There are many professional poker players that play cards for a living. And we’re not talking about poker “pros” like Ben Affleck or Shannon Elizabeth but about players like Carlos Mortensen or Daniel Negreanu. They discovered professional poker and this had profound effects on their careers. But it’s interesting to think about what they could’ve ended up with if they didn’t find professional poker.
Darren Elias – Writer
Darren Elias holds the record for the most World Poker Tour wins – four, so far – and earned over $10 million from his passion for playing cards. But what would he have done if he didn’t become a professional poker player?
Judging by his studies, he probably would’ve ended up being a writer, blogger, or journalist. After working odd jobs, including as an ocean lifeguard in Myrtle Beach, he attended the University of Redlands and earned a bachelor’s degree in creative writing.
Phil Ivey – Basketball Player
Ivey is one of the top black poker players of our time. He won 10 WSOP bracelets, one WPT title, and has appeared in nine WPT final events. Over his career so far, he has won more than $38 million in live events and further millions online, while he was part of the original design team at Full Tilt.
If he hasn’t discovered poker – and we’re going out on a limb here – Ivey would’ve probably ended up a basketball player, judging by his passion for the sport. Ivey is a big-time basketball fan – he is especially fond of the Lakers, the Houston Rockets, and the Buffalo Bills, and he’s often seen wearing basketball jerseys to his games.
Daniel Negreanu – Actor
Daniel “Kid Poker” Negreanu’s first encounter with poker was right after primary school. He did start high school but dropped out to play poker – he played in tournaments and illegal poker dens in and around his native Toronto. He left for Vegas at the age of 16, and immediately lost all his money, which made him return to Canada and study hard to become a poker pro. He succeeded – he has live earnings of over $50 million, two WSOP bracelets, and two WPT titles.
When asked about what his life would’ve looked like if he didn’t discover poker, he told reporters that he would’ve probably ended up playing sports professionally, even though he didn’t have the physique to become a professional football or ice hockey player. One of his lifelong dreams is, in turn, to become an actor, playing alongside Angelina Jolie in a movie.
He already has some titles in his filmography, but he’s always playing either himself or a poker player.