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A Poker Life -- Tim West

West Makes Positive Changes To His Life And His Game Benefits As A Result


Tim WestSometimes you need to hit rock bottom before you can truly turn your life around. That was the case with Tim West, who sprinted out of the gates into his career as a tournament pro, only to see his game and even worse, his health, completely crumble around him.

Determined to get back to the top, the northern California native made a life changing decision to get his mind, body and game back on track. With a new, slimmed down look and two huge live tournament scores in the last month, the alteration has already had a positive impact on his life. This is his story.

A Fast Start

West was born on September 26, 1985 in San Francisco, California. His only sibling, Tom, is two years older, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at the pair. At ten years old, West and his family moved to Los Altos, a city about 40 minutes south of the bay.

Though he was an active child, a sedentary lifestyle and some bad habits saw him balloon to an unhealthy weight. “Early on, I was completely consumed with the game of basketball,” he remembered. “I played every day. But as I grew older, I got more and more into video games. As a result, I got lazy and it wasn’t long before I was completely out of shape.”

West still wanted to work in the sports industry and had plans to try sports broadcasting after college, but a trip to see his brother took him down a different path. “I would visit my brother, who was in college in Santa Barbara at the time, and he sort of got me into poker,” he admitted. “We kind of discovered it together, but I think that I had more of a knack for it early on. He’s a great player, obviously, but I was fortunate to have some bigger scores. My bankroll had gotten pretty big from some nice wins online and some underage cash game trips to the casino, so I had a lot of trouble focusing on school. After making sure that I had enough to make a run at it, I decided to drop out and turn pro.”

The Moneymaker boom had just hit and there was easy money to be made. West quickly chopped up a tournament for nearly $88,000 at the Commerce and a month later, he finished runner up in a big preliminary event at the Bellagio for $181,000. In between deep runs in live tournaments and even a World Poker Tour final table appearance, West began to make his mark on the online world as well, becoming one of the top ranked players around.

With so many cashes on his resume, it was easy to see why many considered West to be one of the more consistent players on tour. He continued to play well, scoring big wins online and even made two final tables at the World Series of Poker in 2008, but the next year was a different story altogether.

A Sharp Decline

Tim WestWest went on an extended downswing that did major damage to his bankroll. It’s one thing to run bad, but he admitted to compounding the problem by playing bad as well. To top it off, he wasn’t taking care of himself and his bad habits were now posing a serious threat to his health.

“When you hit rock bottom, you tend to reevaluate things. I looked at my life and realized that I wasn’t happy. Not only was I was in the middle of one of the worst downswings of my career, but I had gotten so out of shape that it was actually affecting my health. I was eventually diagnosed with something called Bell’s Palsy, which is form of facial paralysis. Luckily, my doctor was able to get me through that ordeal without too many complications, but it was quite the wake up call. After that, I decided to make a complete change in my life.”

Getting Back on Track

It’s not easy to change your life, but West had more than enough drive to accomplish his new goals. His health scare was now behind him and after losing 90 pounds, he looked and felt like a completely new person.

“A chiropractor who was also a wellness coach kind of set me straight and made me realize what it would take to turn my life around. I completely changed my diet and started eating more organic foods. I started running every day and it didn’t take long for the weight to melt off. The end result has completely changed my life, if not prolonged it. The added bonus was that it also did a lot for my poker game, which up to that point had gotten a bit stale.”

When asked to elaborate on how the health kick jump started his game, West made it clear that the weight loss also had a profound impact on his mental state as well. “To play your best game you need to be motivated, to be hungry. For the first time in a while, I was excited to not only play poker, but to get better at it as well. All of a sudden, my endurance, both mentally and physically, was off the charts. Before, I would fade towards the end of my sessions, but with my mind right, I was able to stay sharp at all times.”

A Strong Week of Poker

In late March, West went on a seven-day run that other players can only dream about. First, he topped a pro-heavy field in the $5,000 Wynn Poker Classic for $319,000, his largest score to date. A few days later, he finished runner-up in the $10,000 WSOP Circuit Western Regional Championship for an additional $175,000, automatically qualifying him for the National Championship event at Caesars Palace just before the WSOP kicks off this summer.

Tim WestThough he admitted to plugging a few fundamental leaks in his game, West credited his never-say-die attitude and resiliency for his recent success. “I ran pretty well at the Wynn, but I was really proud of myself for hanging in there and grinding when I got short. There were a few spots where I think in the past, I would have gone broke, but my new found clarity really helped in getting myself out of trouble.”

Nowadays, West isn’t coasting on his reputation. He realizes that complacency is detrimental to even the best players in the world. “Some players feel that they have it all figured out and they fail to adjust and keep learning. It took me awhile, but I’m humble enough to admit that my game needed an overhaul because I was just going through the motions. A lot of guys out there are missing out because of their egos.”

Moving Forward

The recent indictments by the Department of Justice against the major online poker sites has certainly been an unwelcome development by many professional online grinders, but West is confident about the future nonetheless.

“We really don’t know what’s going on yet,” he said. “For now, I’m focusing on the positives. There are a lot of online professionals out there who are panicking, but my recent success has my confidence level at an all time high. Live poker tournaments are going to get a nice little boost in the player pool and I think I’ll be able to make the necessary adjustments to stay ahead of the curve. I’ve already been through the hard stuff, poker is just the fun part.”



over 10 years ago

Too bad he hasn't learned how to not be a scumbag.


over 10 years ago

tim west is a scumbag who needs to learn right from wrong