Poker’s moment of truth: the WSOP main event



I’m writing this article in my hotel at Vdara in City Center the night before Day 1A of the World Series of Poker Main Event at the Rio. This will be short and sweet. My fate is sealed. I already won. I put myself in a position to have it all. I’m playing the main event this summer and I have the chance to live the life people can only imagine.

You see it’s all related; I didn’t play in the pit; I didn’t do drugs; I didn’t go on tilt during the journey and in reward I am given an opportunity. It’s the product of the countless hours grinding the small stakes and moving up, the countless hours wandering the forums learning, the countless hours spent reading and sharpening my game. It’s a chance to have it all: money, fame, power.

That’s all you need to do in poker and in life. No matter the outcome, you still win if you get it in good. I started playing poker professionally as a brash young kid who was talented but broke wandering Atlantic City. Through meeting hundreds of people in the poker world, I came out the other side a man. I’ve seen it all, success, failure, degeneracy. I’ve seen the good side of poker and the bad side. I’ve seen bad people win tournaments and good people run bad. I’ve seen money, time and opportunities squandered.

Having seen millions won and lost, I have some advice for the readers. Put yourself in a position to win. If you have a dream, go for it. That’s all you have to do. Everyone knows aces get cracked and you get unlucky from time to time, but if you put yourself in the position to have it all then you have succeeded. Thousands of players won’t even have a shot. Hundreds will be hung over. Hundreds will be tilted. Hundreds will be hungry or full. Hundreds will be distracted. I will be ready. And so should you.

— Mike Wolf is a team pro at Email him at and follow his adventures on Twitter @mikewolf7.

Ante Up Magazine

Ante Up Magazine