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Tom Koral: Living the Dream
At first glance, Tom Koral seems to blend in with the crowd.
While many players spend their time trying to be noticed, Koral tends to fly under the radar. He has over a half a million in tournament winnings but his story is a little different than most.
PL.com caught up with him before he took a seat at the final table of the Omaha H/L Championship,
Koral started playing poker, like many people, by depositing a small amount of money in an online poker room.
"Basically I started with $75 about five years ago. By the end of my first year I has turned it into six figures and basically I've never looked back. I basically turned nothing into a whole lot more than nothing," he said.
Koral did so well playing online that the site he was playing on offered him a sponsorship. That's where the fun started for him.
Though he now makes his living at the tables, poker is more than just a profession for him, it's a passion as well.
"I get to do something I love," he said. "I get to travel all over the world. I feel pretty blessed to be able to be a professional poker player.
"To do what I do, to do something I love, that's what everybody's dream is. I'm living the dream I guess."
Koral is living his dream and is obviously quite good at it. He told PokerListings he's never had a losing year playing poker, which isn't something many players can say with a straight face.
The Skokie, IL native has already cashed once earlier in this WSOP, taking 23rd in a $1,500 donkament.
Now he's amongst the final eight in the Omaha 8 World Championship.
Koral has been at a WSOP final table before so he knows what he's getting into. He told PL he feels good but it looks like he might need a little luck.
"I've come in with kinda short chips, but the blinds are so high that it's really anybody's ball game. The skill levels are so similar. It's just going to kind of come down to a big gamble."
Regardless of what happens today, we'll be seeing more of Koral at this year's WSOP.
"I'm basically going to play as many tournaments as I can without burning myself out," he said.
Given the youngster's amazing trajectory so far, it's almost a given that he'll be standing atop a WSOP podium soon enough.
Check out the 2009 WSOP section for full final-table coverage.