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Poker may not still hold the mainstream popularity that it once did, but there is still a significant group of people who participate in this hobby/sport. This week, a former Longhorn showed off his impressive poker chops by taking home the $1,120,196 pot at the World Series of Poker (WSOP).

Mitchell Towner, now a University of Arizona professor, is a 29-year-old University of Texas alumnus. Not too surprisingly, he earned his PhD in finance. That head for numbers really seems to have paid off, because now he has a coveted WSOP gold bracelet around his wrist.

Though he’s had some past success, Towner is a self-admitted novice player and was a huge underdog in a tournament of nearly 7,000 players.

“I’ve only played in like two events that were buy-ins of more than $100,” Towner told reporters after the game. “I want to give a shout out to some of the podcast guys, and the television coverage I saw on EPT events and others where they talk about hands. I’m like a casual fan who invests maybe an hour a week in this…I really don’t play poker,” reports the WSOP site.

Towner made it through all of his competitors until he was finally in a head’s up situation with Dorian Rios, and the action was expected to last for a while. That’s not what happened, though. Within a few minutes, “The ultimate moment of triumph came when Towner scooped the final pot of the tournament, holding A-7 against Rios’ 3-3.  After a 7 fell on board, Towner was declared the winner and Rios finished as the runner up,” according to the WSOP site. He managed to keep nearly straight-faced and very calm when he won, a giant grin finally spreading over his face after shaking hands with his competition and fist bumping a few spectators.

So, Longhorns, stay in school, get good grades, and practice your gambling skills on the side. Maybe one day you’ll win enough money to pay off your student loans!


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Featured photo screen shot from YouTube

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Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

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