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World Series of Poker Main Event Runner-Up Darvin Moon Passes Away At 56

The Logger and Amatuer Poker Player From Maryland Reportedly Died Due To Complications From Surgery

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Self-employed logger and amateur poker player Darvin Moon has reportedly passed away at the age of 56. The Oakland, Maryland resident succumbed to complications from surgery on Saturday, Sept. 19, according to a social media post from Heartland Poker Tour co-founder Todd Anderson.

“The best person I ever met through poker is Darvin Moon,” said Anderson in the post. “A man of integrity and honor. And quite possibly the most interesting person I’ve ever known.”

While Moon not was not a professional poker player, he very nearly won the biggest and most prestigious annual tournament the game has to offer. In 2009, the self-taught, home game hero won his way into the $10,000 buy-in WSOP main event via a $130 buy-in satellite tournament at a West Virginia casino.

Moon managed to navigate his way though a field of 6,494 players to make the final table as the chip leader. He outlasted a number of big names at the final table, including 10-time bracelet winner Phil Ivey and Card Player’s own Jeff Shulman to make it down to heads-up play against Joe Cada. Moon ultimately finished in second place, turning his $130 investment into just shy of $5.2 million.

Moon recorded six cashes in live poker tournaments outside of his huge run in the WSOP main event, totaling around $23,000 in earnings. He told Card Player in 2010 that he didn’t have much interest in becoming a fixture on the poker scene.

“I’ve always been poor. I can be poor after this,” Moon said. He went on to explain why he would more or less return to his same lifestyle, saying, "We’ve lived on 20 to 25 thousand dollars a year for 26 years. I can now live the rest of my life comfortably. I’m [still] working, because my whole family was raised that way.”

Moon bought a few investment properties and some pickup trucks for his family with his poker winnings. He also purchased the farm that he grew up on. Otherwise, he went back to work running his logging company, despite perhaps no longer relying on the income it provided.

“I don’t really think it’s changed us as people, but it’s definitely changed our lives,” Moon’s wife Wendy said in 2010. “It changed our lives completely, but we’ve met a lot of good, new people. I’m really proud of Darvin.”

Players from around the poker community shared their condolences over the weekend, including fellow 2009 WSOP final tablist Steve Begleiter.

Moon sat down for an interview for Card Player TV’s The Scoop at the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship. That conversation can be viewed below.