The Pope of Poker Preys on His Victims

Trevor Pope Demolishes Eight-Handed Final Table and Wins First WSOP Gold Bracelet


Trevor Pope made it look easy.  Too easy.

The 26-year-old professional poker player originally from Wisconsin who now resides in Las Vegas not only won the first gold bracelet attached to an “open” event at this year's WSOP--he essentially demolished everyone in his path en route to a resounding victory that will long be remembered as one of the most one-sided finale in the 44-year history of the WSOP.

Pope began play on Day 3 at the final table with nearly half the chips in play out of eight players.  He had the player ranked in second place covered by a 6 to 1 margin. The four-hour final table went quicker than usual, in large part because of Pope's dominance.

The new champion collected $553,906 and his first gold bracelet.  However, the prize money seemed to be an afterthought.  In fact, Pope freely admits he already has an almost perfect life, doing what he loves to do full-time, which is play poker.

Pope now resides in Las Vegas.  He also travels outside the US a fair amount of time in order to play online poker.  For instance, he recently spent six months living in Costa Rica where online poker is legal.  Pope also has begun to play more live tournaments the last few years.

This win marks Pope's sixth time to cash at the WSOP and second final table appearance.  His best previous showing was a seventh-place finish two years ago.  The vistory was even more thrilling for Pope, given that he knew most of the players in the finale.  In fact, his former roommate Darryll Fish finished third.  Another close friend, Dan Kelly, took sixth.  The runner-up was David Vamplew.

Pope grew up in the Milwaukee suburb of New Berlin.  He is the oldest of five children.  He has three brothers and one sister.  Pope attended college for a while, but found online poker to be too lucrative not to pursue for a time.  He explained that getting an education comes in different forms.  In a sense, poker became his “major.”  And now, he's more than graduated with honors.

“I put in a lot of work, and here's what you get,” Pope said.

MEET GOLD BRACELET WINNER – TREVOR POPE

Name:  Trevor Pope
 
Birthplace:  New Berlin, WI (USA)
 
Current Residence:  Las Vegas, NV (USA) / Costa Rica
 
Age:  26
 
Marital Status:  Single
 
Children:  None
 
Profession:  Professional Poker Player
 
Education:  Attended college, did not graduate
 
WSOP Cashes (including this event):  6
 
First WSOP Cash (year):  2010
 
WSOP Final Table Appearances:  2
 
WSOP Wins (with this victory):  1
 
First-place prize:  $553,906

INTERVIEW WITH THE CHAMPION

WSOP:  Your victory seemed to come easy.  Was that a surprise?
Pope:  I always thought I was good enough to win a gold bracelet, but tournaments also involve some luck.  I just wasn't as lucky in past situations as I was playing in this tournament.  I ran extremely well this time.  Anyone can see that.  I can't deny that.

WSOP:  How does winning more than half a million dollars in prize money change things for you?
Pope:  I'm sure I'll play a couple of more events and try to win a couple of more bracelets [smiles].  But the prize money really does not change things for me that much.  I already live a pretty good lifestyle.

WSOP:  Tell us more about your lifestyle.
Pope:  I primarily play poker online.  I'm pretty lazy and don't play that many tournaments, except when there's a big tournament series.  I play about 90 percent in cash games.  I play online.  Live action is pretty boring y comparison, but the WSOP is just too good to pass up, so I came out here to try and win a bracelet – and I did.

WSOP:  Can you talk about your final table and describe what happened?
Pope:  Absolutely.  I knew every person at the final table, except for the player who was heads up with me (David Vamplew).  “D-Fish” (Daryll Fish) is one of my best friends.  A couple of weeks ago, we were living together.  It was such a cool moment to be able to share this final table experience.  He's a good friend and a good person.  “DJK” (Dan Kelly) was also one the players I feared the most, so I was glad to see him bust out early....DJK is definitely one of the top five tournament players in the world in my opinion.  He is wiling to do things other people don't do and put you in spots you don't see very often.    

WSOP:  You had some additional support in your cheering section on the ESPN main stage.  Your dog Revis was here.  In fact, this marks his second trip to the final table.  Tell us about that.
Pope:  Revis is my pride and joy.  He's the only thing that money can't buy.  He's our good luck charm.  Anytime someone we know is at the final table, he comes.  We're two for two now.

WSOP:  Can you discuss the pressure leading up to this moment, like the night before, especially coming into the final day with such a big chip lead?
Pope:  I didn't feel any pressure at all.  After we were done last night, one of my friends was playing in a $200 tournament and we went over to watch him.  Then, we went got some dinner, slept, woke up, had lunch and then came here to go to work.

WSOP:  You mostly play online.  How is the current status of online poker in the U.S. Impacting your life?
Pope:  “Black Friday” happened on my birthday, which is April 15th.  So, that was a tough one.  It sucked because it pulls all your friends away.  They had to move all over the place (in order to make a living – playing).  So, it was pretty tough to see all my friends move to other countries.  I also spent six months in Costa Rica and have also been traveling a lot, but my family is here and my dog is here (in the U.S.) so I'd like to stay here as much as I can.  It looks like online poker is getting ready to come back though, so that's going to be great for everybody.


ODDS AND ENDS

So far (through two events) players born in Wisconsin have won both tournaments.  Chad Holloway won Event 1.  Trevor Pope won Event 2.

The only previous gold bracelet winner at the final table of eight players was Dan Kelly, from Potomac, MD.  He finished sixth.