Back in the day, Garry Gates was grinding poker in the low-limit cash game trenches in Las Vegas, trying to convert his passion for poker into something sustainable. He admitted it was harder than it seemed, but kept at it until he met someone who would change the trajectory of his life.
According to a post written by Gates on the PokerStars blog, he met a man named Gary Wise in Las Vegas - a feature poker writer for ESPN. That got him into the door of poker media and he ran the PokerNews live reporting team that covered the World Series of Poker back in 2008, the same media company now covering his deep Main Event run.
More than ten years back, Gates took a job as a consultant for the PokerStars Live Events team, which then led to Senior Consultant of Player Affairs for PokerStars Live, the position he still holds. All of his experience in the poker world has led to this moment — everyone in the industry rallying behind a man who has given so much to the poker community through his work.
I'm not a big believer in karma but my god after so many years of putting up with every single high roller diva in… https://t.co/FTVpnjV3gf— Mike McDonald (@MikeMcDonald89)
Gates doesn't play much, but the $10,000 WSOP Main Event is something he fires almost every year. This marks his fourth cash in the Main Event, with his deepest run before this coming in 2011 where he finished in 173rd place for $47,107.
This week, all hearts and good vibes are behind Gates as he sits on the other side of the felt, eyeing the $10 million first-place prize and a shot at the 50th annual WSOP Main Event bracelet. The rail behind Gates in the 'mothership' in Amazon is completely full, with bellowing cheers coming every time Gates ships a pot.
"Garry Gates is one of the most incredible, loving, loyal people that we've ever known and he has done so much for other people in poker, so to watch him do this and make history is just incredible," said Kristy Arnett from Gates' rail. "You can tell how much he has done for people in poker by the support he's gotten."
Andrew Moreno also weighed in, talking about Gates' character and heart when it comes to poker. "He's an extremely powerful, motivated individual. While he's not a professional - he's a recreational player - I'm not surprised in the least to see him here, because he believes in himself."
Moreno continued: "To me, you can look at someone's rail and it says a lot about who you are in the world. It's no surprise to me that we can barely hold all of his friends here."
How He Got Here
|Day||End-of-Day Chip Count||Rank|
On Day 6, Gates found himself all in for his tournament life during Level 31: 125,000-250,000 with a 250,000 big blind ante. According to the live reporting on PokerNews.com, Robert Heidorn raised to 550,000 from middle position and Gates three-bet to 2,100,000 from the big blind. Heidorn thought for a moment before deciding to move all in. Gates called for his stack worth 11,350,000 after tanking for about a minute.
Gates tabled , needing to improve against Heidorn's . It was looking grim for Gates, but the board ran out to pair his ace on the river and give him a huge double to stay alive.
On Day 7, Gates found himself on the other side of the aforementioned showdown in another pivotal pot. During Level 34: 250,000-500,000 with a 500,000 big blind ante, Gates raised to 1,200,000 from the hijack. Hossein Ensan three-bet to 3,750,000 from the small blind and then Gates four-bet to 10,000,000. Ensan five-bet an amount that covered Gates' 23,500,000 stack and Gates called with pocket kings as Ensan tabled ace-king.
The board ran out and Gates held for yet another huge double. This propelled Gates into the top five stacks, putting him in prime position to make the final table.
What to Watch For
Gates has been working in the industry for over 10 years, with playing experience that extends well beyond that. He has around $250,000 in live earnings, so Gates is no stranger to playing under pressure. On top of this, Gates' rail is full of some of the best players in the world, so expect some solid play and a very deep run in this Main Event.
His relaxed demeanor and massive rail is going to make all of the difference in this tournament. With the entire industry behind him, he'll be tough to beat.