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Brad Gibson - You'll Hear About Him
You probably haven't heard of poker player Brad Gibson yet, but you will. He's the first deaf person to enter the World Series of Poker and he's on a mission - a couple of missions, actually. The first is obvious: to play well in the Main Event. The second mission is to bridge the gap between the deaf community and the poker world through his Web site Deaf Rounders. I had the pleasure of meeting with the 28-year-old entrepreneur to discuss his poker playing and his plans for the hearing impaired.
How long have you been playing poker?
I've played cards almost all my life from Gin Rummy with my mother since I was very young. I started playing Seven-Card Stud and Hold'em when I was in college. In 1997, that's when I discovered the game of poker. I've been playing professionally for a year so far.
Which events are you entering here at the WSOP?
Event 37 - No-Limit Hold'em and the Main Event.
How did you get your seat in the Main Event?
Playing cash games around the city and promoting myself for a piece of the buy-in.
What is Deaf Rounders?
I founded DeafRounders.com to expand the poker network for the deaf. There's a deaf league in the U.S., and it's a non-profit organization. Mostly I do promoting on the Web site such as player profiles, posts, etc. There are approximately 100,000 deaf people in the U.S. who are very fond of poker, so I decided that it would be ideal to expand its network to everyone.
How many people are involved in Deaf Rounders?
So far, just one. But there will be several more deaf people joining up. We do have our own National Deaf Poker Tour. We also have a weekly Deaf Poker Tournament online at FullTiltPoker.com every Wednesday. There will be several more serious deaf players coming to the WSOP in the future. I believe that the N.D.P.T. will sponsor at least five players to enter the WSOP Main Event in 2007.
Do you find it challenging to play poker in an auditory world?
Not for me, but yes for other deaf people. I grew up in a hearing world, so I'm an expert in reading body language, and I apply this skill to my game. For example, I study everyone's betting patterns, and I have an excellent memory of how people play. I also like to draw hearing people into trying to bully me out of the game. At that point, I make huge advances thanks to their poor judgment towards deaf people such as myself.
What are your hopes at this year's WSOP?
To get myself recognized by the pros, to show them that deaf people can play just as well as anyone else. So far, I believe I have made a start in becoming recognized here. I believe anyone can play in this tournament as an equal.
What do you love about poker?
I love the game of people, it's like an art. When someone wins a big event, he or she gets all the respect from the poker community. That's what I like the most about the game. I'm not saying that I want to be the center of attention, I'm just fond of the game itself. And the payout isn't bad either.
Who is your favorite poker player and why?
None except for Andy Bloch. He seems the most interesting to me.
Thanks, Brad. Good luck in the Main Event.