Cancer Survivor Qualifies for WPT World Championship In Las Vegas
Pennsylvania's Edward Thomas has been playing poker for 50 years, and later this year he will have his shot in the $40 million guaranteed World Poker Tour (WPT) World Championship. Thomas, a retired army intelligence officer and cancer survivor, is among the latest to win their way into the $10,400 buy-in tournament by winning a $12,500 WPT World Championship Passport on ClubWPT.
PokerNews caught up with Thomas to learn about his poker background and how he plans to get ready for one of the biggest tournaments of the year.
Read About ClubWPT Qualifier Daniel Gilpin!
Can you tell us a bit about yourself (i.e. age, location, family, education, work, etc.)?
I was born in Johnstown, Cambria, Pennsylvania, in 1948 and am now 75 years old! I currently live in a retirement community in Hanover, Pennsylvania. My wife, Phyllis, and I have been married happily for 12 years. It is the second marriage for both of us. We have three children and four grandchildren. I was in the Army Security Agency (now called the Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM)) for 20 years, of which ten were served in Germany.
I then worked for the National Security Agency (NSA) for 17 years as a Civil Service employee, followed by becoming a defense contractor for three years at SAIC and three years at Ledios. I completely retired in 2015. I completed one and a half years in a Community College before joining the Army Security Agency and took many additional college courses while employed at NSA.
I am a non-professional but avid no-limit Texas Hold'em poker player. Second to that, is a love of genealogy. I have written and published two books on my family history. I also have an interest in following the stock market, reading, and watching movies. I was a recipient of the "Legion of Merit Medal" during my army service and the first person to professionalize in Cryptanalysis while still on active duty working at the National Security Agency. I am also a survivor of a heart attack and multiple cancers.
When and how did you learn to play poker?
I played every type of card game growing up: Spades, Hearts, Canasta, Pinochle, etc. I watched my father play poker for money at the Eagles/Elks as a child. During community college, I played Bridge, then went on to play duplicate Bridge. I started playing poker in the Army in 1968; having learned how to play from my father years earlier. In the early 2000's I started to play no-limit Texas Hold'em. Overall, I have been playing poker for over 50 years; more frequently though in the last 15 years.
"The only major Club WPT success for me was winning a seat into the upcoming WPT World Championship this December."
How long have you been a member of Club WPT and what inspired you to join in the first place?
I have been a member off and on since about 2013 as a free member, later as a VIP member, and as of March this year I have a Diamond membership. For many years, I have looked for opportunities to play poker. The Diamond membership was attractive for several reasons including not needing any points for entry into a Diamond tournament, less number of poker players, and big prize packages.
Have you had any other success of Club WPT?
The only major Club WPT success for me was winning a seat into the upcoming WPT World Championship this December.
Have you ever been to either a WPT event or Las Vegas before?
This is my first WPT event. I have played in several WSOP tournaments in Las Vegas in 2009 and 2013. I have played in Championship Tournaments in the World Tavern, Bar Poker Open, River Chasers, the WPT Poker Leagues and in the Norwegian Cruise Line Poker Challenge Championships.
Whats your proudest poker accomplishment to date?
Winning a seat into the WPT World Championship in December.
Aside from maybe winning, what are you most looking forward to about your upcoming WPT?
I would like to meet Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth! Primarily because I have followed their successful careers for a long time and read their books.
Which friends and family will be joining you?
I will be going by myself. If I run deep in the tournament, then perhaps others will be joining me.