The things we've done in life is what makes us who we are – especially at the poker table.

Dr. Corey Harrison has done a great many remarkable things in his life, most of which have taken place in science and academia.  But those lessons learned and skills utilized for year provided what probably turned out to be the difference in winning his first gold bracelet at the World Series of Poker.

Harrison won the $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold'em event and with it, his first WSOP bracelet.  After making four cashes on the WSOP Circuit and one previous cash at this series, Harrison enjoyed a breakthrough win on poker's grandest stage.  He outclassed and outlasted 1,731 players en route to a payday worth $432,411.

Following his win, Harrison cited his work as a researcher as a key component in making him a better poker player, and ultimately a champion.

“I'm a very patient person.  That helps me in my research,” Harrison said afterward.  “In research, you have many days and nights spent in the lab.  Then at the end, you might get a result that's not what you're expecting.  So, it's the same thing in poker.  You may have made the right play and got it in good, but get a wrong result.”

Harrison also talked about the similarities of being persistent in both poker and conducting research.

“When you take a bad beat, you just have to take it in stride,” Harrison said.  “So my line of work helps me to keep an even emotional keel.”

Harrison gave one specific example.

“I came to the final table with 1.1 million and was third in chips.  Then, I went card dead,” Harrison said.  “I played three hands in four hours.  I blinded down to about 400,000....Then, after we came back from the second break, I went on a tear....I waited for my run of cards and my patience really paid off.”

Daniel Cascado finished as the runner-up.  He barely missed out on becoming the first English winner of this series.  Instead, he settled for a second-place consolation prize worth $267,452.


Name:  Corey Harrison
Current Residence:  Birmingham, AL (USA)
Birthplace:  Slidell, LA (USA)
Age:  36
Marital Status:  Married
Children:  None
Occupation:  College Professor
Education:  PhD in Pathology from University of Alabama-Birmingham
WSOP Cashes (including this event):  2
First WSOP Cash (year):  2013
Years Coming to WSOP:  1 (first year)
WSOP Final Table Appearances:  1
WSOP Wins (with this victory):  1
WSOP Career Earnings:  $444,419


WSOP:  How does it feel to win your first WSOP gold bracelet?
Harrison:  I've been playing poker for ten years, and grinding the WSOP Circuit events.  I had some success, but nothing like this.  This is a great accomplishment.  There's nothing like it.

WSOP:  What was the journey like to get to your first final table?
Harrison:  It was a real roller coaster.  On the first day, I was one of the early chip leaders.  Then, a few hours later I was back down to where I started.  I picked my spots from there pretty well.  Things worked out.  I was able to double up when I needed to and get some chips.

WSOP:  Can you talk about your heads-up match with Daniel Cascado?
Harrison:  I had my friends over there cheering me on.  I couldn't let the down.  But Cascado was a tough competitor.  At times though, he played a little bit passive, which helped.  I picked my spots and put pressure on him.  I know he folded some hands where he had me beat.  That helps.

WSOP:  What do you have planned for the $432K?
Harrison:  Actually, I do not have any plans.  I do not play full time.  I am a college professor.  In fact, I took the summer off.  I'll play some more poker and see how it goes, but I also love my job, so I will be going back to work.

WSOP:  Can you tell us about your job and academic background?
Harrison:  I have a PhD in cellular molecular pathology.  I went to the University of Alabama at Birmingham where I did heart research, but I really wanted to teach.  I took a full-time teaching position at a small liberal arts college.  It's something I really like to do, which is to teach and give back.  

WSOP:  What does it feel like to play at the WSOP for the first time?
Harrison:  I've been playing ten years.  I've been so close many times, cashing in WSOP Circuit events, and making final tables, but I had not gotten over the hump.  This was the first time to get over that hump.  This is the best venue in the world to get over the hump.”

WSOP:  What advice or lesson would you give to those who hope to win a gold bracelet?
Harrison:  You will eventually catch a run of cards.  If you can sit there and maintain your game and stay patient, it usually pays off.


Steve Zolotow cashed in this event.  That gives him at least one cash  for 13 consecutive WSOP years.