Actor Ray Romano avoided getting his son Matt any clichéd gifts for his 21st birthday by instead helping him into the $10,000 buy-in 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event, which has a $10 million first-place prize.
Ray has been playing the World Series of Poker for eight years now and Matt always followed along from home.
“For my 21st birthday he said that if I raised $5,000 than he and my mom would put up the other half,” Matt said.
“So I’ve been doing that for the last year or two. This is awesome.”
The World Series of Poker Main Event is the biggest tournament on the planet and the entire Romano family has been following the event closely on TV.
“Every time he plays he texts us with updates,” Matt said. “Whenever he’s here it’s a big day for us back home too. Now to be part of it with him, it’s kind of crazy.”
Son Looking to Outlast Father in Main Event
Matt, who works as a production assistant on the Jimmy Kimmel show, doesn’t want to follow in his father’s footsteps at the WSOP too closely however.
“I picked up poker from my dad,” he said. “I guess you could say he taught me but he’s 0-7 at the WSOP so I don’t know what that says about me.
Matt seemed right at home through the first level of play of the 2014 event and after winning a few small pots found himself around the starting stack of 30,000 chips.
“I’m slowly getting the hang of it,” said Matt. “I can’t really complain. This is fun.”
There’s a healthy level of competition between Matt and his father and the pair are having a last-longer contest in the Main Event.
Ray even went so far as to say he’d buy a drink for the player who knocked out his son.
“My dad is 0-7 so to say I’m worse than him is hard to do,” Matt said.
“We’ll find out. We have a last longer bet so hopefully we’re both still around in a few days. We’re amateurs to say the least but I know what I’m doing here and there. “
Ray, for his part, saw the humor in buying his son into a high-stakes poker tournament in Las Vegas.
“If he busts then I’m taking him to the chicken ranch,” joked Ray.