WCOOP Profile: The boy from Binghamton
Take any sport. Pick one. Ready?
Okay. It's guaranteed that, no matter which one you picked, there are more people in poker than any other game who can tell you where to find Binghamton. The 1998 poker classic Rounders made sure of that.
That said, the extent of what most players know is limited to, "Lotta action, lot of action," and "Should've played those kings, Mike."
The reality of the situation is the best player in Binghamton is not an off-duty municipal worker, but a young man known by the PokerStars name g0lfa, the only player to win two bracelets in the 2009 World Championship of Online Poker. First he took WCOOP Event #18 ($320 8-game mix), then turned right around and did it again in WCOOP Event #29 ($320 PLH/PLO).
G0lfa is, in fact, one Ryan D'Angelo, the 23-year-old pro poker player from Upstate New York. After graduating high school in 2004, he did a year at the University of Buffalo before making a life-changing decision.
"I dropped after one year to pursue making money at poker, which turned out to be a rocky road for the first year or so," he said. "But since 2007, I've been making a steady income and feel like I've become one of the best tournament poker players in the world."
Some people might hear that statement and think there may be a bit of overconfidence in play. But, with two WCOOP bracelets inside of a week to his name, it's hard to deny the guy has talent. Add to that a final table finish at a 2008 WSOP event for more than $300,000 and it's pretty clear, D'Angelo is making his name in a big way.
Back during the eight-game event, he got heads-up in a tough spot. His opponent was not the type of guy he hoped to face.
"I remember when there were a few tables left and I had more than twice as many chips in second place I knew it was my tournament to lose, so I really buckled down and focused and was able to continue chipping up which lead me to victory," he told us. "My heads up match with live pro David Pham was a very interesting one. I'm definitely not as experienced as he is in the Stud and Stud-8 games so I was struggling to maintain my chip lead during those games, but once we got to no-limit and PLO I felt like I had a big edge and was able to pull some moves."
Now, it's just a matter of what's next. He's going to travel more, invest some of his money, and start thinking about Vegas. Asked what he wants to do next, he responded without much hesitation.
"It sounds cliche, but I would really like to win a WSOP bracelet, and make a million from poker," he said.
That doesn't seem like a far off possibility for the boy from Binghamton. And, if things should go south, we hear there is a juicy game of municipal workers who come in to play after cashing their paychecks.
Just don't let them see you catching a hanger.