Cue the music from an old western movie and visions of cowboys facing off in the desert. They're goal is to be the last one standing once the dust settles, and even though those western days are long gone, the shootout remains, only now it's in poker form.
It can be a dangerous event for poker players as they're taken out, table by table to get down to one remaining player, but for Donald Baruch, it may be the event that turns his poker hobby into something more.
Baruch, the owner of an investment management company in Tampa, Fla., plays poker as a serious hobby and has been to the World Series a few times. But it was his shot at the 2007 World Series of Poker $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em Shootout that turned out to be his lucky event.
It was his first major event cash, and his first major event win all rolled up into one, giving him $264,107 to add to his bankroll.
The win brought him to a level with some of the poker pros he admires, two of which he actually got to have dinner with back home in Florida.
Don Baruch got taught to play poker by his father
He happened to run into Phil Ivey and Barry Greenstein at the country club he frequents and ended up going out to dinner with them. He didn't talk too much poker with them, but enjoyed the time just the same.
"It was neat to spend time with those guys because they were sort of bigger than life; but when you go and have a drink with them and dinner with them with their wives and girlfriends they're not really different from the rest of us," he said in an interview with PokerListings.com. "They're just good poker players and good guys."
The Floridian's poker experience goes back to childhood when he learned to play poker from his father. It wasn't until the last few years however that he started to take the game more seriously.
Baruch has been playing at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tampa to hone his game whenever his wife will let him. With a win under his belt and his wife getting a chance to watch him play, Baruch is hoping he'll get to play more now.
"It's the first time my wife has ever had a chance to watch me play a whole table, and I think it gave her a good appreciation," Don Baruch said. "You know, it's hard work, and I work hard on my game. It was a fun experience, and I look forward to the next one."