Price, a CPA from Boynton Beach, Fla., is at his first World Series of Poker. He arrived Sunday with stars in his eyes, amazed at the scope of the famed tournament he had watched on television so many times. Price's WSOP started off with a bang, too, as he chopped the first satellite he played, a $225 event in which he won 2 $500 lammers and $60 in cash. His thrill in winning the one-table tournament was evident.
"It's exciting," he said. "To do something for the first time is very memorable. I'll talk about it until the day I die. This is amazing. It's like a dream, everything that's happening. I just can't stop smiling."
The 57-year old Price has been playing poker off and on for thirty years after learning seven and five-card stud while in the U.S. Army as a teenager. For many years, he focused on chess, but when poker started to grow in popularity Price learned to play no-limit Texas hold'em.
His training began at the Palm Beach Kennel Club, a dog track in West Palm Beach that also has a poker room. Price was a fixture in the $45 buy-in NLHE tournaments there. He now also plays tournaments at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, Fla.
"It was a cheap way to learn the game," he said.
To further his poker education, Price bought books written by the usual suspects like Cloutier, Harrington, Brunson and Sklansky. In fact, it is Dan Harrington's background as a chess and backgammon player that gives Price hope about his own game.
Price, who has competed in many competitive chess tournaments, said that the game with the knights and the game with the jacks share some similarities.
"You can spend eight to ten hours competing in a tournament environment," he said of both chess and poker. "You have to be patient to sit and compete for hours on a daily basis."
Price said that one notable difference between poker and chess is how quiet chess tournaments are. "Poker is more of a social game and it moves at a faster pace," he said, both facts that make poker more enjoyable for Price.
Price believes his background in the math realm helps him at poker. He takes a very analytical approach to the game. "I know all the percentages. I always calculate the odds before I make a decision," he said.
One aspect of his game that Price believes he needs a lot of work at is the skill to read other people and put them on hands.
Price keeps copious records of his tournament play on Excel spreadsheets, no surprise for a man who makes a career in accounting. Unfortunately for him, the results haven't been good so far. Price decided this year that he would take the money he would normally use to play more tournaments in Florida to pay for a trip to the WSOP instead. So far it's been worth every penny.
In addition to rail birding many of the players in Sunday's $10,000 buy-in pot-limit Omaha tournament that he normally watches on TV, Price plans to play the $1,000 NLHE with rebuys tournament on Monday. If he loses his initial stake he doesn't plan to rebuy.
"I'm just playing to risk the thousand dollars," he said. "If I bust out, I bust out."
But now he's got $1,000 worth of tournament lammers in his pocket. Price said he will probably use those to play a mega satellite and a chance to win his seat in the main event.
"There are certain things in life I want to do," he said. "Playing in the main event of the WSOP is one of those things. That's something I want to say I did in my lifetime."