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Card Player Poker Tour Spotlight: Tom McEvoy

After Being Nominated Multiple Time, Tom McEvoy Was Inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2013


Tom McEvoyPoker Hall of Fame 2013 inductee Tom McEvoy is perhaps best know for his 1983 World Series of Poker Main Event win, but in addition to the most coveted title in poker, McEvoy is the owner of four WSOP bracelets, a World Poker Tour title and has recorded more than $2.7 million in lifetime earnings.

Card Player sat down with McEvoy before the start of CPPT Atlantis Event 10: $120 No-Limit Hold’em Survivor.

Name: Tom McEvoy

Resides: Las Vegas, Nevada

Lifetime winnings: $2,724,658

Largest Live Cash: $540,000 – 1st, 1983 World Series of Poker Main Event

What was the draw for you to make the trip up to Atlantis for this series?

The principal reason is a nutshell, was Mike Gainey (Poker Room Manager) and Tracy Barnthouse (Publicist). And I like these kinds of tournaments and I like the Atlantis. I haven’t been to Reno in a couple of years, so I was due for a trip and some of my friends were up here too.

I’m very close friends with Vince Burgio and Howard “Tahoe” Andrew and I had another friend who hadn’t been up here before. He left already after playing the cash games, but it was like a little home week. I’ve known Mike a long time and Vince and Tahoe even longer. So it’s going to be a fun trip and hopefully I’ll make some money. I cashed in the first tournament and made a little money so it looks like I’ll have a winning trip no matter how it comes out the rest of the way.

When you say ‘tournaments like this,’ can you expand on what you mean by that?

Modest buy-ins, anywhere from $100 plus the entry fee up to $300 and $500, plus the $1,100 main event, which I’m tentatively planning on playing. With three tournaments a day, I don’t mind if I miss the noon tournament because there are others. I’m never bored, ever, as there is plenty to do up here. I took a side trip on Saturday, my friend Sam and I, he had never been to Reno or Carson City or Virginia City, so we took a little detour and did some touristy stuff. That was fun.

Have you been betting on any of the March Madness games?

No! That is against my religion (laughs) ! I make this distinction very clear when I get interviewed. There is a difference between being a professional gambler, which I am not, and a professional poker player, which I am.

It’s not that I’ll never bet on a ball game here and there ‘cause I do. But I have a remarkable skill at handicapping sports – for example, typical of my results is I picked Denver to win the Super Bowl. Earlier last year I lost something like 17 out of 20 sports bets, none of them where bigger than a $100 bet by the way, and I keep track of my results. I’m stuck like $1,400 or $1,500 for the year and there is a lesson there. Sometimes I just can’t resist the game but I should just simply go the other direction.

But I’m a very small bettor when I bet and I don’t play pit games except a little Black Jack once in a while. I’ve only played Black Jack once this year and I’m only a $5 and $10 bettor. I’m plus $20 on the year, maybe I’ll just lock it up and keep it. I’m not a gambler really. I’m just a poker player.

Now you were recently inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame, tell me a little about that.

That was for me, I call it the frosting on the cake of my poker career. I’ve been around a long time and I was nominated every year for the past five years. I lost the previous four elections, which was disappointing naturally, but this time I made it and I’m glad that little streak is over. But next to winning the Main Event at the World Series of Poker, getting into the Poker Hall of Fame was the most important thing that ever happened in my poker career.

So from here on out, what does the rest of your career look like? You’ve accomplished those two main things, is it now just time to sit back and enjoy it or are there more goals to set?

I certainly would like to win another bracelet. I also have a streak going, it’s either the second or third longest streak in the history of the World Series, I’ve played the Main Event 31 consecutive years. I won it the very first year I was in it and I’ve been trying to duplicate that ever since!

But I don’t travel as much anymore. One guy saw me up here and said ‘I thought you were retired.’ I said ‘No, I may be a little tired now and then, but I’m not retired.’
I used to be on the road five months out of the year, but that is not the case anymore. I have a wife, a stepson, a dog, a cat and two birds that all like having me around. So I’m more of a homebody than I was because I’m older.