On Sunday, the nine remaining players in the 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event will reconvene at the Rio in Las Vegas to battle for their share of over $25 million and a coveted WSOP gold bracelet. One of those lucky finalists is Max Steinberg, a 27-year-old poker pro and DFS grinder who won his entry into the $10,000 buy-in event by taking down a $27 satellite on DraftKings.
In 2003, an accountant name Chris Moneymaker parlayed a $39 PokerStars satellite win into a $2.5 million payday after besting Sammy Farha to win that year’s Main Event. Moneymaker’s path to WSOP fame struck a chord with audiences all over the world and ushered in a massive online poker boom which only subsided after the US Department of Justice passed legislation meant to stymie the industry in 2006.
Steinberg, who will return to the final table with the fifth largest chip stack, could very well achieve a similar feat this year.
Bored with poker
With so many parallels between poker and daily fantasy, it’s no surprise that poker pros have taken an interest in DFS. In , Steinberg told PokerNews that he had grown bored of poker and was now making consistent money playing daily fantasy. “In May, I didn’t play any poker,” he said. “The reason is — and it wasn’t that I don’t have time for poker, because I do, I probably spend six hours a day doing daily fantasy — I just felt like it was too much of the same thing.”
No big deal
After making it to the Main Event final table, and locking up a guaranteed $1 million payout, Steinberg recalls not being as blown away as he thought he’d be. “It’s funny… people have asked me, and it’s an obvious question to ask, but it doesn’t feel like I would expect it to,” he said. bluehost “I don’t know, I just never thought it would be me, and now that it is me it just seems that to the outsiders like my friends it’s ‘Oh my god! It’s such a huge deal!’ but I’m in it, and it just doesn’t feel like that big of a deal.”
Steinberg’s calm demeanor can be attributed to the experience and success that he’s had throughout his career in poker. The 27-year-old has amassed $2.9 million in live tournament scores and is the only player at the final table who already has a WSOP gold bracelet, which he won in a $1,000 No-limit Hold ‘em event in 2012.
In fact, Steinberg said that he would likely not spend too much time polishing his poker game or playing major tournaments during the recess leading up to the final table. “I don’t know, I just don’t have that desire anymore to go travel the tournament circuit,” he said. “I’m happy living a more simple life, just in Vegas and doing daily fantasy sports and working on my strategy site.”
Awkward time for DFS
At the time of the interview in September, Steinberg planned to don DraftKings gear at the final table. But with Nevada’s recent decision to classify daily fantasy as gambling, DraftKings has pulled the plug on the extensive WSOP advertising campaign it planned to run during the final table. It’s unlikely that he will even be allowed to wear a DraftKings patch during the event.
The ruling is a huge blow for DFS in the state and will be a missed opportunity for DraftKings to promote Steinberg’s path from satellite to final table. But let’s be honest, with the Boston-based company has done in the past few months, it would be hard to believe that anyone watching the WSOP hadn’t already seen their fair share of DraftKings advertisements.
Tune in to ESPN on Sunday at 8:30 PM ET, Monday at 8 PM ET and Tuesday at 9 PM ET to find out if Steinberg can beat his final eight opponents to become the 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event champion.