Cheong: If You're a Poker Pro You Have to be at WSOP

Joe Cheong
Joe Cheong is riding a mega-heater straight into the 2013 WSOP.

The 44th annual World Series of Poker kicks off today and according to former November Niner Joe Cheong, if you're a pro this is a must-play event.

“If you're a professional poker player you have to be here,” Cheong told after registering for tonight's $5,000 buy-in event.

“You can't find tournaments like this anywhere else.”

In 2010 Cheong finished third in the Main Event, pocketing over $4.1 million, so he has fond memories of the WSOP.

As a full-time live tournament pro Cheong is on the road most of the time and the WSOP is his only chance to spend a few uninterrupted months at home in Las Vegas.

Add to that the fact that Cheong has been on a serious heater so far in 2013 and he's got plenty of reasons to be excited about another World Series of Poker.

Cheong has earned over $2.6 million this year, highlighted by a $1.3 million win at the Manila Millions and two six-figure runner-ups in High Roller events on the WPT and at the WSOP Asia Pacific.

And he's riding that momentum straight into the WSOP.

“Confidence is everything in poker,” said Cheong. “If you're on a downswing you're not going to play your best and you're not going to trust yourself.

“This is the first time I've come into the WSOP on a good year and I think that's going to count for a lot," he said.

WSOP a “Summer Camp” for Poker Community

While the millions of dollars and sixty-odd pieces of gold hardware hog the majority of the spotlight, the World Series is about more than just winning tournaments.

UK poker reporter Marc Convey has worked extensively on the European Poker Tour and has been coming to the WSOP since 2006.

Players from all over the world converge on Las Vegas for the WSOP.

This year he's part of the WSOP live reporting team.

According to Convey the excitement surrounding the WSOP extends far beyond Las Vegas and the United States.

“The EPT is really big in Europe but there's something very special about the World Series,” he said. “It really is like a summer camp for poker players.”

And in a poker world where more people compete online than live, the WSOP offers a real-world setting where players can meet and forge real friendships.

“Players come over in groups and share houses and sell action to each other. Strong bonds are formed here,” said Convey.

“Even just looking at the British players that I know well, you see what happens when one of them makes a final table and everyone rallies around them.

“That really shows how much spirit and excitement there is for the World Series.”

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