Poker Can Change Your Life: 4 Inspirational Rags to Riches Stories
Poker is a game that attracts people from all parts of the world. The rich, the poor, the relaxed, then enthusiastic, and so on. Poker offers excitement, challenge, and the chance to transform your life into a better one.
It's good to be reminded once in a while that some of the most successful people came from nothing. There's no excuse not to give poker your best shot and see what can come of it. Who knows? You might be the next rags to riches story.
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For now, lets look at some of the most amazing rags to riches stories in the world of professional poker.
1. Tom Dwan ("durrr")
Tom Dwan was one of the first players from the online era to break out. His poker career began on Paradise Poker back in 2004. When he was 17, he made a massive $50 deposit to play sit-n-go tournaments. He had moderate success in these at first, but eventually transitioned into short-handed and heads-up cash games.
It took Dwan about 4 years of intense study and play to become one of the best high stakes online players in the world. He is perhaps best known for the Durrr Challenge, where he challenged anyone to play him 50,000 hands. Only 2 players ever took him up on the challenge, but neither have been completed.
Let Dwan be a lesson that unconventional can work. When he first started rising through the levels, people said he was too loose and too aggressive to profit, but he showed them wrong.
2. Jerry Yang
Jerry Yang has had a roller coaster of a life and poker career. He's originally from Laos, but became a refugee when he left for Thailand, and then moved to America.
Yang isn't known as an incredible player, but seems to be an incredibly nice guy, even though his outspoken prayers at the table often rub players the wrong way.
His first and only big tournament win was the 2007 Main Event at the World Series of Poker for over $8 million. He was only able to get into that tournament from winning a $225 satellite. Since then he's made a few cashes, but no major tournament wins.
But wait, the story doesn't end there...
In 2013, the IRS held an auction of Yang's possessions in order to pay for some sort of tax debt, suggesting that the world champion had gone broke. This is a very important lesson that just because you start winning, it doesn't mean you will be rich for very long unless you are prepared to manage your money smartly.
Since then he has said that he might not be rich, but he's not broke either. He owns a restaurant that was only possible due to his winnings, proving that he definitely did not squander all of the prize money.
3. Daniel Negreanu ("Kid Poker")
Negreanu should be a role model for all new poker players. Not only did he go from the bottom to the top of the poker world, he has sustained that success for decades, and is one of the few professionals without any scandals surrounding him.
His parents were Romanian immigrants that moved to Toronto, where Negreanu was born. He worked his way up through live games and tournaments to eventually become a professional player.
He's continuously been one of the top players for the last decade, accumulating 6 WSOP bracelets and 2 WPT bracelets.
The most impressive aspect of Daniel's success is that he noticed for a short time that he was having trouble adapting to online poker, like many live players did. He admitted his game wasn't up to par and buckled down to re-establish his status of being a top player. That lack of ego is the key to sustained success in an ever-changing environment like poker.
4. Daniel Cates ("jungleman12")
Cates is the classic example of perseverance. Cates is a heads-up cash specialist, who loves taking on the best players.
He began like many, playing micro stakes online. He struggled like any new player, but decided to invest in learning and began playing only the best players at each level. This intense strategy led to rapid improvement, and Cates went from 50NL to 5,000NL in just 2 years.
During this time he had his fair share of obstacles, and often had to move back down to rebuild his bankroll. Eventually though, he became one of the best heads-up no-limit hold'em players in the world. He was one of the players to accept the Durrr challenge, and is currently ahead by about $1.5 million.
While Cates is definitely a cash specialist, he's also had considerable success in live tournaments. He's won over $3 million so far, which is likely to increase in the future.
These 4 rags to riches stories illustrate that there is no single path to success. Play, learn, and work hard, and you'll find your own path. Just make sure that when you do find success, that you learn from the lessons of others and prepare yourself.