"Now I know I can compete with the sharks," said the man when I asked him what it was like to take down a WCOOP event.
It's rare to hear something like that from a winner of a World Championship of Online Poker tournament. Most everybody who wins one of the big ones not only is not afraid of the sharks--he or she actually is a shark. And, if you're going to take down a $320 HORSE WCOOP event, you're certainly no slouch.
So, then, what of this man we only knew as todch a few days ago, this man who is, in fact, Tony Chang, a Reno firefighter and first-time WCOOP winner?
Well, he's fifty-five years old and a guy who has been playing cards for the past quarter-century. He likes to fish and travel, and that's probably how he'll end up using his $70,000 in winnings.
He is, in short, a recreational player who just happens to have beaten a HORSE tournament in one of the world's toughest fields.
It wasn't as if it was easy. Despite coming into the final table second in chips, there wasn't any time that Chang felt like he could relax.
"I was trying to survive all the way," he said "There was't any moment that I had enough to be comfortable."
In time, Chang says, he'd like to find his way down state to Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker, but he's not sure when he'll do it. He has other priorities and keeps playing hand by hand.
"It is a just game," he said.