Poker Coaching and more for the Tampa Bay Area!

Picture of our poker instructor Carlos Loving, tampa bay poker instructor and coach

Name: Carlos Loving           

Born: Tampa, Florida 03/1977

Education: University of South Florida

Hobbies: Flag Football, Working Out, Beach, and sports

Occupation: Poker Dealer, Professional Poker Player, Founder of Million Dollar Poker


Carlos has a computer engineering degree from the University of South Florida which has been very useful in his poker career.  Solving problems and using math to make correct decisions in poker is very important and his engineering degree has given him all the tools he needs.


Carlos has recently won two WPT regional events and just had a 2nd Place finish in the Heartland Poker Tour good for $79,225.  He has over $350,000 in tournament winnings.


Meet Our Instructors



Picture of our poker instructor filipp Khavin, tampa bay poker instructor and coach

Name: Filipp Khavin           

Born: Grodno, Belarus 1981

Education: University of Florida, University of South Florida

Hobbies: Sports, Movies, Travel

Occupation: Professional Poker Player


Filipp has an M.B.A. from the University of South Florida and undergrad degree in management.  He has been playing poker for 12 years and full time for the last 4.  Filipp has over 300,000 in live tournament earnings which include 8 WSOP cashes and 3 WPT televised event cashes.   He has accomplished a near impossible task of cashing in the WSOP Main Event the last 2 years with a 456th place this year and a 390th place last year.


Filipp learned the game online and has been able to bring the technical side of poker to the live felt.  He has poker coaching experience in a one on one setting and uses mathematical as well as analytical skills to succeed.

Name: Michael Laake          

Born: Austin, Texas 1985

Education: University of South Florida

Hobbies: Family, Multi Table Tournaments

Occupation: Professional Poker Player, Former Poker Dealer


Michael Laake had is first large tournament score in 2012 at the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Florida.  He finished in 1st Place for $114,975 beating 2512 players.  Since then he has accumulated over $500,000 in tournament winnings.   His most recent 1st place finish was also at the Hollywood Hard Rock and good for $61,250.


Mike is now playing poker for a living and has been very successful.  He frequently plays 2/5 and 5/10 No Limit Hold'em cash games and any large money guarantee tournament in Florida.

Picture of our poker instructor RJ Sullivan, tampa bay poker instructor and coach

Name: RJ Sullivan             

Born: Bradenton, FL 1988

Hobbies: Golf

Occupation: Professional Poker Player


RJ found success in poker at an early age and continues to dominate today.  He had his first large cash in a tournament when he was 18 and now grinds the live tournament scene.   He recently won two WPT events, took 3rd in a $1,100 buy-in, final tabled another WPT event, cashed in 2 2013 WSOP events, and just recently finished 2nd in the 2014 WSOP event #31 for $258,695.


RJ has that natural raw talent that every poker player wishes they had.  He has over $512,000 in tournament winnings.



Picture of our poker instructor Sterling Savill, tampa bay poker instructor and coach

Name: Sterling Savill        

Born: Tampa, FL 1988

Education: Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Eckerd College

Hobbies: Fishing, Baseball, Basketball, Competition

Occupation: Professional Poker Player, Student


Sterling was born and raised in greater Tampa bay area. He started playing poker after having knee surgery in college that ended his baseball career. He started with a $25 deposit on full tilt poker back in 2009 and never went broke, Since attaining his degree, he has made a living grinding the live wsop tournament circuit and cash games along the way.  Pot limit Omaha is his favorite cash game.


Sterling has over  750k in live and online tournament winnings, including cashing in the WSOP Main Event this year in 282nd place for over $37,000.  He also had two other cashes in the WSOP this summer and a final table this year in a WSOP Circuit Event.


Picture of our poker instructor Amelio Amato, tampa bay poker instructor and coach

Name: Amelio Amato       

Born:  Newark, NJ 1944

Education: University of Florida

Hobbies: Chess

Occupation: Retired, Professional Poker Player


Amelio has a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Florida, and during his career has directed research projects in support of the Department of Defense and NASA. His strong background in statistical analysis and game theory provides the basis for his approach to the game of poker.


Amelio has been playing poker for only 6 years, and during the last 2 years has over $200,000 in tournament winnings, including 3rd, 4th and 15th place finishes in WPT Regional main events, an 11th place finish in an HPT main event, and 8th and 49th place finishes in WPT televised main events.


Amelio is also a Postal Chess Master ranked top 50 in the US.


Name: Chris Hyden

Born:  Laguna Beach, CA

Education: University of California Santa Barbara

Hobbies: Video Games, Basketball, Football, Food, and Hanging with the boys.

Occupation: Professional Poker Player


Chris was a major in Business and Economics before he decided to pursue poker as his major source of income.   His dominating online tournament experience has lead him to the live tournament scene which he has had great success.


Chris recently placed 5th place at the WSOPC Main Event in West Palm Beach for $52,411 against the most talented players in the area.


You can find Chris playing No Limit Holdem, Pot Limit Omaha and Open Face Chinese poker cash games when he's not crushing tournaments.

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