WSOP 2013: Fatherhood first
When David Shallow won his first WCOOP bracelet several years ago, we asked him to give us a picture of himself to go along with the story we wrote about him. Shallow humored us and sent in a photo of himself swilling on a Corona. It became the photo we used of him any time he did anything. And that's sort of a shame, because the image Shallow has of himself today is a lot different than it was back then.
So, when Shallow won his second WCOOP bracelet last week, we got in touch with him to see how he had been doing, what had changed, and how he was living these days.
If a picture tells a thousand words, this thousand is a lot different than the days of cold Coronas.
See, back in 2012, right after Shallow won WPT Dublin, his wife gave birth to a little boy. By that point, Shallow had been a professional poker player for eight years. What's more, his wife was a woman who had plans of her own.
"She has a really good job and wants to be independent herself," Shallow said.
That left Shallow with some decisions to make. Was it time for a nanny? Was it time to take a break from poker? Well, not exactly. He figured out how to make it work, because that's what good dads do.
"I'm stay at home Dad Tuesday to Thursday, so I play poker around that," he said. "I can't play tournaments midweek, as I can't commit the time. So, I tend to just play cash. And it makes it harder to travel for tournaments abroad."
That, of course, leads to what happened last week when Shallow won $40,000 and his second WCOOP bracelet.
So now Shallow says he plays poker for two simple reasons:
"To stay in the game and support a family," he said.
It's not just Shallow.
Consider this: PokerStars' player -Rebus1980- is currently in the lead for 2013 WCOOP Player of the Series. He's cashed five times in the first 20 events. One of those cashes was a gold WCOOP bracelet in Event #7, the NL 5-card draw contest.
We asked him after his win to describe the most interesting thing in his life. He snap-called. In his estimation, it wasn't even a hard decision.
"At the moment, the most interesting in my life is my family, especially my three year old son."
Think about that: this guy plays tons of poker and makes a good deal of money doing it. He is a world champion. It's why he is on this blog today. The most interesting thing to him: people you will never read about and never meet.
Now 33 years old, -Rebus1980- has eyes on winning the WCOOP Player of the Series, but it will not stand in the way of making his family a priority.
Fatherhood, indeed, changes everything. A young man can look at his life pre-children and believe the world revolves around his interests. But no matter how pure a man's passion for poker is, once he hears the word "daddy," everything can change.
Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging