Who is downtheline?

"This was a short breath from heaven"
--PokerStars player downtheline shortly after winning the $500,000 Guranteed tournament on 5/29/05

Why should he have any hope? I mean, many of us have been there before. We reach a final table in a big tournament but have barely enough chips to survive a few orbits. So, why should downtheline have any hope, with the blinds at $10,000/$20,000 and he just holding $150,000 in chips?

Well, that's what poker players are good at. They hope. Even when their chances at winning a hand are reduced to a mere two outs, poker players still hope.

Downtheline is no stranger to hope, nor hopes realized. We'll get to that later, though.

So, who IS this guy?

So, a man tough enough to win a big one like this has to be some tough, young, chip-slinging punk, right? Well, no. In fact, downtheline is a sensitive sort. He owns a ladies' boutique in Pompano Beach, FL and maintains a unfettered love for his grandkids. That, though, is where the soft guy image ends.

The former Marine spent 13 and a half months in Vietnam and has essentially been his own boss ever since.

A life-long stud player, the 62-year-old man found No-limit Hold'em after Chris Moneymaker's storybook run from PokerStars to World Champion.

Married for 40 years, downtheline keeps his head on straight in two ways. First, he plays third base for the Southern Yankees, part of the Men's Senior Baseball League in Florida.

"Baseball is Life, the rest is just details," he said.

Even at age 62, downtheline plays every inning of every game and gets most of his hits down the right field line. Any question how he got his screen name?

And when baseball can't center his poker game, a little sign taped on his computer screen can.

It reads, "No tilt."

"Just like on the pinball machines when I was growing up," he said.

Rushing down the line

Is there anything better than a good rush?

Just a few weeks back, downtheline became the 21st PokerStars player to win a free seat for the World Series of Poker main event with Frequent Player Points on PokerStars.

"When I won that one, I knew I was becoming a better tournament player," he said.

With the WSOP just weeks away, downtheline decided to get in some multi-table work and took down a tournament with 1,472 people in it. After that, came the next logical step.

"I thought it would be a good idea to get my feet wet in a live tourney," he said.

So a couple of weeks ago, he played a $200 buy-in at the Hard Rock in Florida and took it down as well.

Maybe downtheline knows something I don't.

"Since I've been playing No-limit Hold Em," he said "I've been to seven final tables and never finished anywhere but first. I hope I'm not getting spoiled, because I know that's not going to continue forever."

A two-outer worth an extra $60,000

Downtheline will be one of the first people to talk deal at a final table. Just a few weeks back he offered a deal when he got heads up with with his opponent and his opponent (holding two aces, by the way) refused. After losing to the two aces, downtheline clawed his way back and won the whole thing.

So it happened when he got heads up with PICKLED EGG, downtheline was ready to deal. When Lee Jones offered the standard chop figures, PICKLED EGG wanted more and downtheline refused to relent, believing in his heart that what he calls the "chip chop curse" would set in on PICKLED EGG eventually.

"I knew it was just a matter of time for him," downtheline said. The fact he had a 3-1 chip lead couldn't have hurt his confidence either.

You can read the whole final table report in the post below this one. Regardless, downtheline's two-outer to crack PICKLED EGG's aces is now a matter of some lore.

Downtheline is unrepentant. "I do not feel at all bad about winning with two outer," he said. In fact, he said he had been a victim of a two-outer twice in the same tournament he won.

So, downtheline, you've won the $500K. What are you going to do now?

Now, it's family time again. Funny thing. Downtheline and his wife had already planned a trip with their grandkids. Wanna guess where they are going?

"We're going to Disneyland," he said.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in PokerStars news