Scott Palmer was living with his parents and making millions of dollars playing high-stakes online poker. They had no idea.
“One Christmas my dad kept coming into my office and telling me to take the trash out. And I was playing $50/$100 against someone and I just kept saying no,” Palmer told PokerListings. “Later on he told me he was really upset that I didn't help. I told him I had just won $170,000 and he said I made the right decision.” Palmer started playing poker when he was 14 playing home games with his soccer teammates. A few years later he met Dan “Jungleman” Cates and the two began playing poker online. A couple years after that both Cates and Palmer were playing the highest stakes on the internet and winning millions of dollars.
Palmer Improved Fast with Help from Dan Cates
Palmer had a strong background in math and was learning poker fast. But he says things really switched into high gear when he started playing and discussing strategy with Dan "Jungleman" Cates. Dan Cates playing in the 2014 $1 million WSOP Big One for One Drop. From there he quickly realized the opportunity that high-stakes online poker presented.
“We thought everyone was really good at first but it turned out there was a lot of money to be made,” said Palmer. “When I first started playing high-stakes it was definitely surreal. The money didn't seem real.”
His parents knew he played poker but had no idea he was one of the most successful players worldwide. And would routinely win and lose more than a million dollars every month.
“They were pretty shocked. I was playing high-stakes for over a year and they thought I had made $100k or $200k when it was actually a lot more than that. It seemed a little too easy to make that much money. I figured it would be extremely difficult but I played a lot of people at $25/$50 and I was sure they were hustling me because they were so bad. But when I started playing higher stakes it dawned on me that there was actually a lot of money to be made there. For about two years I was either winning or losing $500k to $1.5 million, usually winning thankfully."
Millions Stuck for Palmer After Black Friday
Palmer reportedly had one of the largest balances on Full Tilt Poker. Then Black Friday shut down online poker in the United States. Putting hundreds of millions of dollars of player funds in limbo. It was years of uncertainty before Palmer found out he'd get the money back.
“When Black Friday happened I didn't believe it. Because I was playing two tables of $100/$200 PLO but when I sat out I realized it wasn't a joke,” said Palmer. “It was pretty sick at first. I had a lot of money on there, multiple millions. I didn't know what was going to happen. It was a ton of money for me. It was about half my roll."
Along with all US-based Full Tilt Poker customers, Palmer got the good news that the site's balances would be paid back when PokerStars acquired Full Tilt Poker and all their liabilities.