2008 World Series: RaiNKhaN doing what he does best
It's a fair assumption that the life of anyone reading this blog has been changed in one way or another by online poker. Not necessarily dramatically, not even especially perceptibly; maybe your style in your regular home game has become slightly more aggressive, or you have a new baseball cap, something like that.
At the other end of the spectrum, someone like Hevad Khan's life has been turned on its head. It's been well documented by now how the 27-year-old from Poughkeepsie, New York, turned to online poker from Starcraft after talking to friends at college. He deposited some money that he earned for graduating school into PokerStars and before long he had to get a friend to film RaiNKhan, as he is known online, playing 26 sit n goes simultaneously to prove to the ever-watchful support department that he wasn't a pokerbot. Once the watchdogs were convinced, he used the PokerStars route to earn his place at the 2007 World Series main event, where he came sixth, for just shy of a million life-changing bucks.
Shortly thereafter, RaiNKhan became a member of Team PokerStars Pro and began travelling the world as ambassador for the site, racking up a succession of other major tournament results, including another $100,000 for a win in a warm-up event at the Foxwoods Poker Classic. But that doesn't mean he forgot his roots. He always travels, be it to Monte Carlo, the Bahamas, or Austria with lap-top in hand, and he still plays pretty much every day online.
Which, sometimes, is just as well.
"How's your series been?" I asked him a few minutes ago, when we caught up as he sat in today's $1,500 event. "Absolutely brutal," was the brisk and honest reply. He explained how he'd played every single one of the no limit events in this year's series but is yet to cash. "But I'm killing it online," he went on. He is too. In various sit n goes, MTTs and major Sunday events in recent weeks, he's cleared about $120,000 in winnings. Enough for a few more buy-ins.
And when you play as many tournaments as RaiNKhan, you know that form is a temporary thing, while class is permanent. The New Yorker also knows the importance of confidence.
"Right," he said. "I'm tough. I don't give up. I'm going to start winning now."