Williams had played in a pro tournament before, but he’d never played at the World Series of Poker. He figured he’d take a shot–if he played well, great. If not, he did his best. His best, as it turned out, was better than all but one player. Williams finished second and won $3.5 million. A few weeks later, he turned 24. He needs just two Judi Online more semesters to graduate from SMU with a degree in economics and a minor in math. After that he could go to work for the rest of his life…or not. Play poker for the rest of his life…or not. He’s young, rich and bright–and he has options.
So that’s it, right? End of story? Local kid makes good, wins money, enjoys fame? Not quite. Poker players are different–or at least this one is. Despite the good fortune, he remains tortured, beating himself up over what could have been instead of enjoying what is. The parallel life he could have led preoccupies him at times: He went to Princeton for a while, then left because it wasn’t for him; he never knew his dad; and he did well in the World Series, but if he had bested just one more player, he would have been a god instead of just another guy who didn’t win it all. He sometimes obsesses over that stuff, and he knows it, but he can’t help it, either.
“I think about the final hand every day,” Williams says. “I think about it all the time–the way it went down, getting so close to being the champion. I mean, it wasn’t about the money. OK, sure, it was about the money–the money was nice. It is nice. But it Judi Online wasn’t entirely about that. Winning was so much more important to me. If first place had paid $3.5 million and second place had paid $5 million, I still would have liked to win. I really wanted to win…I think about that all the time. All the time. The way it went down–I don’t know if I’ll ever get it out of my head.”
Vegas was a madhouse from the moment Williams stepped off the plane in late April. Poker players are generally immune to the commotion. They go to Judi Online Vegas all the time; it’s business for them. The serious ones move there. But if it’s possible for poker players to catch the fever that average gamblers get when they walk the Strip for the first time, then it happens during the World Series of Poker.
Since its beginning 35 years ago, the WSOP has been held at Binion’s Horseshoe Casino in old downtown Vegas. No one is certain where it’ll be next year. Harrah’s recently bought the rights to the World Series of Poker when Binion’s got into tax trouble. It gave this year’s scene a little extra pop; poker greats, first-timers and spectators Judi Online came wondering if they were witnessing the end of one of the world’s grand gambling joints.