WCOOP 2012: Exiled Team Online member finds gold
In fate's Rube Goldberg machine that dictates the life of a professional poker player, there is no predicting which gear will turn next. One minute Clayton Newman was a successful online poker player. The next he was a member of Team PokerStars Online. The next he wasn't even allowed to play online in his home country. Eighteen months later, he's a WCOOP champion.
Newman is 25 years old, and he's been playing poker as long as it's been legal to do so. That's the thing about the guy from California. He plays by the rules. He's no outlaw. He follows the law, and doing that meant he had to give up something he loved.
"When Black Friday hit, I opted to stay in America and relinquish my spot," he said. "Eighteen months later, I'm back playing online and so far, so good!"
Like anyone who has been in the game for any length of time, the man known as "cnew27" couldn't resist the sirens' call of the World Championship of Online Poker. So, he did what many an exiled online poker grinder has done and took up residence in Rosarito, Mexico. From there, Newman notched one of the biggest wins of his life, a WCOOP bracelet in Event #15, a $215 PLO contest. Newman won more than $50,000 and his first WCOOP bracelet.
A one time video gamer, Newman found online poker by way of internet forums. He graduated to what he calls "a videogame you could make money at," and it served him well. Since then, he's put in appearances at several SCOOP and WCOOP final tables, all of them at 6-max Pot-Limit Omaha.
As of this morning, Newman was only a few points behind Team PokerStars Pro Eugene Katchalov on the WCOOP Player of the Series leaderboard. While there is still a lot of WCOOP to go, Newman is letting himself dream. First place in this year's WCOOP offers seats to both the PCA and the EPT Grand Final.
"I hope I continue to run well so I can go to Monte Carlo," he said.
Those are the kinds of aspirations people like Newman have leaned to not discount. Fate has a funny way of getting to the punchline, and this one had to take a path through Mexico before it got to the bracelet.
Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging