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New York's George Wong Living ‘Rounders’ Dream at 2013 Main Event
New Yorker George Wong is making a fantastic run at the 2013 November Nine and has a story that should sound familiar to 99% of the poker world.
“I got into poker when I was finishing up at NYU,” he said.
“That was around when I started attending law school in the city. I began playing all the private games.”
It’s eerily similar to the plot of iconic poker film Rounders, where the protagonist Mike McDermott split his time between law school and poker.
“People make that reference all the time when they hear my story,” laughed Wong. “But yeah, I was playing private cash games during law school. I’m still involved in that scene actually."
Like McDermott, Wong didn’t pursue a legal career after he finished school and instead decided to focus on poker.
George Wong: "Words Can't Express How Much I Want This"
Of course there are also a number of big differences between Wong and the fictional McDermott.
Wong was born in Shanghai, China, and moved to New York when he was still young. Wong is happily married and his wife just gave birth to their first child, a boy, two months ago.
“He’s great,” he said. “I miss him so much. This is the first time I’ve been away from him for so long. A week feels like an eternity. My wife has been great.”
Also Wong doesn’t have a shady friend named Worm or owe a debt to a shady Russian.
Despite being more of a cash game grinder, Wong finds himself in the top 10 chip counts in the WSOP Main Event with less than 50 players remaining. He's already received the attention of the people at 888poker, who signed him to Team 888poker.
“This is the most prestigious event in the world,” he said.
“It’s any poker player’s dream just to make the final table. I’ve been playing poker for quite awhile now. I really love the community and the game. Words can’t express how much I want this.”
It’s anyone’s guess as to whether George Wong’s journey will have a fairytale ending but Mike McDermott’s last line in Rounders hits particularly close to home.
“First prize at the World Series of Poker is a million bucks,” narrated McDermott on his way to Vegas. “Does it have my name on it? I don't know. But, I'm gonna find out.”
Wong will find out if he gets his name on $8.3 million by the end of the 2013 Main Event.
Follow Wong's journey in our 2013 WSOP Main Event live updates.