April 2016

Eddy LeBlanc – Jackpots, high-end mods and activism

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By COREY NOLES

Eddy LeBlanc knows how to make things happen.

He turned a childhood love for poker into a career with the World Series of Poker (WSOP), a passion for vaping into a chain of five stores and a new juice line — Split.

LeBlanc, born in Toronto but an early Atlanta transplant, has won more than $190,000 through WSOP — most of it since December 2015. His biggest win to date was at a WSOP Circuit match in Cherokee, North Carolina in December 2015 where a second place finish out of 1,010 players landed him $173,286.

“That last one multiplied my career earnings times 10,” LeBlanc said.

“Basically, my poker life started at about age 5,” he said. “I grew up in a motorcycle family, dad was an old school poker player and biker. So we didn’t play the conventional games at our house.”

That love of the game followed him through life — all the way to his first WSOP event in Sept. 2012 at West Palm Beach, Florida. To date, he has completed in six WSOP events and placed in the top two three times.

In August 2014, LeBlanc took first place at the same Palm Beach event where he started, winning almost $10,000 and a championship ring.

“That was really a big deal to me,” he said. “I’m still proud of that ring.”

Following his big win in December 2015, LeBlanc gave the dealer quite the gift — a G Reverso Titan Mod valued at more than $600.

“I had seen him vaping during the event and saw he was using an 30 watt iStick,” LeBlanc said. “I figured he could use an upgrade, so I gave him mine.”

Of course, it’s not LeBlanc was without a mod.

His replacement, a $6,000 Gepetto Titan V3 on Steroids, is now his go-to mod. The device, made in Poland, sports a single 26650 powered by an Evolv DNA40 chip. With a burled wood body, the Titan V3 on Steroids features a stainless steel front plate and a Mi- Tech anti-vandal switch.

The Poland made mods retail for around $600, but getting your hands on one can often cost much more. To pay between $5,000-$6,000 or more is not unheard of.

LeBlanc’s new juice line, which launched March 24, 2016, has seen some early success, with more than 20,000 pre-orders placed by mid-March. The line is a group project of LeBlanc, his brother Troy LeBlanc, Ken Siverman, Kyle Ezzio and Jacob Giverink. The parent company is Dark Market Vape Co. with a distribution company under the same name launching now.

The juice is a smooth banana split milkshake blend, described as having “oceans of cream mixed with light bananas, strawberries and a hint of chocolate drizzle on top.”

LeBlanc credits his brother, Troy, with turning him on to vaping in 2013. “He had been selling vaping products online and decided he wanted to open a shop,” LeBlanc said. “We got together and opened up a 1,000-square-foot store. It was the first of five that we operate now in Kentucky and Indiana.” He said they hope to have eight Derb E Cigs shops open within the year.

Being a shop owner in Indiana has created serious difficulty in recent years, but LeBlanc, through Derb E Cigs and Dark Market Vape Co. (which is the parent company for Split) are leading the fight against Indiana’s controversial new vaping law.

“We’ve pumped a ton of money into this and managed to get Vapor Shark and others on board in the fight,” he said. “We also require all of our vendors to give to the project as well.”

Some have done it in a percentage of profits he said, others in a flat donation — but everyone is on board.

“If they want their products sold in Indiana, they have to get involved,” he said.

It’s the same philosophy he takes to the poker table — put your money where you mouth is.