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If there was an award to be given to an online poker player for capitalizing on his original investment by obtaining an outstanding return, as well as enjoying a free poker-playing experience of a lifetime, that award would go to 58-year-old Tommy Yates.

The UK native who owns a bar in Greece managed to accomplish a feat that online poker players have been dreaming of for more than a decade, ever since 2003 when Chris Moneymaker parlayed a small investment into riches, fame, and his place in WSOP Main Event history. Yates won a seat to this year’s Main Event via step satellite tournaments at 888poker that began at Step One for only a penny.

Yates navigated his way through seven steps in the 888poker promo, winning a $14,000 prize package that consisted of the $10,000 Main Event entry fee, airfare, a week’s stay at a choice Las Vegas hotel, a party for VIPs, and spending cash. The Brit made a vacation out of it by taking his wife and kid along for the ride.

Successful Strategy

And what a ride it was! Yates landed in 486th place, cashing for $19,500 and experiencing the thrill and excitement of WSOP Main Event competition. For other amateurs wondering about Yates’ strategy and game plan, here’s what he had to say:

“I don’t think there were any tighter players than me in the whole Main Event,” Yates stated, admitting to mucking good hole cards such as a pair of ladies and Big Slick in order to finish in the money. “It might look stupid to you, but I was so motivated to pass the bubble, that when that moment came, I felt like I’d won the bracelet and 8,000,000 dollars. It was one of the happiest moments of my life.”

After being assured of cashing, Yates continued employing the nit playing style, coming to life when he was dealt pocket Kings. Lo and behold, his opponent was behind with Ace-Jack, but an Ace on the flop ended Yates’ WSOP Main Event journey.

More Success for 888poker Patch Wearer

Yates was not alone when it came to players who made out well in 888poker’s WSOP Las Vegas Dream Package promotion.

“888poker players who make it to our live events are able to enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience and thrill like no other,” said Itai Pazner, Vice President of B2C at 888 Holdings. “This year we sent to the WSOP over 120 players who were qualified from satellite tournaments. Although Tommy’s story was unique, there were another 11 great players who cashed out on the Main Event.”

So what will Yates do now that his poker-playing resume includes a WSOP cash? Perhaps hand off running the bar to someone else and aim for poker as a profession? The Brit is not leaning in that direction, but admitted that “my next goal will surely be winning a ticket to the WSOPE Berlin.”

Charles Rettmuller

Charles has been an avid poker player for a number of years, both live and online. He holds a degree in journalism and previously worked as a reporter for a Chicago-based newspaper. Charles joined the PokerUpdate team in early 2012 and writes daily news articles for the site.