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Poker Player Profile: Phil Gordon

By: Kenneth Bateman

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Phil Gordon (or Gordan), was born in Texas in 1970, but now resides in Las Vegas. Phil is an intelligent many-sided individual; a businessman, entrepreneur, author, commentator, adventurer, celebrity, and last but not least, a world-class professional poker player.

Intelligent? Phil became a full-time college student at the age of fifteen as a National Merit Scholarship finalist, graduating from Georgia Tech in 1990 with a BS in computer science.

As a businessman, Phil helmed a successful network software company, and left with millions in his bank account after the company was acquired by Cisco.

As an adventurer Phil has tracked mountain gorillas in Uganda, rafted the Zambezi River, traveled through the jungles of the Amazon, dived the Great Barrier Reef and traveled thousands of miles through the Australian Outback.

As an author, Phil has written several well-received books on poker, and as a celebrity he has been on the travel channel, had featured articles about him posted on Yahoo and Internet Life, and was the subject on an NPR Radio’s “This American Life.”

Although he is first and foremost a poker player, Phil did win a national championship in a Bridge Tournament. In tournament poker competition Phil has taken $400,000 in prize money for fourth place in the 2001 World Series of Poker main event, and has won over one million dollars in tournament play as of this writing.

In 2002, Phil appeared at the final tables in two tournaments; sixth place in Pot-Limit Hold’em and third place in Omaha 8 or better. Late in 2002, Phil was in Aruba , invited by to compete in The World Poker Tour Professional Division Inaugural Tournament. Phil won that one, defeating seven high-ranked players to win the $250,000 prize money. March of 2004 saw Phil take home the first place prize of $360,000 in the World Poker Tour “Bay 101 Shooting Stars” tournament.

If you want to see just a fraction of Phil Gordon’s myriad adventures, go to and see how, in 2003, Phil and poker chum Rafe Furst set out in a huge RV for what they claimed would be “The greatest road trip in sports history.”

Starting from San Diego at the Super Bowl on January 26th, the pair traveled the country in the RV named “Big Blue,” attending more than 140 sporting events in 40 states, which included all three triple crown races, the Indy 500 , Daytona, The Masters, U.S. Open Tennis, 25 ball parks, The Final Four and the Stanley Cup Finals.

However, the main purpose of the trip was to foster awareness and raise money for cancer research, specifically to benefit The Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation ( Gordon and Furst signed autographs, sold donated sports memorabilia, and managed to raise $100,000. A fun trip for a worthy cause.

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Kenneth Bateman writes numerous articles on the subject of poker and its players. To read more player profiles, visit this Poker Room at XL

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