Before the appearance of the Internet and online poker, veteran players who played high-stakes live poker games for thousands of hours dominated the poker gaming world. However, online poker changed all that as it attracted young, talented, and ambitious players who played at multiple tables, won multiple pots, and invested several hours in learning game theory, strategy, and logic to improve their game.
As a result, younger players took the place of veteran players. In 2008, Peter Eastgate, aged 22, became the first younger player to win the WSOP Main Event. Later, 21-year-old Joe Cada, 23-year-old Jonathan Duhamel, 22-year-old Pius Heinz, 24-year-old Greg Merson, and 23-year-old Ryan Riess also won the WSOP Main Event.
Several young people achieved poker fame and glory after playing the game for long hours and winning plenty of pots. Young players did not stop playing poker even after Black Friday, the day on which the US federal government cracked down on US-facing online poker rooms and forced them to leave the market.
One of the best younger poker players is Zach Jiganti, who just finished his college and is now playing poker games at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Jiganti’s success is because of his aggressive gaming style, entrepreneurial drive, and quantitative skills. When he was 15 years old, he went to Florida to join the IMG Tennis Academy. He spent nearly one year playing varsity tennis for Texas Tech University before realizing that playing professional tennis wasn’t his cup of tea. Instead, he found himself playing plenty of poker games online.
Having played online poker for several years, he noticed that online poker rooms tried to retain their loyal high-stakes players by returning to them part of their rake. This inspired Jiganti to establish an affiliate site of his own. He soon began making so much money that he decided to retire at the age of 18. But Black Friday forced him to change his plans. He said: “Black Friday was catastrophic for us. We’d sunk well into six figures apiece, and lost almost all of our revenue overnight.”
Black Friday also forced to start playing poker again, and in two years, he had earned back almost everything that he had lost. By 2008, he was back to playing $2000 – $5000 buy-in poker tournaments and making a lot of money. He even participated in the WSOP 2014 Main Event, but had to fold on Day One when he was check-raised.