Dmitri Nobles and the accidental rabbit's foot

Editor's note: Over the ten years we have spent watching lives change, we have developed relationships and friendships with a great many players. All along, we have done our very best to remain objective and never, ever become part of the story. Sometimes, however, it was both involuntary and unavoidable. Perhaps the most infamous case of all was 2006 WSOP online qualifier coming to believe our reporter CJ Hoyt was his own personal rabbit's foot. Hoyt, now a television news director in Toledo, Ohio, remembers the day Nobles pulled him into the limelight at the expense of a man who would go on to be a beloved Team PokerStars Pro.

While more seasoned PokerStars media reps were covering guys like Greg Raymer and Joe Hachem, I was sent into the breach to discover previously unknown talent. What I stumbled upon became the most talked-about story for the first few days of the 2006 WSOP Main Event. His name was Dmitri Nobles, and he wore his PokerStars visor upside down. His play was reckless and inspired. When I found him, he had 28,000 chips in front of him. A few days later, he was yelling my name on the ESPN featured table. It was a whirlwind for both of us and a week I will never forget.


Dmitri Nobles at the 2006 WSOP

Nobles hit a rush the first time I approached him at a table, running his 28K stack up over 70K. By the end of Day 2, he was the Main Event chip leader with more than a half million chips. Somehow, I became his good luck charm. Inevitably, as I wondered near his table, he would pick up a big pot.


Nobles stands above the crowd waiting for another big flop

No Nobles suckout was bigger than the one he put on respected pro George Danzer on the ESPN featured table. Danzer's pocket kings were way ahead when Nobles called Danzer's all-in with A8 on an 8-high board.

"Oh God. Need some help. Need some help," Nobles pleaded when the cards were shown. "Ace or eight. Ace or eight."

The dealer peeled off an ace, and ESPN had their moment. Nobles had the chips.

"CJ!" was what I heard from the table as I sat stunned on the rail. I got up and we shared a bro hug. I really liked him and hoped this would propel him to big things (I also thought the cameras gave us a caricature of Dmitri that was unfair, but I digress). Unfortunately, he had about reached his peak in the tourney. While many predicted his aggressive nature would be his downfall, he ended up getting hit with a 3-outer the next day that largely ended his tournament. I wasn't there. I had flown home already. Maybe I really was his good luck charm.

Here's the cringe-worthy video of it happening.


Thanks for reading all these years. If you'd like to play in the April 21th 20:00 ET PokerStars Blog 10th Anniversary freeroll, you can find it by searching "Blog" in the PokerStars lobby. The password is comprehensive.

CJ Hoyt
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