Silent, unnoticeable, calm – none of these adjectives can be used to describe Emanuel “Will” Failla.
Silent, unnoticeable, calm – none of these adjectives can be used to describe Emanuel “Will” Failla. Born on December 2, 1967, in Long Island, he had earned his nickname “The Thrill” very early in his life, due to his confidence and conviction. Coming from the modest background, he was always a hard worker, prepared to do anything that was needed to prosper in life. When he started attending Nassau Community College, he was already a small time businessman, working in landscaping, at gas stations and has already become a real estate owner. He say himself that he was a hustler, making money any way he could. Most of what he would earn was spent to help his widowed mother and three siblings. Thanks to his hard work and dedication, he managed to grow his business further into a chain of carpeting and flooring stores. He also kept buying houses that he would rent, and by the time he was twenty six he was already a proud owner of eight of them.
Failla was not a stranger to casinos, but the only game that attracted his attention was Baccarat. The first time he got introduced to poker was during a home game that his friends invited him to. He immediately liked the game and started playing whenever he could. The only games that were played during that period were seven and five card stud. He was still not known as “The Thrill” in the poker circles. That came about when his girlfriend came with to a casino on one occasion, and, after he won a big hand, she said “that’s why I call him The Thrill”. As it often is with nicknames, it stuck, and before long nobody was calling him anything else.
His interest in poker grew even bigger after the big events in 2003. But it wasn’t until somewhat later that he really started taking it seriously. In 2005 he went to Las Vegas to play the WSOP Main Event, and he managed to finish in 234th position, winning slightly over $28,000. His real breakthrough came in 2007, when he went to play Foxwoods Poker Classic. After doing well in preliminary events, he went on to seal the deal by taking the first place in the Main Event, taking home $208,000. This was a turning point in his career and he continued to dominate the live tournaments, with his biggest score coming in 2011. This is when he went on to win the WPT Legends of Poker Main Event banking $758,000. To date, his overall winnings well exceed $4 million.
Will “The Thrill” Failla says that although the life of a poker pro certainly has its perks, he hates constant traveling and living out of a suitcase. But most importantly, he doesn’t like the fact that all the traveling takes away the time he could be spending with his son, whom he says is his friend as well and everything he does in life is primarily for him.