Guy Wins $350,000 At The World Series Of Poker, Remains (In) Humble

Humble resident Jonathan Tamayo says his mother didn't approve when he started gambling online a few years ago, but after winning $352,832 in the World Series of Poker Main Event in Las Vegas earlier this month, he says, "she warmed up to it."

The 23-year-old hasn't had the need to use his hospitality management degree from Cornell now that he's been able to make a living from poker -- but from the way Tamayo describes it to Hair Balls, it's still quite a bit of work. Tamayo read a lot of books and played a lot of low-stakes games in order to better understand not only the numbers involved in gambling, but the how-to-read-your-opponents' mind aspect as well.

"It becomes a huge psychological war, too," he says, describing the different "levels of thought" in gambling, which include thinking about what hand your opponent has, and thinking about what hand he thinks you have. It sounds a little too difficult for Hair Balls -- we feel more comfortable playing "go fish" for matchsticks. Tamayo says his sisters can't understand the gambling life either -- "They think I'm legitimately insane," he says.

Tamayo is a pretty laid-back, responsible dude who doesn't feel the urge to splurge. His winnings don't go Cristal, escorts, and limos. He says his biggest purchase after winning the $352K was to upgrade to first-class on the flight from Vegas back to Humble.

"Fortunately, I'm pretty easy to please," he says. And right now, he's enjoying working from home, taking time off when he wants, and fitting in some golf here and there.

According to the press release we got about Tamayo's winnings, 6,494 entered the Main Event, "creating a prize pool of over $61 million." Tamayo, who was sponsored by PokerStars.net, finished in 21st place.

"It hasn't been a bad life, I'll say that," he says. Hair Balls agrees. And maybe we should check out some books on how to play poker...

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Contributor Craig Malisow covers crooks, quacks, animal abusers, elected officials, and other assorted people for the Houston Press.
Contact: Craig Malisow