A Poker Life – Phil Collins
Phil Collins had a dream run in the 2011 World Series of Poker main event, finishing in fifth place at $2,269,599. He’s got an extra $3 million in online winnings and has been at one stage among the highest rated online players on the planet.
But poker hasn’t always been an easy ride for the 27-year-old pro. In fact, there were many times when Collins felt the financial pressure of playing cards for a living, worrying about whether he could provide for his wife and second guessing his decision to turn down law school for the high-variance world of tournament poker.
Learning The Game
Collins grew up in Aiken, South Carolina, a small town of roughly 30,000 people that is best known for horse racing and being just a short, 20-minute drive away from Augusta National golf course, the PGA home of The Masters.
His father Kevin, a safety manager at the Savannah River site, was able to provide a nice life for Phil, his younger brother Austin and their mother Sharon. As a child, Phil would spend hours with his brother in constant competition, seeing who could earn the bragging rights each day.
“I believe one reason I was drawn to poker, and competition generally, was the endless struggles I had with my younger brother,” said Collins. “He’s 16 months younger than me, however, five 1es taller. Everyday it was something. I recall we’d play basketball in the backyard for hours, playing with 100 by ones, neither of us prepared to stop. I wasn’t a good loser and I guess that need to win followed me into school where I discovered poker. “
Collins was accepted to the University of South Carolina and before all else picked up the game during spring break in a buddy ‘s condo in Hilton Head.
“I don’t believe I had ever heard of Texas grip Celtics, however someone brought it up, pulled out a deck of cards and we wound up playing for a couple nights in a row,” he recalled. “It was only for its spare change we discovered in our automobiles, but I was hooked on it almost instantly. “
After returning to Columbia for his sophomore year, Collins had trouble finding home games, which meant he needed another way to explore his newfound hobby.
“I had been one of the men you hear who made regular deposits,” Collins admitted. “I would place $50 on the market, shed it, place an additional $100 on the market, lose it . It was trial and error for the most part, but at that time I was a grownup, I had begun to turn it about and turned into a winning player. “
After graduation in 2007, Collins applied to law school, but had been waitlisted. While waiting for the admissions process to shake itself out, he was left with nothing to do but grind online. After a great day in July, where he final tabled two of the biggest tournaments of the week, Collins was all of a sudden sitting on a bankroll of over $33,000.
“I thought I would see if I could pay off some student loans. I’d no idea I would be in a position to do this and more. I received my approval letter in July, but my summertime run directed me to the end that I wished to determine if poker was a chance. I turned it down and formally started life as an online participant. “
The next step was for Collins to tell his parents, who weren’t just thrilled with the notion he was foregoing law college for poker.
“My parents were fine with poker initially, simply because it kept us quiet in the back room,” Collins explained. “However, one night we decided to play a $20 tournament, which was way too many money for us at the time. Things got very heated and some words were exchanged, which kind of changed their opinion about the nice, quiet game they thought we were playing. When they found out that I had been losing my summer job money playing online, they went from annoyed to upset and basically forbid me from playing while at home. Honestly, I’d say poker was the sore spot in my association with my parents. Then, after my senior year, I pointed my Dad in the direction of an online site which showed my ranking and all of the money I had made up until that point. After seeing how well I was doing, they became less concerned about poker. “
Building A Bankroll
Collins place everything into creating his match in 2008. Before long, he had been among the greatest online players on the planet. In January, he won the 1k Monday for $69,680. Back in Aprilhe took down the Sunday Second Chance for an extra $48,017. After all was said and done, Collins had assembled an unbelievable year, campaigning to get a joint $670,499 and finishing fourth Stake me to play’s Online Player of the Year race.
Though things had gone online, Collins had been having difficulty with the transition to reside poker. The remainder of online poker’s superstars were winning major titles as well as the seven-figure scores which came together Collins found himself falling only short again and again.
Thankfully, the poker world understood it was only a matter of time until Collins found himself at the winner’s circle. He’d developed a close knit group of friends to discuss poker and even brought a high-profile backer that had been convinced of his gift.
A Score Just In The Nick Of Time
After Black Friday, Collins could no more supplement his promising, but not yet completely accomplished live poker profession with online poker earnings. All of a sudden, money was getting tight and uncertainty started to creep into. He had the complete support of his wife, Katie, a girl who’d lived throughout the hall from him throughout his freshman year of school, but nonetheless, the pressure to provide for his household was nearly too many.
“I wasn’t doing so well financially before this past year’s WSOP,” Collins admitted. “I might have a couple million in winnings within the previous five decades, but that amount you visit online wasn’t the equal number in my bank account. The stress of being a poker player is unlike any other profession in the world and it gets many more difficult to deal with when you throw a wife and family into the mix that you must now provide for. “
The 2011 WSOP didn’t start well for Collins. Despite playing a full schedule of events, he had only managed one min-cash. Still, he maintained his positive attitude, telling his followers on Twitter that he was “#savingitforthemainevent. ” He couldn’t have been more appropriate.
“Everything just clicked in that tournament,” he explained. “It was like everything I had been through in the last few years was playing into it. I was playing well, but more importantly, I was confident. After all of the big tournaments I had played, day 6 of the main event didn’t believe that different for me. I believe that’s where I had an advantage over the majority of the area. I was there before. “
The November Nine
Collins tore through the field of 6,685 to make the November Nine and lock up partially a $782,115 payday. It was enough to obtain him out of make up, but now, he had a shot at life changing money.
Collins went into the November Nine with a decent spot at the table and a plan to keep his head above water, but just a few hands in, he was put in an unfortunate situation.
“It had been really unlucky for me personally O’Dea gave Heinz all of those chips early on. I went from having the second biggest stack at the table on my right, to having the big stack on my left. It really handcuffed me and forced me to play a low-variance style of game. I didn’t even wish to be a fanatic and find myself outside in ninth location. In that circumstance, getting ninth place is nearly worse than winning is great. “
Collins found himself short stacked when he shoved his A
into Heinz’s pocket nines. Though he had a sweat with a flush draw, the river ultimately failed to produce any miracles. He went out in fifth, taking home $2,269,599.
“Obviously, with all the profit of hindsight and a hole card camera, then there are a number of items that I wish I had done otherwise, but dependent on the information along with the reads I had at the moment, I don’t have any regrets about the way I played with that table. “
Learning From Other Player Mistakes
It’s common knowledge that Collins was backed by Erick Lindgren, a man who had a lucrative deal with Full Tilt Poker prior to Black Friday and was known for having a large stable of pros that he staked for live tournaments.
After paying back some makeup and taking his 50 percent, Collins took home about $1 million. He also won his before all else live tournament, an April 2012 Heartland Poker Tour main event, good for a $71,566 score. Collins says he doesn’t need to go down the equal route as numerous other overextended poker player. Now he has of his own actions, Collins is decided to maintain himself and his spouse at the black for the near future and doesn’t plan on playing every High Roller event that crosses his path just because his bankroll is now larger than ever.
“I’m not likely to make the equal mistakes that many others have made previously,” Collins vowed. “My full net worth isn’t my bankroll and it never is. I’m not likely to become one of the guys who gets a hold of any cash and sees it gone in a couple of years. Some money was put aside for investments, some cash was put aside as a deposit on a home and a while went in my bankroll. At this time, I will ‘t afford to play every $10,000 event that comes my way, but I can certainly play some satellites for them. I’ve also transitioned to cash games, so that I can take convenience of the games that run in Las Vegas every day. Though I’m still figuring things out, it’s become clear to me that they have a many lower variance, which is exactly what I’m looking for out of life right now. “
For today, Collins is filled with life. He’s seeking to dabble in games that are mixed around the Strip while continued to develop his money game abilities. But maybe above all, Collins is basing his conclusions on his joy rather than his worth.
“Life is great,” he explained. “My WSOP score reaffirmed that I made the right decision to pass on law school and pursue poker for a living. Now that I’ve found success, I’m just going to make sure I hold onto it. ”