Sam Holden calls time on his professional poker career after deciding to leave his position at 888poker to concentrate on his philosophical studies at the University of Kent.
With so many people wanting to break into the world of poker it’s not often that we have to report on a player deciding to leave, but that’s exactly the situation at hand as Sam Holden has decided to hang up his cards and settle into a life more ordinary.
Holden’s move from online poker grinder to big time live tournament schedules was like a dream taken straight out of a poker fairytale, when in 2011 he cemented his place as one of the November Nine in the $10,000 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event final table.
He would finish ninth in that event for a payout of just under $800,000, and although he didn’t have a huge piece of his own action, a new career was born thanks to that bankroll injection and a sponsorship deal with 888poker.
The notoriety of that amazing WSOP run, coupled with his new patch, ensured him a seat in the 2011 Coral Late Night Poker event held in Cardiff, which he duly won for $150,000.
One year later and he was at it again as he came close to making back-to-back WSOP Main Event final tables finishing 55th for another impressive six figure score.
It seemed a star was born.
And yet after those impressive scores Holden was always very particular about where he would spend his live tournament buy-ins. He was a devoted attendee at all 888poker sponsored events, most notably the WSOPE events, but you were more likely to see him playing in a United Kingdom & Ireland Poker Tour (UKIPT) event than a European Poker Tour (EPT) or World Poker Tour (WPT) event.
I guess the writing was on the wall very early. Here was a man who preferred the sanctity of home and the comfort of friends against the luscious and luxurious fast lane of the poker lifestyle.
“The fancy clubs, restaurants and hotels were a lot of fun but I realized quickly that the things that matter most to me, are the relationships with my friends. Their company and intelligence, their insight and their humor. The truth is that I couldn’t really care less where we go, as long as the company is good. A cheap pub will do just fine.” Holden stated in his 888poker blog.
After four years as a professional poker player, three years with 888poker, Holden has decided to pursue his other interests, most notably his love of philosophy, and something tells me he won’t be the last professional poker player to make the switch as the industry gets much tougher to crack.