Greater Vancouver's Michael Niwinski in Final 27 of WSOP Main Event

Michael Niwinski2
Niwinski is one of two Canadians still in the Main Event.

The World Series of Poker Main Event has an $8 million first-place prize and Michael Niwinski from Burnaby is closing in on the final table.

Niwinski has made the final 27 players from a starting field of 6,737.

He's guaranteed $269,430 but the prizes increase steeply as more players are eliminated.

Niwinski received a BA in psychology from the University of British Columbia but chose professional online poker after graduating.

He said he would have had to pursue a graduate degree in order to get a job and since he was already making money playing poker on the internet, he decided to give it a shot playing for a living.

Vancouver's online poker community has grown since 2011 when internet poker was banned in the United States and many professionals traveled north to continue playing.

Watch Video of Vancouver Poker Players Michael Niwinski and Ami Barer

In this video we speak to Vancouver poker players Michael Niwinski and Ami Barer about going deep in poker's biggest tournament and how the Vancouver poker scene has changed since Black Friday.

Niwinski New to Big Live Tournaments

Niwinski plays cash games online and said he plays anywhere from $2/$4 to $10/$20 No-Limit Hold'em.

He doesn't have a lot of live experience, however, and his total live tournament earnings are only $13,405, barely more than the buy-in for the world championship he now has a chance of winning.

Michael Niwinski WSOP 2
“This was my dream, to come down to the World Series."

This is the first time Niwinski has played the $10,000 buy-in WSOP Main Event and he says it's exceeded even his wildest dreams.

“When I first entered the Rio and I saw the lights, the banners, the feature table, it definitely felt surreal,” Niwinski told PokerListings.com.

“This was my dream, to come down to the World Series. To actually get to this point where I'm one of the chip leaders on Day 5, I wasn't even thinking that.

“It would have been insane for me to think that on Day 1. So the feeling of getting this deep is just purely indescribable.”

Niwinski is in 15th place going into Day 7 and by the time the day is over he'll either be part of the November Nine or he'll be eliminated.

Check out the video with Michael Niwinski and fellow Vancouver poker pro Ami Barer below and check out our live coverage of the WSOP Main Event to see how deep Niwinski goes.

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