Where Are They Now: WPT Season 1 Stars Ron Rose & Chris Bigler
The early years of the World Poker Tour have been credited with making superstars out of numerous poker players including Antonio Esfandiari, Gus Hansen and David “Devilfish” Ulliott. While at a local World Series of Poker Circuit stop, the PokerNews Live Reporting Team discovered two players who had also made their names on the WPT way back in Season I of the WPT — Ron Rose and Chris Bigler.
Rose won the World Poker Challenge in Reno in 2003 for $168,298, and Bigler made two WPT final-table appearances and two Professional Poker Tour (PPT) final tables in subsequent years. Coincidentally, one of those PPT final tables included Rose, who finished in third place right behind Bigler.
2004 Professional Poker Tour World Poker Finals
Aside from his PPT final tables, Bigler is quite well known for finishing runner-up to Paul Darden in the WPT Season I 49’er Gold Rush Bonanza. That final table also included a slew of notables including Tommy Garza (6th - $21,000), Vince Burgio (5th - $26,000), Phil Hellmuth (4th - $34,000) and Esfandiari (3rd - $44,000).
Bigler politely declined an interview, but was kind enough to inform us that he has been staying busy. Originally from Switzerland, Bigler relocated to Nevada and has been exploring the United States in recent years. Along with his wife, Marianne, Bigler has been crisscrossing the country in his RV and documenting his experiences in a blog aptly titled Chris’ Trip from the West Coast to the East Coast.
Bigler also informed us that he had experienced some health issues that took his attention away from game, though he is now making a return and looking forward to finding even more success in poker. Apparently, that didn’t take too long as Bigler recently tweeted:
Won 300$ buyin at the Isle in Florida last night - 3way chop - I first for 10K, others for 9.5K each - nice comeback— Chris Bigler (@biglerchris)
Chris Bigler Tournament Highlights
|January 18, 1999||Carnivale of Poker II||1st||$58217|
|May 31, 2002||WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic||5th||$62,604|
|November 10, 2002||WPT Gold Rush Bonanza||2nd||$88,000|
|November 9, 2004||PPT World Poker Finals||2nd||$100,000|
|February 25, 2005||PPT L.A. Poker Classic||2nd||$100,000|
Like Bigler, Rose had experienced health concerns in recent years, but has returned to the game that he loves so much. Rose, who wrote the book Poker Aces in 2004, won a WPT event before going on to win the World Poker Tour Battle of Champions, defeating the likes of Gus Hansen (6th - $10,000), Chris Karagulleyan (5th - $15,000), Juha Helppi (4th - $20,000), Howard Lederer (3rd - $30,000) and Jose Rosenkrantz (2nd - $50,000) on his way to capturing the $125,000 first-place prize.
Ron Rose Tournament Highlights
|November 14, 2002||WPT World Poker Finals $10,000 Main Event||6th||$44,500|
|March 31, 2003||WPT World Poker Challenge $5,000 Main Event||1st||$168,298|
|May 4, 2003||WSOP $1,000 Seniors Event||1st||$130,060|
|December 19, 2003||WPT Battle of Champions Invitational||1st||$125,000|
|November 9, 2004||Professional Poker Tour||3rd||$60,000|
|July 12, 2006||WSOP $1,000 Seniors Event||6th||$37,710|
Rose was gracious enough to sit down with PokerNews for a brief interview.
What have you been up to since your success on the WPT?
I’ve had some medical problems. I had open-heart surgery, I’ve had two strokes and I recuperated fairly well since then. I spent three to four years abroad resting and recuperating after the strokes. Recently I’ve been teaching over the Internet and Skype to some people in Italy, Malta, and the U.S. I’ve been enjoying it.
I have a student in the tournament here [at Harrah’s Tunica]. I was working with him, trying to get him along. He’s very enthusiastic, very intelligent and I’m trying to teach him the finer points of tournament play versus cash play. He’s a very successful cash player. That’s pretty much what I’ve been up to.
Have you been playing a lot of poker over the years?
I played in an event last year, we went and played in Dublin, Ireland. We played there, Slovenia and Switzerland, so in matter of a month I played in three tournaments just last year.
Do you plan on playing more in the future?
I’m sort of taking it up as it goes. I don’t really have anything planned as far as doing this or doing that.
What was it like winning the WPT’s Battle of Champions against some pretty tough players?
I thought that was the biggest win that I had. I was satisfied and I said on TV that if I win this tournament, I’d probably quit playing poker because I’d basically done everything I started out to do. My goal was to see if I was as good as the pros in playing poker, so I thought if I beat everybody then I think I’m as good as them, so I don’t have anything else to prove.
Can you tell us a little bit about your poker book?
I wrote a book called Poker Aces: The Stars of Tournament Poker. I had about 85 people, all-stars of poker at the time, representing 25 countries if I recall and it’s a coffee-table book. It was well received and I sold every copy. I enjoyed writing it, distributing it and everything else like that.
Do you think the stars of the games have changed in the last decade?
Yeah, there’s been a big change. The young kids watching TV think they can play wild and loose and that’s the way you win by playing that way. Personally I don’t share those ideas. I play percentages, I’m a math person. I have a math degree, was a mathematician in the Air Force, so that’s the way I try to play.
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Executive Editor US, PokerNews Podcast co-host & 2013 WSOP Bracelet Winner.
In this Series
- 1 Where Are They Now?: The 2003 WSOP Main Event Final Table
- 2 Where Are They Now?: The 1989 WSOP Main Event Final Table
- 3 Where Are They Now?: The 2002 WSOP Main Event Final Table
- 4 Where Are They Now: 2007 World Series of Poker Main Event Final Tablist, Phillip Hilm
- 5 Where Are They Now: 2006 World Series of Poker Main Event Final Tablist, Rhett Butler
- 6 Where Are They Now: 2003 WSOP Main Event Final Tablist, Tomer Benvenisti
- 7 Where Are They Now: 2005 WSOP Main Event Final Tablist, Steve Dannenmann
- 8 Where Are They Now: 2009 WSOP Main Event Final Tablist, Kevin Schaffel
- 9 Where Are They Now: 2006 WSOP Main Event Final Tablist, Dan Nassif
- 10 Where Are They Now: 2005 WSOP Main Event Final Tablist, Aaron Kanter
- 11 Where Are They Now: 2007 PCA Champion, Ryan Daut
- 12 Where Are They Now: 2003 Aussie Millions Champion Peter Costa
- 13 Where Are They Now: 2007 World Series of Poker Main Event Final Tablist, Raymond Rahme
- 14 Where Are They Now: Eric Crain
- 15 Where Are They Now: WPT Season 1 Stars Ron Rose & Chris Bigler
- 16 Where Are They Now: WPT Season V Borgata Poker Open Champ Mark Newhouse
- 17 Where Are They Now: WPT Season II Borgata Poker Open Champ Noli Francisco
- 18 Where Are They Now: WPT Season IX Foxwoods Poker Finals Champion Jeff Forrest
- 19 Where Are They Now: Adam Friedman
- 20 Off The Felt With Nadya Magnus: Where Are They Now?
- 21 Where Are They Now: Don Zewin, the Man Who Finished Third to Hellmuth & Chan in 1989
- 22 Where Are They Now: 1981 World Series of Poker Main Event Runner-Up Perry Green
- 23 Where Are They Now: 2007 World Series of Poker Main Event Finalist Lee Childs
- 24 Where Are They Now: 2008 World Series of Poker Main Event Bad Beat Victim Paul Snead
- 25 Where Are They Now: 2007 World Series of Poker Player of the Year Tom Schneider
- 26 Where Are They Now? Harrah's New Orleans Poker Dealer Darrell Guillory
- 27 Where Are They Now: Former Team PokerStars Pro Pat Pezzin
- 28 Where Are They Now: 2007 WSOP Main Event Fifth-Place Finisher Jon Kalmar
- 29 Where Are They Now: The Nine Past EPT Barcelona Champions
- 30 Where Are They Now: EPT Season 1 Barcelona Champ Alexander Stevic
- 31 Where Are They Now: 2006 WSOP Main Event 12th-Place Finisher John Magill
- 32 Where Are They Now: The Past Nine EPT London Champions
- 33 Where Are They Now: EPT6 London Champ Aaron Gustavson
- 34 Where Are They Now: EPT4 Baden Champ Julian Thew
- 35 Where Are They Now: Past EPT Prague Champions
- 36 Where Are They Now: 2011 WSOP Main Event Champ Pius Heinz
- 37 Where Are They Now: 2007 World Series of Poker Runner-Up Tuan Lam
- 38 Where Are They Now: Stan Schrier Reflects on Historic 2001 WSOP Final Table
- 39 Where Are They Now: Bracelet Winner Matt Hawrilenko Temporarily Comes Out of "Retirement"
- 40 Where Are They Now: Battling Multiple Sclerosis, Paul Darden Returns to WSOP Felt
- 41 Where Are They Now? Mike Gracz Returns To Poker After Three Years To Lead Event #31
- 42 Where Are They Now: 2004 Poker Boom Breakout Gabriel Thaler
- 43 Where Are They Now: "Minneapolis" Jim Meehan Pretty Much Out of Poker
- 44 Where Are They Now: Poker's Good Guy, a Survivor, and a Rogue
- 45 Where Are They Now: 2006 WSOP Stud Dmitri Nobles
- 46 Where Are They Now: Esther Rossi’s 7-Card Stud Journey
- 47 Where Are They Now: 2007 WSOP & WPT Champ Bill Edler
- 48 Where Are They Now: Fabian Quoss Announces His Exit from Poker
- 49 Where Are They Now: Jon Aguiar Fondly Remembers Tilting Brandon Cantu
- 50 Where Are They Now: Family & Business First for Adrienne “TalonChick” Rowsome
- 51 Where Are They Now: Xuan Liu Swaps Poker Passion for eSports
- 52 Where Are They Now: Alan Boston Offended to Return to WSOP After Long Hiatus
- 53 Where Are They Now: An 'The Boss' Tran Fighting Curse from Selling Bracelet
- 54 Where Are They Now: 1996 WSOP Chinese Poker Bracelet Winner Gregg Grivas
- 55 Where Are They Now: Ali Eslami Returns to WSOP After Five-Year Hiatus
- 56 Where Are They Now: Former EPT Champ Sander Lylloff Competing in Biggest Backgammon Duel in History
- 57 Where Are They Now: Dustin Woolf Back in Poker But Not as Player