Alaskan Gold Miner Among Latest To Qualify For WPT World Championship
As the $10,400 buy-in World Poker Tour (WPT) World Championship in Las Vegas draws closer, Alaska's Daniel Gilpin is hoping for another big Vegas score after qualifying into the $40 million guaranteed event on ClubWPT.
The retired gold miner will join other World Championship Passport winners like Chace McKamie and James Campbell at Wynn Las Vegas for a chance to win life-changing money and play with poker's biggest names and stars.
PokerNews caught up with Gilpin to talk about his previous poker success, discovering the game in Alaska and how he is excited to get out of the tundra and play poker in Las Vegas.
Read About ClubWPT Qualifier Chace McKamie!
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I've lived here in Nome, Alaska for a long time. I played poker mostly up here around town. Back in 2006, I won a trip here at the bar, took a trip to Vegas for three days and just took the airfare and hotel. I ended up playing a $100 satellite to the Ultimate Poker Challenge. Went on my way to the $650 tournament, and got 5th place (for $3,137), I was on TV that time.
And the next time I played Ultimate Challenge (in 2007), I got fifth place for $1,781. And then Tunica, Mississippi one time, I played a $500 World Series (of Poker) event. I got 9th place, I took that money to a $5,000 event and got three out of the damn money, almost made the money. But in that tournament, David "The Dragon" Pham tried to bluff me, I called his bluff and threw him out of the tournament.
(I got into poker through) a local game, these guys, I was watching, plus I was watching when Chris Moneymaker (won the 2003 WSOP Main Event).
And I started playing, (they) had a local game up there. I lost 50 bucks in the first three games. The fourth game I walked away with $1,350 off a $50 buy-in. People like to play poker up here. Some older people, they were teaching me a pot-limit game back then. Hi-lo split and stuff.
I'm kind of retired. I'm getting old ... I gold mine, I've been in the mining industry pretty much my whole life. I moved from, I grew up in Beaumont, California in 1987.
I was two weeks out of high school. I went to Red Dog (Mine), flew to Alaska and I've been here ever since working mining. I worked on the biggest open-pit zinc mine in the world when I was in high school.
How long have you been a member of ClubWPT and what inspired you to join in the first place?
I just seen the thing on TV about them giving trips. I wanna give it a try. I had a little bit of money I put in there, and I won the trip, but I haven't been playing right now because I ain't got no money to put in there.
Aside from maybe winning, what are you most looking forward to about your upcoming WPT stop?
Winning the package, getting the heck out of Nome, because I've been here for a hundred years without a time to get out of here. I'm out here in the middle of all the tundra. Being in the wintertime, it's too much. It's just about ready to start freezing around here.
All I want to do is go play poker. I've been to Vegas enough that I don't need to go check stuff out.
Are there any poker pros you would like to meet? If so, why would you like to meet them?
Any of them. I played with Kido Pham and David "The Dragon" Pham, Michael Mizrachi, in all those other tournaments. I think I played with Billy Baxter. I think that was him. I'm not sure. But any of them, I just like to play anybody. I don't care who it is, I'll play 'em.
Which friends and family will be joining you?
I have a friend that wants to come with me, but he's out 80 miles away ... and right now I have to get a hold of him. But my brother and my brother and sister-in-law are going to come up there, well, they're not going to stay with me, but they live in California, they're going to drive up there ... That's about it. I'm a boring guy.
*Images courtesy of Daniel Gilpin.