After his epic run on the classic game show Jeopardy! with earnings of $2,462,216, professional sports gambler James Holzhauer decided to compete in a different arena. He made his debut at the 2019 World Series of Poker (WSOP) which is currently in full swing at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
Mike Sexton, the chairman of partypoker and an avid fan of the hit game show, asked Holzhauer if he could represent the online poker brand in a number of live events, and the Jeopardy! champ readily agreed.
Holzhauer was an online poker player back in his college days but is now making a living with sports betting. The Illinois native became an instant celebrity after winning 32 consecutive Jeopardy! games in a great run which ended in early June. Holzhauer came close to creating a new record but fell short by just $58,000 which is the record of overall earnings achieved by Ken Jennings who won 74 games back in 2004.
WSOP Debut
Holzhauer played two events at the 2019 WSOP: Event#56: $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Super Turbo Bounty and Event #57: $1,000 Tag Team No-Limit Hold’em, partnering with Mike Sexton. Both events took place earlier in the week and the Jeopardy! enjoyed himself. Holzhauer doesn’t have any plans to take part in any other WSOP events after this as he had earlier planned a much needed vacation.
Going into his first WSOP event, Holzhauer said he just wanted to have a good time. As part of his preparations, he had some quick coaching sessions with his poker-playing friends, some of whom are bracelet winners and have ample experience at the WSOP final table, including Ben Yu and Jameson Painter.
Sexton, a Poker Hall of Famer, assured Holzhauer there’d be no pressure on the felt, saying the poker world would be happy to welcome him to the biggest poker tournament in the world.
Holzhauer’s first event, the $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em Super Turbo Bounty, attracted around 1,800 entrants. The professional sports gambler failed to finish in the money after busting in 454th place. WSOP Tournament spokesman Seth Palansky said Holzhauer would have had to finish in the top 281 players who were guaranteed to get a slice of the total prize pool worth $2.5 million.
Holzhauer then moved to his second event of the day, playing with Sexton in a Tag-Team tournament. Both played about five hours before leaving the table empty-handed. The 34-year-old had planned to donate half of his winnings to Project 150, a non-profit organization for homeless high school students based in Las Vegas.
James Holzhauer might be through with the 2019 WSOP but his association with the partypoker brand will continue as Mike Sexton has invited him to play at the $10,000 partypoker Millions Main Event which takes place in November. The event which will be held in the Bahamas will have a guaranteed prize pool of $5 million and is expected to play.
Holzhauer was a little hesitant at playing at the WSOP because he was worried that he would end up embarrassing himself playing with some of the top poker pros in the world. While the Jeopardy! star did not cashout at the two WSOP events he played, he by no means embarrassed himself.
On the contrary his willingness to play at the WSOP, could inspire a number of other celebrities and also shine the spotlight on giving to charity organizations which a lot of poker players do!
Charity Works  
While Holzhauer had a less-than-stellar performance during his WSOP debut, he intends on continuing to give some money back to the community through Project 150. Holzhauer and his wife Melissa like to give and have already made a number of donations to charitable organizations in recent weeks following his Jeopardy! victory.
Holzhauer chose Project 150 because he believed in the organization which is doing a great job in trying to break the cycle of poverty by helping out thousands of homeless teens with their basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter. The charity’s main aim is to encourage students to pursue their studies, graduate, and hopefully change the direction of their lives through the help and support of the community.

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