There are hundreds of satellite seats to the WSOP given away each year via online poker site promotions, and with the initiation of WSOP.com online poker, where better to earn your free spot to play in the biggest live poker series in the world? Satellite seats are awarded to multiple events throughout the series, including the main event, but also to the 2014 WSOP National Championship, an event that often goes unnoticed by many because it is played in Atlantic City on the boardwalk in an effort to celebrate the season’s best WSOP Circuit players. This year was the fourth year that this honorary event has taken place, but because it is carried out on the other side of the country and finished before the Las Vegas events ever begin, most people are unaware of its existence, though it is a bracelet event.
Not quite as lucky as Chris Moneymaker, but riding on his coattails, Tracy Doss was one such recipient of an online satellite seat that allowed him to play in the National Championship event this year. While he did win his seat online at WSOP.com, though he didn’t cash first or win the main event, he did make the final table, lasting to fifth place before exiting with an $86K stack of cash.
It was quite an honor for this Columbus, Ohio native to even make the final table of such an event considering the field of players he was up against, but Doss was understandably dissatisfied. “Honestly, I was really disappointed in my finish. If I’d have won that flip, I really think I could have won the tournament,” he explained.
Interestingly enough, it was Chris Moneymaker who inspired Doss to play online poker and led him to win that satellite seat 11 years after Moneymaker’s rags to riches story. “I’m a product of the Moneymaker effect. I watched him win the Main Event in 2003, and immediately went out and bought a computer.”
But Doss’s most recent satellite seat is actually not his first. In 2004, he turned a $200 buy-in into a WSOP Main Event entry, which only took him to Day 2 that year, but was enough to convince him that professional poker could be a possible career for him, so he relocated to Las Vegas in 2005 with a dream of making it big in poker.
He says of his initial experiences, “I played a mix of live and online poker, and I got pounded into oblivious. I made some final tables and made a little money, but I couldn’t sustain a life as a pro.”
Deciding to move again, Doss took a job with his brother and moved his family to Portland, Oregon. But nine to five just wasn’t his bag, and he continued to lack fulfillment. Eventually, his wife suggested he try poker again, and they returned to Vegas earlier this year. His luck seemed to be holding out because he was playing good poker. With a boost of confidence, he continued to succeed and ultimately found himself in Atlantic City, where he says he “wasn’t nervous at all.”
After his fifth-place cashout, he said, “I wanted that bracelet. I wanted to win,” which just adds fuel to his motivational fire. He says, “I’m going to play tons of satellites, and I have July 5th marked off on my calendar to play the 25 Seat Scramble.”
In addition to living his dream of playing poker professionally and full-time, he has another pan in the fire, High Roller Pizza, which will open this summer on the south end of the Strip. “It may not be a gold bracelet, but it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time,” referring to his dream of opening a free-range, organic pizzeria.
Doss dreams big, but that’s what it takes to win big and succeed. It seems like the cards are stacked in his favor, and he will undoubtedly become a pro poker force one of these days, and with his enthusiasm and drive, it’s likely to happen sooner than later.
And such is the beauty of poker dreams. Becoming a professional athlete for a majority of the world is out of the question due to lack of skill or lack of youth, and most dream professions require years of schooling and unobtainable amounts of money, but becoming a professional poker player is a possibility for anyone who has the skills and the aspiration, whether young or old, rich or poor. It’s just another facet of poker that sets it apart from all other careers.
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