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Poker News | World Poker News

Meet Father Andrew - The Poker Star Priest

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An unlikely Poker Star was born on Sunday October 11th and his name is Andrew Trapp aka Father Andrew. It was apparent the young Priest had God on his side when he went all the way on the first PokerStars Million Dollar Challenge, which aired Sunday on FOX.

Watching Father Andrew go head to head against three pros from Poker Stars, it was impossible to not root for the young priest to win. His personality shined as bright as his white collar as he faced off against NBA Champion John Salley, Team Pro Vanessa Rousso and four-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner and Team Pro Daniel Negreanu. Although it was apparent Father Andrew was nervous, as anyone would be facing such famous opponents, he calmed down when at one point he brought out his rosary for divine support. In the first round, John Salley commented that he felt out- numbered, with Daniel Negreanu on one side of the Father and Jesus on the other.

Andrew’s road to poker stardom and the priesthood started in Aiken, South Carolina. God first touched his heart in his fifth grade religion class at St. Mary's, when he saw the "Leper-Priest," a movie about Blessed Damien of Moloki. The game of poker however touched him at home, where his family still engages in a highly competitive game of poker when they all get together.

Father Andrew Trapp was ordained as a Catholic priest on July 27th, 2007, for the Diocese of Charleston, SC.  He served his first year of priesthood at St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church in Bluffton which is near Hilton Head Island, SC. From there he was transferred to another beach locale, St. Michael Catholic Church in Garden City near Myrtle Beach, SC where he resides today.

Father Andrew admits, “People often seem surprised to think of priests being like everyone else, with family, friends, and hobbies.  But if a priest didn’t have friends and never did things apart from his priestly ministry, then he would probably burn out and end up of no use to anyone! In my case, for fun I like to hang out with friends and do things such as watch good movies, play strategy games, and play sports like paintball.  I also enjoy friendly games of Texas Hold’Em poker.  About once a week I get together with some people my age and play a game for fun.”

It was his interest in poker that prompted him to pay attention when he read about a new television show that FOX was putting together, the Million Dollar Challenge.
Starring PokerStars pro Daniel Negreanu, the show will feature twenty-one contestants from across the US and Canada, vying for a grand prize of a Million Dollars and Father Andrew decided he wanted to be one of them.  

Spurring him on to poker glory was his parish’s building fund. In dire need of a new church building, St. Michaels is in the final stages of fundraising and naturally Father Andrew voiced his thought, “How cool would that be, to try to get on the show and see if I could win a million dollars, and donate it to our church fund?  And even if I didn’t win any money, it would be an opportunity for people across the country to see that there are still young men choosing to be priests, and that one can be joy-filled and have fun as one serves God!”

With his goal of building a new church firmly in place, Father Andrew headed to PokerStars where he qualified on August 31st to be on the show by playing in the special online FreeRoll qualifiers. Beating out 9,990 other entrants, Father Andrew was one of the 10 finalists who won the right to submit a two-minute video audition for the Million Dollar Challenge TV show.  Over the Labor Day weekend, after getting a green light from his pastor, Father Andrew and his friends taped the audition video, but that was only the second hurdle, the third would be to get approval from the Bishop. As Father Andrew says, “And then the most important step of all: I had to ask the permission of our new bishop, Bishop Guglielmone! Providentially, he was in town visiting the local priests and I was able to speak with him and show him the video.  He ended up liking the video and thinks that it could be a great opportunity, so he told me to go for it!” Be it divine intervention, fate or faith, Father Andrew’s video was chosen by FOX and his appearance was set for the shows debut.  

The show was a big hit and Father Andrew didn’t disappoint his parishioners, fans and supporters as he bested all three pros to pocket a seat at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure event in the Bahamas, $100,000 and a seat in the final event where he will play for a million dollars. No doubt he will keep those rosary beads handy when he takes his seat in the December final, where he will be playing for his dream of a new church.

*Photo courtesy Fox Sports*

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