Hometown: Las Vegas
Country of Origin: United States
Rafael "Ralph" Perry was born in Russia, immigrated to Israel with his family as a child, then moved the United States at the age of 17.
At 25, Perry experienced seven-card stud for the first time at a pool hall in Brooklyn, New York, and after a successful run at the poker tables, he realized his new career. Soon, he was commuting to casinos in Atlantic City, and then eventually took his game to Las Vegas.
Perry traveled west with the intention of securing a part-time job, but he never made it past the poker tables. He grinded-out a modest living playing low-limit stud until introduced to limit Texas hold'em, where he quickly graduated to the high-limit tables. With the steady and substantial income, he established permanent residence in Nevada. Perry married and started a family, and for many years he carved out a comfortable living in Las Vegas.
The self-taught Perry, dubbed "Russian Ralph" by his peers, began participating on the tournament circuit in 2000 and celebrated nine major cashes through 2002. It was that year, during the World Series of Poker championship event, that he crushed the competition and brought home over a half million dollars. "I had a horrible WSOP until the main event," said Perry. "Then I finished third. That was the most money I ever had."
Perry continued to play in cash games while participating on the local circuit, and made the money in eight other major tournaments, with six final table appearances. Then in 2006, at the urging of his wife Merri, he committed himself to the WSOP, promising to win her a bracelet.
Perry placed 15th in what was considered the most elite field of players in the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. event. Four days later, true to his word, he won the $1,500 pot-limit Omaha bracelet. Perry went on to make two more final table appearances, placing eighth in the $1,000 no-limit hold'em and third in the $1,500 no-limit hold'em events, winning a total of $510,836 at the 37th-annual WSOP. At the 2008 Bellagio Cup IV, Perry made his first World Poker Tour final table. He placed fourth for more than $290,000.