More Than Just a Game of Skill, Poker Can Lead to Second Chances
While heads up play of the Epic Poker League’s inaugural event at the Palms Casino in Las Vegas stretched into the early morning hours a few weeks ago, the last two competitors still in play for the coveted $1,000,000 first place finish had contrasting stories. Erik Seidel’s career as a professional poker player has stood the test of time. A veteran of the tables, Seidel has enjoyed a very successful 2011 year. However, no story that night could outweigh or overshadow the other player still standing: David “Chino” Rheem. After news had broken out about Rheem’s outstanding debt to fellow players and backers just 48 hours earlier, it was the only story that remained swirling on the event floor.
So there it was; the battle of a player surrounded by controversy versus a player who would seem to be the perfect first champion to crown at the league’s inaugural event. It was all to be decided by nine cards. With fewer chips, Seidel announced an “all in” move with his seemingly strong Ace-Queen hole cards, yet he was met with Rheem’s stronger Ace-King hole cards. As the five community cards were turned over, Seidel’s hand did not improve and the championship was awarded to Rheem.
Instantly giving recognition to the present situation, Rheem took the opportunity at the on-site awards ceremony to say, “I’m proud to be the first Epic Poker League Main Event Champion. This league is setting a new standard for poker players and I’m committed to using this win as an opportunity for a fresh start.” It’s hard to believe that a player with a total lifetime earning of over $4.7 million would need a “fresh start” but that was the case. However the situation happened there was enough confirmation from others that validated Rheem’s outstanding debts.Continued on the next page