EPT9 Prague: William Davis, loose cannon blasts into Prague
As a poker fan, you have probably seen at least a couple of episodes The Big Game, arguably the best televised poker show of recent years. And if you've seen The Big Game, there's a good chance you'll know William Davis. He was one of the Loose Cannons on the show, the amateur players handed a $100,000 float and asked to make the best of it on a table stacked with sharks.
Davis came up against Doyle Brunson, David Williams and Daniel Negreanu, among others, and he left the action about 15 hands from the end, felted by Kid Poker. In a three-way cooler, Davis flopped a flush, Williams flopped top set and Negreanu had them both covered and was drawing to a bigger flush. He hit it and it was bye bye Williams, bye bye Davis.
That wasn't necessarily a problem for Williams, who has long been established on the professional circuit. But there was a chance we would never see Davis again; one shot at the big time, but no dice.
However the truth of the matter is that Davis is still very much a part of the poker community. He made good on the promises made on the TV show to pursue a career in game and his success has been such that in the first break in play on Day 1A here in Prague, where he is contesting his third EPT main event, he could stand in the lobby outside the tournament room and say, "Oh, I'm definitely a pro now."
Indeed Davis now lives in Turks and Caicos, having moved there, via Germany, in the mass migration from the United States of poker players in the past couple of years. He now plays online cash - anything from $5-$10 upwards - on what he describes as a reliable internet connection in the Tropic of Paradise, where the water is warm enough to swim all the year round.
"Black Friday was the big catalyst," Davis said. "I had to decide what I want to do with my life. Am I going to get a job in the US or am I going to do this for real? And the Big Game definitely opened my mind to the opportunities that are out there."
The decision to pursue poker didn't actually take so long to make. With a degree in financial engineering, Davis "pitched around" for a year or so and then landed himself that spot on the telly. Suddenly he was sitting alongside some of his idols, staring up the face of a particularly steep learning curve.
"It was awesome," Davis said. "The best part was getting to sit with those guys and play, Daniel and Doyle. I mean Doyle Brunson's right there - and he five bet me all in when we were five hands in! This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience."
But soon after recording, it all got a little complicated for poker players in the United States, which meant Davis was getting on the phone to his wife's family in Europe. "My wife is German, and when Black Friday happened I called my in laws and said, 'I'm moving in,'" Davis said. "They're a great family and they took me in. I ordered the computer parts that day and I had it all shipped in. I arrived and I was operational very quickly. PokerStars helped me transfer and I was living with my in laws for seven months."
After that, Davis and his wife "threw a dart in a map" and found their next destination. They were off to the Caribbean, where Davis had another poker-playing friend, and this year has been a pretty good year.
"After the Big Game I realised I had this opportunity, the opportunity was out there if you had the right approach, and I really just applied myself and focused," Davis said. "Things really took off."
By his own admission, he is running above expectation this year and has recovered the $100,000 he was staked to play on The Big Game - and more. His eyes are now set on even greater glories, and an EPT title - while on a Christmas trip to those relatives in Germany - would do very nicely indeed.
Follow hand-by-hand coverage, plus latest chip counts, in the panel at the top of the main EPT Prague page.