Texas has a rich tradition of providing winners at the World Series of Poker, and this year is no exception.
Doyle Brunson made a name for himself around the World Series of Poker tables in the seventies and is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. He retired from poker at the age of 85, but that hasn’t meant Texas has dropped off the poker map. Whilst our city is proud of household names such as the Dallas Cowboys and the Texas Rangers, we can now add the name Long Ma to our list of sporting achievers after his recent World Series of Poker win.
The 2021 World Series of Poker is currently taking place in Las Vegas, and Poker.org explains how it will attract tens of thousands of the world’s best players to the Rio Convention Center, where they’ll be looking to come away with a big prize. Whilst Long Ma hasn’t won the main event; he has flown the flag for Dallas at the world’s premier poker event.
The Dallas native has been playing poker for around 12 years. As Reviewjournal.com reports, he’s just walked away with $513,604 after winning the $500 The Reunion No-Limit Hold’em, event number four in the prestigious two-month poker bonanza. Ma’s previous big win came in 2018 when he won over $60,000 across three days in the Daily Deepstack events.
Despite his lack of early success, he’s delighted with his win.
“When I first started, I lost a lot of money on gambling. But then I won a tournament with 400 people, and I started doing a bit better. But recently not too good,” he admitted. That is an understatement; he’s not cashed for two months and hasn’t turned professional as he only competes in tournaments.
The win won’t make him give up his permanent profession as an operation and program manager for an electronic company. Still, he might give a couple more events a go further into the current World Series of Poker.
The magnitude of Ma’s win should not be understated. The event drew a field of 12,973 competitors, creating a prize pool of more than $5.4m. Spanning three days, the field was slowly whittled down, not least by a mammoth 17-hour day two. On the final day, Ma barely blinked for the win. It lasted a mere one hour, earning him not only a huge prize fund but the coveted WSOP bracelet, his first on tour.
Ma’s final hand was a nerve-wracking one. He found himself nursing an ace and a seven, whilst his opponent, Giuliano Lentini, had a queen and a jack. Lentini opened with a small blind, but Ma snap-called, a brave move, and the flop was kind to him. With a three, four, two fives, and a king, he won with an ace-high, leaving Lentini to console himself with $317,352. Still, not a bad day’s work.
All eyes remain on Vegas, where the main event is set to net one lucky player more than $7m. Born in Fisher County, Brunson won back-to-back events in 1976 and 1977, having originally been considered for a career in the NBA. Instead, he found poker and lived in Fort Worth before relocating to Las Vegas to pursue his career. He flew the flag for our state proudly, winning ten bracelets in total and finishing in the money 37 times.
Long Ma might be nine bracelets and many dollars short of that, but it is nice to have a World Series of Poker bracelet making its way back to Dallas. Who knows, it might be the first of many.
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