The probability of Nate Silver winning the WPT Seminole Poker Showdown was low, which he probably knew. But the election polling expert and founder of FiveThirtyEight reached the money in the $3,500 buy-in event in Hollywood, Florida.
Once upon a time, before his days crunching pre-election polling numbers, Silver was a professional poker player. During the early parts of the poker boom era, he grinded the high-stakes Limit Hold’em cash games on PokerStars. And he made some solid money in that profession until those games dried up.
Silver took a break from analyzing politics last week to return to felt, this time to play some No-Limit Hold’em. The WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown attracted a massive field of 2,482 players over two Day 1 starting flights (Saturday and Sunday), 311 of whom reached the money.
Midway through Sunday’s Day 2 session, the money bubble burst, and Silver was among those who cashed. He held onto his chips until fairly late in the session before finally being sent to the rail at around 11 pm ET. With the blinds at 10,000/15,000 (15,000 big blind ante), he called an all-in with 270,000 in chips with pocket nines against Tom Wheaton’s pocket kings.
The board ran out A-8-3-5-3 and although the political polling expert earned his first World Poker Tour cash, he was out in 161st place for $7,465. Silver didn’t win the $1,261,095 first-place prize, and he fell well shy of becoming the next WPT Champion’s Club member. But it was a solid performance for someone who hasn’t played this game for a living in 15 years.
Silver one of many bustouts
Silver came up just short of Day 3, but 120 others are moving on, including several past WPT champions like commentator Tony Dunst, who hit quad fives to double up late on Day 2. Day 3 begins at 11 am ET from the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. By the end of the day, there will only be a few tables remaining in an event that was jam-packed over the weekend.
Numerous big-name pros busted after reaching the money on Sunday, including Jared Jaffee (213th place for $6,830), John Racener (149th place for $7,940), and Dylan Linde (144th place for $8,180).
All 120 players remaining in the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown are guaranteed a minimum payout of $9,295, but they’re all shooting for a top-11 finish, which guarantees a six-figure payday. Even better, of course, would be to take home the title and the more than $1.2 million awarded to the eventual champion.