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In the world of extremely rich amateur poker players, Bill Perkins is up there with the biggest moneymen the game has ever seen, the billionaire hedge-fund manager indulging his passion for the game at every opportunity and mixing in the highest circles of poker.
Bill Perkins stands out from the crowd, as I wrote previously about him: ‘If you ever read stories about high-stakes poker amateurs pitting their wits and wealth against the elite, Perkins will be in there somewhere; If it’s a tale of crazy prop bets with massive stacks of cash awaiting the winner, Bill Perkins will be at the forefront; and if you’re looking for a party-animal who can simultaneously discuss renewable energy issues and government intervention in the market-place while posing with a bevy of beautiful models, once again Bill is your man! Think Dan Bilzerian with a conscience and a brain and better poker skills! That’s Bill Perkins.
Perkins’ Electrical and Electronics Engineering degree wasn’t really related to what he would go on to achieve in the business world, where he initially worked under the legendary oil trader John Arnold. He founded the firm Small Ventures USA back in 1997 and went on to trade in energy derivatives, working for some of the biggest companies in the US. Senior positions and directorships gained him huge respect for his knowledge of the industry and how to effectively trade in such high-risk commodities.
His poker career is similar to many other rich amateurs, playing the big buy-in events and high rollers and Bill has won some $2.6million since his first cash back in 2012 at the Bahamas PCA at Paradise Island. The majority of that comes from a 3rd place finish and $1,965,163 payday at the 2013 WSOP One Drop event, a $111,111 buy-in tournament where he finished ahead of the likes of Antonio ‘The Magician’ Esfandiari.
Esfandiari has become a close friend over the years, the pair indulging in some hilarious and often bizarre prop bets, including one last year which saw Esfandiari disqualified from the tournament for pissing in a bottle at his table. Perkins had made a 48-hour ‘lunging’ bet with Antonio, the latter’s legs so sore during day 2 that he decided he couldn’t go to the bathroom.
Other infamous prop bets include a ‘no sex for a year’ challenge, one which Esfandiari quickly bought out of, a highly-publicised cycling bet with another good friend Dan Bilzerian, and umpteen more unusual bets.
Billionaire Bill has the money to indulge almost every whim in his life, but he is also a philanthropist and family man - actively participates in the Save the Children charitable organisation, as well as being married with three children.
He also found time to start up his own film production company, Lleju Productions and Films, and recently hosted his favourite poker streamers on a week-long adventure to the Virgin Islands.
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The lines “$500 prop bet” and “If he dies he dies” have probably never been heard together before in the poker world