Making a living as a professional poker player can be accomplished in many ways, including grinding out a solid win-rate in what many would consider to be smaller games. One such big fish in a small pond is Connor Berkowitz, but he now has the bankroll to move up in stakes after taking down the penultimate event of the 2015 World Series of Poker.
Berkowitz won Event #66: $777 “Lucky 7s” No-Limit Hold'em, the first such event the WSOP has ever held. He won $487,784 for topping the 4,422-player field, not to mention the gold bracelet.
It isn't Berkowitz's first time scoring five figures or more, but you wouldn't know that looking at his poker stats. That's because Berkowitz makes a living playing online tournaments in his home state of New Jersey, where he can play legally with fellow residents.
Berkowitz hopes the market continues to grow and legislation continues to advance – he mentioned combining player pools with other states like Nevada – because “there's not that much money out there.”
The final table for the event included Matt Matros, who finished eighth, and Faraz Jaka, who was denied his first bracelet with a fifth-place finish. Berkowitz proved to be Jaka's downfall as he shoved for 1.5 million over a Jaka open for 260,000 and doubled when he hit a three-outer with the against Jaka's . A bit later, Berkowitz finished Jaka off with the against as neither player found any improvement on the board.
Berkowitz then continued to run hot, busting Jeffrey Dobrin with when Dobrin picked up . That gave Berkowitz half the chips in play three-handed and he made it a full four eliminations in a row by taking out David Yu in third and John Armbrust in second.
The huge score means Berkowitz can continue his newly-chosen profession by hopping in the Main Event, which still has Day 1c on Tuesday, which Berkowitz is now considering playing. He had a short-lived career as a banker after majoring in business but decided that wasn't the life for him and switched to the game he's been playing with friends since he was 12 years old.
Now, he has a life-changing score to show for it.
“It really is a dream come true,” he said. “It's everybody's dream, but for it to actually happen is insane.”
Final Table Results
|1||Connor Berkowitz||Manalapan, NJ||$487,784|
|2||John Armbrust||Austin, TX||$301,615|
|3||David Yu||Foster City, CA||$217,173|
|4||Jeffrey Dobrin||Las Vegas, NV||$160,496|
|5||Faraz Jaka||San Jose, CA||$119,606|
|6||John Gallaher||Lebanaon, TN||$89,890|
|7||John Zimmerman||Las Vegas, NV||$68,098|
|8||Matt Matros||Brooklyn, NY||$52,033|
|9||Massimo Mosele||Torino, Italy||$40,085|