Late last week, we told you that PokerGO commentator and part-time poker pro Jeff Platt was giving away a free seat to the $15 million guaranteed WPT World Championship in December. Platt has now announced the winner of his contest, army veteran Tom Elder, who spent 12 years in the military, including four deployments overseas.
Platt said that when he was offered the chance by WPT and WPT Global to give away a seat that he immediately thought of veterans and military members, something that he’s passionate about.
“So many of our military members fly under the radar and this is a great chance for me to throw some spotlight on them and maybe give someone a chance to make some life-changing money so it was an easy decision for me which direction to go.”
WE HAVE A WINNER @WPT @wpt_global pic.twitter.com/S0n0fUqKMG
— Jeff Platt (@jeffplatt) November 15, 2022
Why Elder stood out
While Platt said it was difficult to choose between so many deserving players, there were a few things that stood out about Elder’s submission.
“Tom sent me a 5-minute video just describing his background in the military, and some of his assignments, and he also added his passion for the WPT and how he’d always been a big fan of Mike Sexton.”
Platt continued on that note, saying that Elder told him about a poker dream that he can no longer accomplish after Mike Sexton’s unfortunate passing two years ago.
“We all think of dreaming about our big poker winning moment, a WSOP bracelet or WPT title, and having a winner’s interview with Mike Sexton, which he said he always wanted. To give him a chance to add his name to the Mike Sexton Champion’s Cup really meant something to me.”
Several players in the poker community vouched for Elder after it was revealed that he threw his hat into the ring.
Tom is the clear choice! Beloved by all! Choose him!
— Ryan Hogan (@gogetemtigers) November 9, 2022
2nd this…great dude and very worthy of this chance! Also has a shot to make a run!
— Jake Ferro (@JakeInThaGrass) November 10, 2022
He's got my vote it'd be tough finding a better person
— ronnie day (J.R.) (@scrondog) November 10, 2022
Just another reminder my boy @thomaselder80 deserves this opportunity. He wears his heart in his sleeves. He LOVES this country and beyond that is just a good man with a huge heart who means well always. The bonus is. HES A GREAT POKER PLAYER praying 🙏
— Flippoker (@Flippoker407) November 11, 2022
For his part, Elder expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to join the field of this historic WPT event in Las Vegas.
Thanks for this amazing opportunity Jeff! Can only imagine the difficulty in this decision given the field of deserving entries. So grateful for the shot. Hopefully can make a deep run and pay it forward. See you next month! 🇺🇸
— Tom Elder (@thomaselder80) November 15, 2022
Platt planning to play as well
Doing this giveaway has already got Platt thinking about future giveaways. He told us that he was originally inspired by poker pro Ray Henson, who put a former veteran into the Salute to Warriors event at the WSOP this past summer.
“I’m going to try to win one more seat and maybe give it to the runner-up, as it were. I have already committed a seat to next year’s Salute to Warriors Event,” said Platt. “And I’ll probably do a few more small ones, the $777 event, ones like that. It’s a great way to give back a bit and have someone to root for in those events.”
In addition to putting Elder into the WPT Championship, Platt said he plans to play in the event himself.
Platt’s been on a heater on the felt recently, winning a MSPT main event at the Venetian for $100K and his first WSOP Circuit ring in an online event. That ring arrived earlier this week, and Platt documented it below.
Wonder what this could be?? Thanks to the @WSOP for sending my way. HOPEFULLY first of many. (Or at least like first of two) pic.twitter.com/ICkTpXh5Rl
— Jeff Platt (@jeffplatt) November 16, 2022
While he’s been enjoying his recent success on the felt, Platt says he’s not taking it for granted, and isn’t ready to give up his day job just yet.
“I’m fortunate enough to say that the only thing I like as much as playing poker is broadcasting it, so I won’t be leaving anytime soon. Of course, I’ve run well in tournaments and been on the right side of variance, but I do also think hard work pays off,” said Platt.
He continued, “This last year specifically, I’ve put a ton of time into my game, studying a bunch and building good habits. I try not to be results-oriented, but I also think those results can show some sort of validation for the work I put in. It’s certainly been fun!”
Elder, too, has been putting in his time at the table, and is seeing the results of his efforts pay off. Though he’s only been playing live tournaments for two years, he already has $177K in live earnings, including a win for $101,865 in Florida, beating a tough final table that included Nicholas Palma and Maurice Hawkins.