How to Win And Lose a Million With David Williams

6 years ago
How to Win And Lose a Million!
27 Sep


It’s the kind of story which gives poker and gambling in general a bad name – but one which we all love to read about. A poker pro gambling it up from almost nothing to close to a $1million –and then losing it all and more when he just can’t step away from the table! David Williams is the anti-hero of this particular tale, which he related on his recent podcast interview at the hands of Chicago Joey Ingram.

It all started with a sports bet, one which snagged the WSOP bracelet winner and recent Masterchef finalist $5000 which he decided to take to the poker tables and see what he could do with it.

Now money is no real object to the man who has amassed more than $8million in tournament earnings, $3.5million of which came from his runner-up spot in the Main Event back in 2004. But still, when turned the $5K into $12K and then $50K, his move up the tables was starting to be a lot of fun!

Eventually Williams found himself at the Bellagio in the Big game at Bobby’s room – over $100,000 in his pocket and sitting in a $500/$1000 PLO game with Sammy Farha to his left and Bobby Baldwin, Tom "durrrr" Dwan, Rafi Amit, and various others scattered around – all high stakes supremos looking to take Williams’ hard-earned cash!

As the hours wore on, however, Williams just couldn’t stop winning – Sammy Farha spewing 25K chips like they were confetti!

I’ve got like, $220K,” says Williams, “and I’m just owning Sammy! He would like leave and say…’I’m coming back’, and he’d come back and reach in his pocket and pull out like four $25K chips!”

Williams recalls he was thinking:

Where the fuck is he getting these chips? He’d reach into this little ‘baggie’ and pull out four or eight of these chips and sometimes he would dump them real quick,” like losing $200K to Bobby Baldwin on the first hand back. “Is he printing these? What is going on!”


Come the Monday morning, having played non-stop since the Saturday evening, Williams explains how he then got a call from his closest friend at the time, Nenad Medic called him. Upon hearing that Williams has run his $5K up to $900,000 Medic implored Williams to give up and go home.

You’re tired, you’ve been there forever,” Medic told him….”and nobody in that game is bad, except Sammy…and he isn’t even bad, he’s just crazy right now!”

But as we all know, when you’re on a roll it’s hard to stop – and the thought of reaching the $1million mark was all Williams could think about.

I’ll quit at a million, an even million…which is so stupid!” he confesses. “What is the difference? You know what I mean? But obviously I wouldn’t be telling this story if it ended well!” says Williams, able to laugh about it now. All of a sudden the tables turned, (Sammy Farha’s) hands started holding up, I started chasing, trying to get to that million-trying to force that hundred…”

“So I’ve got 600 in front of me, I’ve got to get back to eight,” he explains… and you can actually guess the way things went. Down to 400K but promising to quit when you get back to 500K, and so on… all the way down it went for Williams until…

“Hey Quito, I need a 100. Give me a fucking hundred right now!” and by the end of the game, when his friend Medic called back, he had to explain how he actually owed his fellow player $250,000!

The story is one we all know, and at different levels we have all been there I’m sure! That Williams can laugh about it now is a good thing, but there will be poker players and degenerate gamblers out there who simply ruined their lives chasing that elusive goal – as well know only too well, enough is never enough for some players!

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Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more


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