An AV Actor’s Dream of Becoming a Poker Player | FRIDAY DIGITAL

An AV Actor’s Dream of Becoming a Poker Player

The real reason why adult film actor Tetsuya Shido, who is scheduled to participate in Japan's largest poker tournament "JOPT" on January 7, finds pleasure in playing poker.

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Photographed by Tomohisa Watanabe (I asked him to remove his mask only for the photo shoot)

Right now, there is a poker boom in Japan, especially in the Tokyo metropolitan area, especially among the generation in their 20s and 30s.

The key words are online and amusement casinos.

For example, in the former, in 2021, a current Kyoto University student challenged himself to a Pot Limit Omaha (a type of poker) tournament on an overseas online poker site. The entry fee was $400 (about 46,000 yen), and when he successfully reached the top of the world, he won a prize of $140,500 (about 16 million yen).

And amusement casinos are opening one after another as a place where the rapidly growing number of poker players can enjoy live poker.

The one I’m going to introduce to you this time is the “Haunted Cat Poker Club,” which opened last October in Shinbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo. I interviewed the co-owner of the club, Tetsuya Shido, a famous poker player.

First time playing in Las Vegas, I was instantly hooked!

Mr. Shido is one of the best poker players in Japan and abroad, having won and placed in many poker tournaments.

In foreign countries, of course, players pay real money to participate in tournaments and play for real money.

In Japan, however, tournaments with real prize money are prohibited by law. In many major tournaments, it has become a standard practice to offer professional contracts that include “subsidized overseas travel” as a prize for the tournament. One of the reasons for the popularity of amusement casinos in Japan is that they have tie-ups with the Japan Open Poker Tour (JOPT), one of the most popular tournaments in the country, and regularly hold satellites (qualifiers) to compete in major domestic tournaments. The Kakeneko Poker Club is also planning to start a tie-up with the JOPT.

When I visited the store to interview Shido, I was surprised by one thing.

After 5:00 p.m., when the store opens, suit-wearing workers who seem to have left work early are playing ring games (virtual cash games where the objective is to increase chips without spending money), even though it is a weekday.

Mr. Shido, who now says, “I don’t play cash games, I concentrate on tournaments,” first encountered poker about four years ago. His first encounter with poker was about four years ago, when he was visiting a casino in Las Vegas and suddenly found himself in a cash game.

I was traveling in Las Vegas, and I thought it would be fun to go to a casino. A nice man approached me, and without knowing the rules, I sat down and played a cash game. I was suddenly robbed of about 2 million Japanese yen. That was my first encounter with poker.

Shido’s heart was instantly gripped by poker, and his next stop was Macau. It was here that he had a fateful encounter with a restaurant owner who would later go on to run the Kakenko Poker Club with him at one of the top tables in Asia.

Since then, Shido has transformed himself from a cash game to a player who specializes in tournaments.

Today, many poker players are learning the game theoretically and mathematically, using AI-based learning software, video sites, or paying to be coached by a professional player.

Shido’s evolutionary style, however, is the exact opposite: intuitive.

I’ve never read any poker-related books,” he says. I don’t read manuals in the first place. Even with a video camera, I can learn to use it through trial and error. I think there are two types of people who are good at poker. There are two types of people who are good at poker. The type that absorbs all kinds of knowledge from the Internet, videos, and coaching software and grows. The other type, which I think is more common among business owners, is the one who uses the ability to “read” people and situations that they have cultivated through their life experiences at the poker table. I guess I’m more of the latter type.

As for why he is attracted to poker, Shido says, “There is a world of lies, including on TV. But in the world of poker, there are no lies about the results. I was really attracted to that. He also said passionately, “Poker is a reflection of the way I live my life.

From a Top Salesman to an AV Actor: Running on the Edge of the Times

It is true that Shido’s life to date has been straightforward and honest.

In 2006, Shido made his debut as an adult film actor, and until the age of 25, he was based in the Kansai region, mainly in Osaka Prefecture, where he grew up.

When I was a teenager, I dropped out of high school and worked as a plumber and then part-time at a karaoke bar. From there, I decided I needed to find a regular job, so I became an office worker. At that time, Hikari Tsushin, Inc. (currently listed on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange) was growing very rapidly, and cell phone stores were opening one after another all over the country. I was eventually promoted to manager of seven stores, mainly in Kyoto.

He then moved on to work as a sales representative for an Internet provider. There, too, he achieved good results. There, too, he achieved good results, and his monthly salary sometimes exceeded one million yen.

Then, at the age of 26, after a series of setbacks, he chose Tokyo as the place to make a fresh start and start his life all over again.

He had less than 20,000 yen in his pocket. With that, he bought a one-way ticket to Tokyo and was left with only a few thousand yen. Coming to Tokyo with empty hands must have been like playing poker and trying to get all-in on the few remaining chips.

From Tokyo Station, I somehow made my way to Shinjuku. From Tokyo Station, I somehow made my way to Shinjuku, and became what is now called a refugee at an Internet cafe. At first, I worked as a clerk in a cell phone store or as a day laborer. Eventually, I posted a message on the Internet asking for someone to let me stay overnight, and a male student from Waseda University, who came from a wealthy family in the countryside, agreed to let me stay in his room. One day, while surfing the Internet, I found a notice for an AV actor. It was only available in Tokyo. I decided to give it a try and applied for the job out of curiosity.

It is normal for an actor to start out as a “juice actor,” paying 1,000 yen per performance, and after a couple of years, he or she is entrusted with the task of getting involved with the actress. However, Mr. Shido was able to do so in just six months. The fee went up to 30,000 to 50,000 yen. She worked hard at filming every day, and in her 10-year career, she has been involved with a total of 5,000 actresses.

In her twenties and thirties, Shido was at the forefront of her time, but in her thirties, something happened that changed her career.

The ironclad rule in the industry is that you can’t touch an actress in her private life. But I got into a relationship with a girl I got along with. But I got into a relationship with a girl I got along with, and then the people involved and the girl tried to get money from me. Millions of dollars.”

When this happens, there is no shortage of actors who are willing to pay.

If I refused to pay, I’d lose my job. That’s why they all pay. But I didn’t like it. I didn’t coerce them, and I didn’t violate them. But I felt it was uncool to be threatened like that and pay. So I quit being an actor for hire and started my own label (VOND series).

The VOND series is currently on hiatus as it prepares for its next release, but the series, which invites amateur actresses to participate in one-on-one encounters, has been well received.

I’ve been doing this for a long time, but I’ve never been able to do it before. I’ve always tried to please the woman in front of me and make her feel really good. I know when I’m acting fake. I can tell when she’s acting and saying she feels good, and when she’s really feeling it. It’s not that I’m saying that, but it’s not that hard to see through a poker bluff.

Shido’s goal as a player is to “surpass my predecessors without learning anything from them. Although he humbly states, “I haven’t mastered any one path,” there is no doubt that he has led an original life, being at the forefront of his time in each generation.

That’s why he says, “If you come to the Feline Poker Club, you’ll get better at poker. That’s why I have high hopes for him when he says, “If you come to this karenko poker club, you will become a better poker player. I’m sure that this club is filled with what I would call Tetsuya Shido’s philosophy of life, something that cannot be learned at any ordinary club.

When he was a successful porn actor (photo by Tetsuya Shido)
Mr. Shido talking about his passion for poker (photo by Tomohisa Watanabe, who took off his mask for the photo shoot)
Mr. Shido’s trophies lined up at the store he co-owns (photo by Tomohisa Watanabe)
Trophies he has won in the past at JOPT, where he will start competing on January 7 (photo by Tetsuya Shido)
  • Reporting and writing Hidetoshi Suzuki

    Hidetoshi Suzuki is an entrepreneur, businessman, and sports journalist born in Miyagi Prefecture in 1975. Graduated from Tokyo University of Science. After working as a reporter for a music magazine and a sports magazine, he became an independent sports journalist in 2005. After working as a management executive for several J-League clubs, he is now involved in the management of futsal facilities, as well as investing in and providing management guidance to several venture companies. He is the author of "Shuzo Manager" (supervised by Shuzo Matsuoka, published by Takarajima-sha) and the translator of "Premier League Tactics and Strategy" (Best Shinsho).

  • Photography Tomohisa Watanabe

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