Dennis Phillips hasn't made any plans yet, except that he is not quitting his job. PL.com is going to do something crazy and predict that Phillips will soon hold a record for maintaining a chip lead for the longest period of time that anybody ever has, in any poker tournament, in the history of time.
This is the only event Phillips played at the World Series, and he made it count! After qualifying for the ME for just a couple of hundred dollars, Phillips has locked up over $900,000 already. Not only does he already have a freshly printed check burning a hole in his pocket, but he has four months to figure out how he is going to go about adding another zero to that number.
PL.com waited patiently for Phillips to bag his chips before pouncing on him for the interview. By the end of it there were half a dozen eager reporters who had joined in.
Tell us a little bit about where you are from and what your poker background is.
I'm Dennis Phillips, born in Quincy, Ill. I live outside of St. Louis now. I work with a commercial truck dealer down there in St. Louis - Broadway Truck Centers. I basically sell service-truck types of trucks; whatever it happens to be. Whatever a contractor or a roofer would need. I started poker a few years ago. Loved the cash games, found out I had a knack for the tournaments, and here I am. It's been working really well.
Are you going back to work?
I'm going to get back to work probably on either Wednesday or Thursday. In fact, everyone from work has been calling me. They're probably calling me again right now [reaches for phone].
Isn't it early for them?
It is. Unfortunately, for them, they were basically having an all-night party waiting for me to get done.
How long have you been playing for?
I've only been playing for about four years. I've played cards - in fact, I used to play contract bridge and all - so I'm pretty adapted to cards.
What do you attribute this run to? What do you think got you here?
I don't know. It's a lot of different things. I played the cards, I think I played them fairly well - very good competition. A lot of times it's just getting the right cards at the right time and getting play.
Would you rather play this one out right away rather than wait the four months?
I absolutely would. I really would. I'm so hyped and ready to go right now. I've been on a real roll here lately and I would love to continue it but I understand it, I understand the format. I don't have any problems with it.
What are you going to do now and for the next four months? Some people have mentioned coaching ...
Everybody is talking about - basically I'm gonna sleep for about three days, but when I get done with that [sigh], anything I do to hone my skills a little bit, obviously I'm gonna try and do. I really don't see myself getting a coach for something. I haven't had one yet. I'm pretty confident in my own abilities, so we'll see.
Who do you think is the toughest player at the table?
Oh no! I'm not gonna say that. Oh no, no, no, no! I do have them ranked. I basically know which guy I least wanna face.
Will you watch all the shows on television to try and see how everyone else plays?
Oh yeah, absolutely. I'll probably memorize every play. Bet these other guys will too. These are good, good players. When you get down from almost 7,000 players, these are good players.
I see you have an envelope in your hand. It says it's an invitation from the Rio. What's that all about?
I do! We basically have an invitation for the nine of us for a party tomorrow. They're also going to give us all the other instructions and everything. I think they gave a little something else in the envelope too ... with about six figures!
How many events did you play?
This is the only one.
Did you buy straight in?
No I did not. I won a satellite at Harrahs St. Louis. It was a $200 buy-in for 100 players. I ended up winning that. More or less a winner-take-all. The gentleman that finished ninth here in '05 was the guy I went head to head with. It was kinda tough to even get here - he's a dangerous player too - but I made it here and everything worked out. Hey, I'm ecstatic! What more could you ask for?
Thank you very much. It's like a dream come true!
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Dennis Phillips was then whisked away by some television network that claimed to have important things for him to do like be on TV or something. He was spotted almost two hours later at one of the dining establishments inside the Rio. When PL.com asked him if he had been hostage for the entire time, he replied with a grim nod.
We're not sure what they did to him, but he has four months to recover before he has to come back to battle for the glory! Oh, the money is good too.