By Garrett Roth
The Internet has not only transformed the way poker is played, but it has changed the caliber of player excelling at the game. Ryan “gutshtallin” Welch is a perfect example of an Internet prodigy who has turned into a live professional.
Welch, who hails from Nashville, recently captured the most elusive prize in poker, a World Series of Poker bracelet. He took down Event No. 51 (no-limit hold’em $3,000 Triple Chance) for an amazing $560,000.
He started playing poker in 2004 with a high school friend who introduced him to Party Poker. He dabbled in sit-n-go tournaments and small events but was never really that interested in the game until he joined PokerXFactor, an online training site.
“I joined the site in 2008 and that’s what finally pushed me over the edge and gave me the poker bug,” Welch said. “It’s been a complete 180-degree change for me because I am now a PXF Pro instructor for multitable tournaments.”
Welch is one of the most admired, yet feared, players in the game today. He’s been on a tear the past few years online, having won a ridiculous amount of tournaments. Some of his career highlights include wins in the PokerStars Sunday Warm Up ($99K), Full Tilt $1K Monday ($80K), and a runner-up finish in the PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker (Event 20, $215,000). Over his short time playing, he has amassed more than $3 million in tournament earnings.
Many factors contribute to success in poker, including talent, patience and determination. These, however, aren’t the only aspects of a great player as Welch would say internal support systems are just as important. He explained how the support of his friends and family helped him win the coveted WSOP bracelet.
“Unfortunately, my family couldn’t make it to Vegas during my win, but they have always supported me 100 percent throughout my poker career,” he said. “It was awesome to have so many of my friends come support me throughout the last day of the tournament. Also, my wife Kristin is my No. 1 supporter and I’m very lucky to have a wife that understands poker and the ups and downs that go with it.”
Welch is building a home in Las Vegas where he can live out his dream as a poker professional. He plans on playing and teaching poker for as long as possible.
“I love the freedom that poker gives you,” he said, when asked about his future in poker, “I absolutely can’t think of anything else on Earth I would rather be doing. I know what it’s like to work a 9-to-5 job and there’s no way I’m going back to that!”