to solve them

Then I awaken to a dream
I fell asleep at spirit rock
Fifteen seconds with aces
Before they drop
Before they drop

Poker is fun for everyone
Except my opponents
They shoulda
Practiced avoidance

Friedman was one of the original internet poker stars. What he said in his bio about being considered the world’s best is not actually out of bounds; it is difficult to define who the “best” is at any given moment in time, but there was a time when one could argue that he was that person. He wasn’t much of a live tournament player, but did still rack up nearly $2.5 million in live tourney earnings. Almost half of that was from a victory at the WPT Legends of Poker in 2009.

2006 Ante Incident with Jeff Lisandro

Prahlad Friedman was also a polarizing figure in poker, running into his share of controversy. He finished 20th in the 2006 WSOP Main Event, but on the way, had a run-in with six-time bracelet winner Jeff Lisandro. In a hand at the featured television table, Friedman thought that Lisandro did not put in his 5,000 chip ante. The hand proceeded as normal, but Friedman kept harping on it (while everyone should obviously ante-up, 5,000 chips at that late stage in the tournament was insignificant and likely not worthy of extended complaining). As more hands came and went, Friedman couldn’t let it go, saying that the winner of the hand got robbed if Lisandro didn’t put in his ante. At that point, Lisandro finally spoke up, asking Friedman, “Are you a thousand percent [sure]?”

Lisandro said he wouldn’t do something like that for 5,000 chips and that Friedman was acting like an idiot, to which Friedman told Lisandro that he didn’t trust him. Shooting eye daggers, Lisandro said, “I don’t like your conversation, man,” as he got more and more frustrated with Friedman’s accusations or, at the very least, insinuations.

The dealer eventually asked the two to let it go, but they didn’t. Lisandro didn’t appreciate Friedman attacking his integrity and Friedman didn’t want to stop talking about it. The floor was called over and Friedman stepped away from the table to speak with him. Lisandro soon followed, pointing his finger in Friedman’s face while the floor manager stepped in between the two men. When Friedman once again said that he saw Dustin Holmes thrown in his ante (implying that Lisandro didn’t), Lisandro got even more upset, feigning a lunge toward Friedman and then saying, “I’ll take your head off,” as he went back to his seat.

The situation eventually calmed down. Security footage later showed that it was, in fact, Dustin Holmes, who was sitting in between Lisandro and Friedman, who failed to ante.

2010 WSOP Calling Clock

In the 2010 WSOP Main Event, Prahlad Friedman again got involved in a bit of a mess, though this time it wasn’t as heated. On the river of a board reading 6-J-9-5-2, Ted Bort moved all-in. After some time, Bort called the clock on Friedman, saying, “I only wanted some of your chips, not all of them.”

As is customary, the floor got to the point where he counted down from ten seconds. Between one and zero, Friedman called, but floor ruled that he did not call in time and therefore his hand was dead, giving Bort the pot. Bort showed J-9 for two pair. Now, if Friedman had him beaten, one would assume that he would put up a fight, saying that he called in time, but he accepted the ruling without a problem and mucked his hand, making everyone reasonably believe that he was beaten.

Other players at the table argued that Friedman had called in time, but the floor supervisor upheld the ruling. Friedman later admitted that he wouldn’t have won the hand, which is why he didn’t argue the decision.

UB Sponsorship

Also in 2010, Friedman raised eyebrows in the poker community by signing on as a sponsored pro with UB (UltimateBet). UB, of course, had become notorious for the huge “superuser” scandal a couple years prior and Friedman himself was scammed out of millions of dollars as a result. Thus, poker players and fans questioned why he could sign with a company that was responsible for bilking him out of tons of money. Friedman said that UB “took care” of him after the scandal and that things had changed for the better. UB got rid of all their U.S. sponsored pros in May 2011, not long after Black Friday. UB eventually vanished altogether, taking with it player funds.

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