Card rooms and online sites send dozens of players to the WSOP each year, but the Chyzowych Poker Club spent five years pooling their resources to put one of their own in the WSOP Main Event.
Their representative: Robert Stine.
The Chyzowych Poker Club is comprised of a small group of high school teachers and was founded by former professional soccer player and coach, Eugene Chyzowych.
Chyzowych coached the USMNT in 1973 and went on to teach soccer at Columbia High School for 46 years.
During that time, Chyzowych amassed a record of 730 wins, 188 draws and 70 losses. It's the second-most wins of any academic coach in US history.
Chyzowych’s competitive appetite didn’t stop at the field and he started a poker club with his colleagues at Columbia High School.
“The home game is a group of 10 of us,” Stine said. “We play every Wednesday and for five years we took one dollar out of every pot we played and set it aside.
“Then we had a series of tournaments to see who would come represent us.”
Honoring the Late Eugene Chyzowych
Stine came out of the series victorious with two wins and one second-place finish.
Stine clinched the Main Event seat and the honor and legacy of the poker club rested on his stack.
So did the memory of the club’s founder, Eugene Chyzowych.
“[Chyzowych] died in May,” Stine said. “So we’re also doing this in a way to pay respect to him.”
“He was just a great man.”
And Stine is representing his club well so far.
Near the middle of Day 2c, Stine was well above average with 145,000 after starting the day with just 26,500.
Stine Doubles and Doubles
“I doubled up on a hand where I had king-three,” Stine said.
Stine ended up hitting a full house with threes full of kings while his opponent made an ace-high flush.
"He put me all in and I snap-called with a full house," Stine said.
Two hands later, Stine had pocket aces and doubled up against the same opponent.
There were two hearts on the flop and then a third came on the river.
"He shoved all-in and had me covered," Stine said. "All I had were my aces but I had the ace of hearts.
“I just kept thinking to myself, he’s representing the ace-high flush. He’s trying to make me think he has the ace-high flush, I know he doesn’t have the ace-high flush.”
Stine called and it was the right decision. His opponent had a busted straight draw and Stine doubled up to about 100,000.
Stine: "I Just Want to Make a Good Showing"
From there, Stine continued to rise until he sat with a comfortable 145,000.
Stine teaches chemistry at Columbia High School in New Jersey and is in Las Vegas for the first time. To prepare, Stine just brought his game.
“I didn’t [prepare],” Stine said. “I just said I’m going and gonna play my game and see what happens.”
Stine is still a few days from the money but he’s already achieving his goal.
“Obviously I’d love to cash,” Stine said. “But I just want to make a good showing.”