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Poker News | People in Poker | Poker Superstars

Where Are They Now - Robert Williamson III

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Where are They Now is a series of an in depth look at all poker players - not just the pros - as they travel through one long game. Some of the players profiled are deceased but not forgotten.

“RWIII” is one of the few professional poker players that knew the game starting around the same time he learned to walk.  Despite having a lifelong knowledge of the game, Williamson wasn’t a lifelong player, instead taking an interest in a number of other things.  Over time though, poker would continue to creep it’s way up the ladder on the list of things Williamson wanted to succeed in, and because of that he has gone on to become one of the better tournament players in the world.  

On November 7, 1970 Robert Lancaster Williamson III was born in Dallas, Texas.  As an infant his family moved about an hour away to the small city of Granbury, which would be his home for the remainder of his childhood.  At just five years old the younger Robert started serving drinks and sandwiches to the older Robert, and his friends at their weekly poker games.  Between passing out bologna sandwiches and cold beers, Williamson picked up the game before he picked up multiplication tables.  

When Williamson was about 12 or 13 years old he graduated from waiter to player at the games.  He held his own in those games, and family trips to Las Vegas instilled even more passion in the game.  Even though he was passionate about the game he was also interested in a number of other things.

After graduating from Angelo State University, in San Angelo, Texas after earning a full academic scholarship, Williamson had a number of options at his disposal.  Williamson graduated with degrees in both finance and real estate, on top of winning numerous awards in college for being near the top of his class in grades.  In high school, Williamson was voted “most ambitious,” so it’s no surprise he decided to dabble in a few different entrepreneur pursuits.

Long before Williamson made a career out of stacking chips, he made a career out of stacking pancakes.  Williamson owned ten pancake restaurants throughout four states in the south, a business decision that thrived.  Williamson also became a very successful real estate investor so much so that he now considers himself a “retired real estate investor,” despite being only around 30 years old when he earned that title.

While he was still primarily focused on his business ventures, Williamson tried to find time to go to Vegas and play in some poker tournaments when he was able.  In the early 90s he played $10-20 Omaha 8 or Better at The Mirage during his trips into Las Vegas and began to perfect his game.  In the mid-to-late 90’s he placed in a handful of tournaments, with his greatest success being a 3rd place finish at the $2500 buy-in Omaha Pot Limit event at the 1999 World Series of Poker.  This deep run in an Omaha tournament would be a sign of things to come.

At around the turn of the century Williamson, perhaps because of his deep run at the 1999 WSOP, started to find himself wanting to play poker more and more.  Because he was so successful in the business world he had the bankroll and time to dive head first into becoming a professional, and that’s exactly what he did.  Since 2000, Williamson has considered himself a professional poker player, and like his past endeavors, it has been a profitable one.

Williamson also has an additional nickname because of his success at one particular game, “Mr. Omaha.”  Since turning pro, Williamson has gone deep in no less than eight tournaments at the WSOP.  His best finish, also his only bracelet win to date, came in 2002 at the Pot Limit Omaha Event, where he took over $200,000.  He has narrowly missed two bracelets finishing second in 2004 and 2005.

Williamson is in the group of professional players who believe that the modern H.O.R.S.E tournament is akin to what the Championship was back in the days when only the best players played in it.  The H.O.R.S.E tournament usually draws the best players, and Williamson has shown he can hold his own in those fields, finishing 10th in the event in 2006.  

Williamson has said a number of times in tournaments that one of his greatest accomplishments in life is waiting until his mid-30’s to get married.  He said so many of his friends in Texas got married in their early 20’s and had children by their late 20’s, and that a lot of them aren’t entirely happy.  Williamson did indeed wait until he was 35 to get married, but he didn’t wait long before tying the knot.  Just two months after meeting Kate, they were married.  

Williamson continues to have interests outside of the poker world.  While appearing on a number of poker shows, he has also appeared on “The Ultimate Blackjack Tour.”  As documented on the 2006 WSOP coverage on ESPN, Williamson also enjoys his beer in quite the interesting way, by adding hot sauce.  Williamson has said he has tried 100’s of different combinations, but the one he says he likes the best is “Corona and Lizano Tabasco.”  When he isn’t finding new ways to confuse his taste buds, he is busy running a business with his wife, called “RWIII Designs.”  They specialize in high-end custom gaming jewelry for men and woman.  There full line can be seen at www.RWIIIdesigns.com.

Williamson says one of his favorite things about poker is the traveling to various exotic spots across the land.  In recent years Williamson has enjoyed spending days, and sometimes weeks, vacationing after a tournament, and because of that his volume of play isn’t what it once was.  However, when he does find the time to play, he is still very successful.  In 2007, perhaps while on vacation, he placed 3rd in the $500 FTOPS Main Event for $89,271.  Shortly after, he received a sponsorship deal with Full Tilt Poker, where he continues to play exclusively online today.

In between 2003-2005 Williamson had gastric bypass surgery and saw his weight decrease from 400 lbs to 200 lbs.  Jokingly, he likes to say that “I’m half the man I used to be.”  However, if he is 200, 400, or even 600 pounds, he is a huge favorite at pretty much any poker table at which he sits.  He’s also a pretty big favorite to succeed in any other endeavor he decides to try.

*Visit Billy Monroe's Blog*

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