TCOOP 2013: Not-so-average average guy near top of leaderboard

Allan Drake, currently #2 on the Turbo Championship of Online Poker leaderboard, is convinced he once played $1/$2 with Phil Ivey and Jennifer Harman at the Excalibur in Las Vegas. It was nearly ten years ago, not too long after the Chris Moneymaker WSOP win.

"At the time, hardly anybody except a Vegas professional knew the names of any of the professionals," he said. "I am quite certain that Jennifer Harmon and Phil Ivey were slumming it short-handed at the Excalibur one night."

As the story goes, Drake was feeling bullied by the big-stacked slumming pros...pros who were picking up monster hands and winning racks. He was annoyed, pushing back, and still running into monsters. The kicker? Harman picking up aces against his sixes, Drake folding, and the flop coming down ace...six...six.

And, yes, there was a bad beat jackpot in play.

"I practically jumped off the table to grab my cards out of the muck," Drake recalls now. "The bad beat was not a lot of money, but it would have been a boast to my bankroll."


Allan "Yaba" Drake

Looking back, Drake says he still remembers seeing the pair on TV for the first time and his jaw dropping to the floor. Though he admits he might be wrong, he doesn't think so.

And today, that's not really the point, because the man known as Yaba on PokerStars is flirting with the #1 spot on the TCOOP Player of the Series leaderboard. His run began on the first day of the 2013 TCOOP when he won Event #2 for $22,000. Since then, he's cashed five more times.

While that may seem amazing to most of us, Drake protests, "I am truly an ordinary average guy."

That's simply not true by modern online poker standards. Drake is 47 years old. He's the single father of a five-year-old little boy. He owns Alika Internet Technologies in Canada. And somehow, he finds the time to not only play poker, but win. His successes go back years, including winning some satellites to EPT and APPT events.

Here's an interview with him from five years ago when he was an APPT qualifier.

Drake started playing poker back when he was a child. He and a friend would search through the couch cushions for pennies and play with those.

"I think his mom or dad must have tossed some coins under the couch for us on a regular basis because we always found a large quantity of pennies," Drake said. "We still play in the same home game to this day."

Today, he's busy and puts his real life ahead of his poker fun. TCOOP fits the bill for that perfectly.

"Financially my bankroll was pretty light before this tournament, and I was taking somewhat of a break from poker," he said. "I am now playing as many TCOOP tournaments as I can to challenge for the leaderboard."

If Drake is to win the Player of the Series, he will have to overtake Denmark's Tjepan who surged to the #1 spot with two final table appearances in the last few days.

There are six more days left to make it happen. You can watch the battle as it happens on the TCOOP Player of the Series leaderboard page.

Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of of Blogging

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in TCOOP