WCOOP 2012: Who needs money when you have this?
Michael Weisbrod won a World Championship of Online Poker bracelet this week, an experience he describes both as "surreal" and "icing on the cake." The icing is nice, but, really, it's the cake he cares about.
A fulltime poker pro for the past four years, Weisbrod's $164,619 win as mrw8419 in Event #21 is the biggest of his career. It's his first WCOOP bracelet and the type of victory almost any in the poker world would covet.
But Weisbrod? When it comes it bringing home the bacon, you're more apt to see him like this.
"I had mostly given up on tournaments after not having much success after a handful of deep runs over the years, but decided to give that Sunday a chance," Weisbrod said.
That's because he's a man who takes chances. He's an American expat who uses poker to fund his world travels. He has a ready answer for people who ask him about his life.
"Whenever I explain how poker fits into my life I love to tell them how it's honestly the best decision I've ever made, and the freedom it provides me allows me to truly enjoy my life how I want to," he said.
His grandpa used to tell stories about playing five-card draw, but it took a couple of generations for the Weisbrod to make a living off the game. And when it comes down to to it, that's all Weisbrod really care about: living.
To wit, he just spent a week on a tour along the Croatian coastline. He dined on 12-course meals, hung out with his best friends, and spent the craziest week of his life island-hopping off the Croatian coast. He can do it all because he plays poker.
Among the young poker community, there is an easy trap that comes with new riches. Life can quickly and easily become the kind in which players--even if they are traveling for tournaments--never leave the casino or their laptop computers to see the cities they are visiting. Weisbrod eschews that lifestyle.
"The past two years of my life have been such a whirl wind. It's hard to really sit back and think about everything I've done from travelling, to the amazing friends I've made all over, and the experiences that just keep piling up," he said. "I swear, in the past two years I've lived a couple lifetimes worth of adventures, and it's all thanks to poker."
So, yes, the story of Michael Weisbrod's week is that he won more than $160,000 in the World Championship of Online Poker. It's a very bright feather in his cap. It's a story he'll be happy to tell if you ask. But the bracelet and the money aren't the end. They are the means to the end he's created.
"I'm not out trying to become the richest man in the world, or the most successful poker player," he said. "(I'm) just wanting to live the best life I can, and I'm pretty sure I'm doing it."
Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging.