Silicon Valley's Chamath Palihapitiya Returns to the WSOP After a Decade
For many part-time players, the World Series of Poker (WSOP) is a chance to get away from work and spend some time in Las Vegas playing poker and chasing a bracelet.
One of those part-time bracelet hopefuls is venture capitalist and longtime poker player Chamath Palihapitiya, an early Facebook executive and the founder and CEO of the investment firm Social Capital. After more than a decade off of the WSOP felt, the billionaire returned to the World Series to take his shot at winning a bracelet in Event #29: $100,000 High Roller.
PokerNews caught up with Palihapitiya earlier in the series as he battled in a Day 1 field that included Chance Kornuth, Alex Foxen, Chris Brewer plenty more of the world's top high-roller players.
Bookmark this page! All you need to know about the 2023 WSOP is here.
"This Is Such a Treat"
Before he was a major Silicon Valley figure with a ten-figure net worth, Palihapitiya was a 24-year-old in the year 2000 looking for a new card game to play with his boss.
"I learned to play Bridge first, and he was a great Bridge player," Palihapitiya told PokerNews. "And we loved it, and we were competing, but then we'd get into these situations where all of these like 70-year-old grandmas were cheating in how they bid, and we just got sick of it. And I said, 'Look, teach me any other card game.' And he's like, 'Well, do you know how to play poker?' So he taught me how to play and kind of the rest is history. I've been hooked ever since."
Since getting into the game, Palihapitiya has been a high-stakes cash game regular. He's played in $2,000/$4,000 games at ARIA and even played on PokerGO's Poker After Dark in 2021. He's also close friends with fellow Palo Alto, California resident Phil Hellmuth, who in 2017 gifted Palihapitiya his 13th bracelet (more recently, Hellmuth gave his 17th bracelet to entrepreneur David Sacks, Palihapitiya's co-host on the All-In Podcast).
Palihapitiya has also dipped his toes into poker tournaments, having racked up $182,653 in Hendon Mob earnings since his first cash in 2011. That year, Palihapitiya finished 15th in a $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em for $30,122 right before finishing just shy of the top 100 in the Main Event for $54,851.
At his second WSOP, Palihapitiya found another deep run as he finished 11th in a $5,000 NLH event for $53,728.
Now, more than a decade later, Palihapitiya is grateful for a chance to play another World Series.
"To be honest with you, this is such a treat because I have not played WSOP in a decade," he said. "It was 2011, maybe 2012 I played some tournaments. And then it was all cash. And I've been playing cash games consistently, so this is the first time that I could actually leave work and put everything aside and have everything taken care of where I could take a shot at this. It's wonderful to be back."
"Unfortunately, this is it. I'm going to play this, play some cash games and then go to Europe for the summer and back at it in the fall."
Palihapitiya's Latest Investment
In his day job as a venture capitalist, Palihapitiya is used to putting up hefty sums that he thinks will make for a profitable investment. On June 12, Palihapitiya forked up $100,000 not for a social media venture or finance company, but rather to play a poker tournament.
"It's a fantastic event but I underestimated how fast the blinds move; really it's like a turbo," said Palihapitiya. "It's crazy. It's super fast. I mean, tournaments and cash are so different. There's just a lot of movement that you can do in cash because you can re-buy, and here, technically, I guess we can re-buy once, but the play is very different. You just have to be really, frankly, splashy at the end of it just because it's moving so fast."
"I wasn't ready for sort of the kind of play and the thin value that people were showing down. And then by the time I geared into that, you know, you're short-stacked and then you just have to shove."
In the Paris Purple section, Palihapitiya sat leaning across the felt with his chair heightened to the maximum at a table that included all-time money leader Justin Bonomo and high-stakes crusher Sean Winter, who Palihapitiya tangled with after losing most of his starting stack of 600,000.
Winter raised from the cutoff and Palihapitiya defended out of the big blind. Both players checked on the 7♣6♥10♥ flop and Palihapitiya then led all in for 126,000 on the A♦ turn.
“You have an ace?” Palihapitiya asked as Winter folded.
“No sir. I would have given you action," replied Winter.
But Palihapitiya couldn't survive a second all-in confrontation against another crusher, recent Event #63: $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship runner-up Bryn Kenney.
After an open from Denmark's Henrik Hecklen during Level 11, Palihapitiya moved all in with A♦10♠ from the small blind only for Kenney to wake up with aces in the big blind. Palihapitiya flopped a gutshot to Broadway but couldn't get there to be eliminated by the controversial high-roller.
While Palihapitiya was unable to cash in the $100,000 High Roller, he did finish 81st in Event #32: $3,000 6-Handed No-Limit Hold’em for $6,852 to earn his fourth WSOP cash before heading back to Silicon Valley.
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In this Series
- 1 Here's the Full Schedule for 2023 World Series of Poker (WSOP); Win Main Event for Life!
- 2 Reigning Main Event Champion Espen Jorstad Eyes "Crazy Summer"; Plans to Play Full 2023 WSOP Schedule
- 3 6 Las Vegas Facts That Sound False But Are Actually True!
- 4 How to Decide Which WSOP Tournament(s) to Play
- 5 Registration for 2023 World Series of Poker (WSOP) is Now Open
- 6 How to Stay Healthy in Las Vegas During the WSOP
- 7 WSOP Main Event Champions 2015-17: McKeehen, Nguyen, Blumstein
- 8 PokerGO's 2023 WSOP Live-stream Schedule Covers Biggest Events and More
- 9 2023 Main Event Maynia Could Be Your Best Chance of Playing at the WSOP
- 10 A Look at the 2023 WSOP Online Bracelet Schedule – How to Deposit
- 11 Five Reasons Winning Poker Players Lose Money at the WSOP
- 12 Five Questions to Ask Yourself at Your First WSOP
- 13 Interview: Vice President Jack Effel Looks Ahead to 2023 WSOP
- 14 World Series of Poker Addresses Solver Concerns, Clarifies RTA Policy
- 15 Negreanu, Deeb Again Highest Valued WSOP $25K Fantasy Draft Picks
- 16 PokerNews Staff 2023 WSOP Predictions – Will Ivey Play? Hellmuth vs. Negreanu?
- 17 Let the Games Begin: 2023 World Series of Poker Officially Underway
- 18 WNBA Champion Kelsey Plum Kicks Off WSOP Mystery Millions
- 19 5 Poker Tax Facts to Remember Heading into the 2023 WSOP
- 20 Introducing The Chad & Jesse Poker Show; Two Episodes a Week During 2023 WSOP
- 21 PokerNews Podcast: Catching Up w/ WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart
- 22 Negreanu or Hellmuth — Who Will Have the Best 2023 WSOP?
- 23 Some of the Best Poker Players Who Haven't Won a WSOP Bracelet
- 24 Quads, Runner-Runner & Other Crazy Hands From the WSOP $25,000 High Roller
- 25 2023 WSOP Featured Females: Maria Konnikova & Kristen Foxen Making Runs
- 26 Phil Ivey, Doug Polk in Action at Epic WSOP $25k Heads-Up Tournament
- 27 Five Tournaments Fans Don't Want to Miss at the 2023 World Series of Poker
- 28 Five Reasons Winning Poker Players Lose Money at the WSOP
- 29 We Asked ChatGPT to Predict the WSOP $25K Heads Up Championship
- 30 Doug Polk Headlines the Final Four in WSOP $25K Heads Up Championship
- 31 Two $1,000,000 Prizes Pulled in WSOP Mystery Millions
- 32 Five Questions to Ask Yourself at Your First WSOP
- 33 Andrews Suffers Brutal Beat on $5K Freezeout Bubble; Hellmuth Deep in $600 Deepstack
- 34 The Two Failed Bluffs in One Week that Cost Doug Polk $700k
- 35 2023 Poker Hall of Fame Nominations Open; Rast, Scheinberg, Savage Frontrunners?
- 36 Badugi Primer - Get Ready for A Brand New WSOP Tournament
- 37 2023 Poker Hall of Fame Nominations Open; Rast, Scheinberg, Savage Frontrunners?
- 38 Estes Nabs Second WSOP MI Online Bracelet; Kershaw Victorious in First PA Event
- 39 Steve "Cuz" Buckner & Lon McEachern Recent Guests on The Chad & Jesse Poker Show
- 40 Is Today the Day Isaac Haxton Finally Wins His First WSOP Bracelet?
- 41 Hitting the Nuts: Man & Woman Discuss Infamous 2023 WSOP Low Blow
- 42 Sarah Herzali Comes Up Shy of Being First Female Bracelet Winner of 2023 WSOP
- 43 A Look Inside Phil Hellmuth's WSOP Break Room: How Does He Fit on that Couch?
- 44 Scotty Nguyen Recovering From Surgery, Will Miss First Half of WSOP
- 45 Man of the People: How Daniel Negreanu Bagged Top 4 Stack on $300 Gladiator Day 1a
- 46 PN Podcast: Poker Hall of Famer Jack McClelland Shares Stories About Doyle Brunson & Stu Ungar
- 47 Poker Player Spikes Quads on River to Escape WSOP $50K Bubble
- 48 2023 WSOP Hands of the Week: Polk's Miracle Two Outer; Accidental Exposure Saves Tull from Bubble
- 49 Phil Galfond Offers Poker Hall of Fame Pick; Says Two Should Be Inducted Per Year
- 50 Poker Boom 2.0? WSOP Attendance Crushing Last Year's Turnout
- 51 Stanley Cup Champs! Vegas Poker Community Reacts to Golden Knights' Win
- 52 Erik Seidel on Verge of Joining Poker's Most Exclusive Club: 10 WSOP Bracelets
- 53 WSOP Player of the Week: Josh Arieh Makes Poker Hall of Fame Case
- 54 Next Fedor? This German 22-Year-Old is Taking the 2023 WSOP by Sturm
- 55 Daniel Negreanu Quietly Having Success in Large Field Events at 2023 WSOP
- 56 Mike "BrockLesnar" Holtz Running Away with WSOP.com Player of the Year
- 57 Jennifer Harman Remembers Doyle: "He Was Like a Marshmallow Puppy Dog to Me"
- 58 Aces, Kings, Kings, and Queens - You Won't Believe this Epic 2023 WSOP Hand
- 59 Jason Koon's Stack Pulled from WSOP $250K Super High Roller as Wife Enters Labor
- 60 Meet The WSOP App Thrill Team
- 61 TripAdvisor’s Top 10 Things To Do In Las Vegas During The 2023 WSOP
- 62 Phil Ivey Bubbles the 2023 WSOP $250,000 Super High Roller
- 63 Unknown Poker Player in Town for Father's Day Randomly Enters WSOP $250K
- 64 2023 WSOP Hands of the Week: Negreanu Knows All The Angles, a Quads Counterfeit
- 65 Jungleman Attempts to Terminate PPC Field for 3rd Straight Year; Moneymaker Jumps In
- 66 Ivey Puts Life on Line in Level 5 of $50,000 PPC in Massive PLO Pot – Did He Win?
- 67 "Bucket List Event": Moneymaker Makes WSOP $50k Poker Players Championship Debut
- 68 Kabrhel Denies Cheating Allegations, Threatens to Sue Robl
- 69 King's Resort Has Big WSOP Plans For The Rest Of 2023
- 70 No 11th Bracelet As Johnny Chan Falls in 14th in WSOP $1,500 Big O
- 71 Win Your Way Into 2023 WSOP Main Event with 112 Seat Sprint on WSOP.com
- 72 The Muck: Should Poker Community Ban Martin Kabrhel?
- 73 Phil Ivey Closing in on 11th Bracelet; Rast Playing for the Poker Hall of Fame?
- 74 Horseshoe to Host Doyle Brunson Celebration of Life Memorial July 2
- 75 Familiar Faces Among 2023 Poker Hall of Fame Nominations
- 76 Negreanu Proposes Changes to the Poker Hall of Fame Induction Process
- 77 No-Limit Hold'em Crushers Driving WSOP $25K Fantasy Draft Top Team
- 78 2023 WSOP Featured Females: Women in Full Force in Tag Team Event
- 79 World Series of Poker 2023: Read Phil Ivey's Top WSOP Tips
- 80 Poker Hall of Famer Billy Baxter Eyes Up First Bracelet in 21 Years
- 81 Revealing the Hand: 5 Common Tells You Can Spot at the WSOP
- 82 2023 WSOP Hands of the Week: Royal Flush Over Quads; KK < KK & 4-of-a-Kind for Seidel
- 83 "Barstool Nate" Shares His Wild Adventure Getting to the 2023 WSOP One Month Late
- 84 Remembering Doyle Brunson's Final WSOP Cash in 2018, a Near Bracelet Win
- 85 2023 WSOP Featured Females: Who Will Win the Largest Ladies Event In Poker History?
- 86 Upcoming WSOP Circuit Schedule is Out; $1 Million Freeroll Returns
- 87 PN Podcast: GGPoker Ambassador Daniel Negreanu Talks 2023 WSOP & Poker Hall of Fame
- 88 The Smoking Petition: How Tom McEvoy Helped the WSOP Become Smoke Free
- 89 2023 WSOP Hands of the Week: Poker Player Learns Lesson for Premature Celebration
- 90 Hellmuth, Negreanu Pay Tribute to Doyle Brunson at 2023 WSOP
- 91 Silicon Valley's Chamath Palihapitiya Returns to the WSOP After a Decade
- 92 Admitted Poker Cheater Ali Imsirovic Enters WSOP $1,500 Shootout Event
- 93 Six-Time Bracelet Winner Brian Rast Voted Into Poker Hall of Fame
- 94 Lexy Gavin-Mather Is One of the 2023 WSOP's Most Prolific Vloggers
- 95 PN Podcast: Final Show from the 2023 WSOP w/ Guests Brian Rast & Phil Hellmuth
- 96 How Much Money Players at 2023 WSOP Main Event Final Table Really Made
- 97 Mike Holtz Nabs WSOP Cashes Record While Ian Matakis is POY
- 98 The Complete Overview of the 2023 NV/NJ WSOP Online Bracelet Events
- 99 Daniel Weinman Wins Record-Breaking 2023 WSOP Main Event for $12,100,000
- 100 Nicolai Morris & Elias Garney Win Final WSOP Online Bracelets in Michigan & Pennsylvania