There was a time when the mere mention of the words Las Vegas brought out mental images of bleary eyed tourist traipsing through desert heat that would bring a desert Bedouin to his knees in search of their dream payout. Most of these dreamers, of course, only end up helping casino operators pay their light bills, but a select few accomplish their goals and more by becoming millionaires from poker. This article lists only a few from the proverbial winnings iceberg.
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Originally from Lebanon, Hachen’s family moved to Australia where he grew up to eventually become a chiropractor. Despite being in the profession he loved, he had to retire after he was diagnosed with a rare blood illness He then became a mortgage banker to support his family. But that didn’t last long before he and a group of family and friends flew to Las Vegas and he eventually became the 2005 WSOP champion. Since then he has embraced the celebrity status that comes with wearing the bracelet and he still plays in tournaments around the world.
Wacky sunglasses aside, Raymer has attracted a lot of attention with his meteoric rise in the world of poker. Raymer grew up an Air Force “brat,” attended school to study biochemistry and then studied law.
He started his foray into the gaming world by learning to count cards and supplement his income playing blackjack in Indian casinos, but was soon playing poker. By 2005 he had taken home the bracelet from the World Series of Poker. Unlike many players, Raymer didn’t come to the poker world from out of the shadows. Instead, he took third place in the 2000 WSOP and eventually honed his skills to take the top slot.
Nicknamed “The Orient Express,” Chan is probably the most feared person in the world of poker. He has earned nine WSOP bracelets, even winning back to back tournaments in 1987 and 1988.
Chan was born in China, but came to the United States when he was a young boy. His family ran restaurants in Texas and Arizona, where he worked. After a time, however, he went to Las Vegas on the money he earned and eventually he started his poker career.
Chan is known as an astute player as well as a very nice guy. If you want to find him, he’s easy to located in a poker room. He’s the one with a “lucky orange” at the table with him, a leftover lucky charm from the days before poker rooms went smoke free. He used an orange in an attempt to freshen his space.
A native Texan, Brunson was born during the Depression and developed an early talent for athletics, especially track, and excelled in the one-mile event while in college. Professional basketball teams started courting him to join them when a nasty knee injury ended his career hopes. Instead, enrolled in a master’s degree course and also started playing poker in order to fill the competitive void in his life.
He soon discovered that he could make more money playing poker than he ever could doing a nine to five job, so he quit school and never looked back. Brunson currently owns nine WSOP bracelets. Not bad for a down on his luck athlete.
Phil was a student at the University of Wisconsin until he left to pursue a career in poker, Hellmuth’s father, a professor, freaked when he heard of his son’s career path, but quickly warmed to the idea when he won the 1989 WSOP tournament. Since then, Hellmuth has racked up winnings at tournaments around the world.
About 10 years ago, this young Tennessee accountant put down $ 39 to enter an online poker tournament, upsetting everyone else and parlaying his entry into a $ 2.5 million payday, as well as creating a phenomenon called the “Moneymaker Effect.” This effect, which refers to the sudden interest in poker after his win in the 2003 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.
Ivey is an oddity among high-level poker players, being African-American. Born in Riverside, California, Ivey’s family moved to New Jersey when he was a child, eventually going to work in a telemarketing firm, where he started playing poker with his co-workers. Soon, with a fake ID, he started playing in tournaments in Atlantic City, where he has earned millions in the years since.
Even though winning and losing in any game; weather poker or baseball depends on passion and practice, it also depends on how things take a turn in a person’s life and change the direction of his fate. Will it be just a matter of time before you join this list of distinguished players who have added the title “millionaire” to their names?
Melissa Ryan is a blogger with Sycuan Casino, one of the largest san diego casinos. With everything from 2,000 slot machines to poker, Sycuan is a great local casino if you’re living in or visiting Southern California.
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