Dan Lowery is one of the most successful players on the World Series of Poker Circuit. Before Monday, he already won five Circuit rings and hundreds of thousands of dollars on the Circuit alone. On Monday evening, Lowery crossed off the elusive main event win off the poker checklist.
The Arkansas native won his sixth Circuit ring after defeating a 908-entry field in the $1,675 no-limit hold’em main event to win $258,784 at Choctaw Casino and Resort in Durant, Oklahoma. Lowery’s poker talent was never in question by anybody who has seen the 43-year-old play, but with six previous main event final tables and three runner-up finishes, he felt that he needed to come out on top.
He felt pressure to close this out. It was the first time he ever felt pressure on the felt.
“I’ve been in so many big spots and come up second three times,” said Lowery. “I felt pressure today that I’ve never felt. There’s been so many people saying ‘Oh, you’re going to get second again?’ and it just rings in my head. After a while it does get to you, I guess.”
Lowery is a part of the RunGoodGear.com team and plays a lot of poker in Oklahoma. At Choctaw, the banners of all the main event winners hang in the rafters. Many of Lowery’s closest poker friends have their picture hanging high above the poker tables in the tournament area. Now, Lowery’s picture will hang next to theirs.
It makes the win even more special for him.
“Here at Choctaw, it’s like my home away from, really,” said Lowery. “There’s five banners up here from my teammates and they’re always bragging and talking about ‘Oh, Lowery gets there all the time, but he can’t finish.’ That’s our friends, that’s our peers. The ring doesn’t mean two shits to me as much as that.”
It was one of those players that have their face on a banner, two-time ring winner Michael Sanders, that gave Lowery some sage advice that helped produce these results.
“Michael Sanders told me, I think two and a half years ago, he says ‘You build stacks so often early. I don’t know anybody does it better,’” said Lowery. “But I’ve had a leak as far as certain times midway through the tournament and Sanders said ‘Midway through the tournament, you’ve got to find a way to survive regardless of what your stack is because later in the tournament you’re a beast.’ I took those words to heart and then I won three rings in three stops. I think that was a turning point for me, just that little conversation with him.”
Lowery’s personal life also produced something that made him more focused recently than he’s been in the past. He and his wife, Krista, had their first child. He has children from a previous marriage, but since having his new son, Gus, in his life, his priorities shifted. He hopes to become more of a family man and less of a poker player in the long run.
He took six months off from playing poker and didn’t do anything but stay at home with his family. Those six months away from the felt helped him regain focus and connect with his other kids.
“I got closer to my daughters in the process,” said Lowery. “I feel bad being on the road, but it’s been for them. The money has been for them to try and give them a better life, you know?”
Since the time off, his results have been nothing but impressive.
“Everything I’ve played, I’ve done huge,” said Lowery. “We looked it up the other day and over the past year, I have like 30 cashes and like 17 or 18 final tables. It’s the biggest year I’ve ever had. It’s the biggest year I could dream of.”
He’s fresh off a Casino Championship in Tahoe and a main event win in Choctaw. Even with the results that he is putting up, Lowery hopes to be on the road less and at home to watch his new son grow up. If he’s going to be on the road, he wants to make it worth missing out on any time with his family.
“If I’m going to be in this poker room for 14 hours a day, missing everything he’s doing as he’s growing up, then I want to excel,” said Lowery.
He has no plans of encouraging his kids to enter the poker world. There are downsides and vices to the world that he wants to shield his kids from. At the same time, he wants to make his family proud, even if it is poker.
“I do want them to be proud of me for something,” he said. “I’m not going to use the word legacy or something. Like, this isn’t something I want to be known for, but this is what I am known for. I used to be on the basketball circuit. I used to be coaching basketball and we were really successful with that, but this is worldwide.”
His first main event win gives him just shy of $1 million in earnings on the Circuit alone. Most players with that much money won and six rings on his resume play for a living. Lowery, however, doesn’t rely on poker for an income.
He runs a logging and saw mill business in Arkansas that he started with his dad over two decades ago. Over the last year, he’s worked harder on expanding that business into timber, which is one of the biggest industries in Arkansas. Ironically, he got into the business world for the same reason that most younger players get into poker full-time.
“My dad and I started it together and I’ve been doing it since I was a kid,” said Lowery. “It was easy for me to make my own money and never answer to anybody.”
The final table that Lowery navigated through, and the late stages of the tournament in general, was filled with tough players. The final two tables alone saw players like bracelet winner and two-time ring winner Mike Cordell, five-time ring winner Kurt Jewell, and Aaron Massey still in the hunt with two tables remaining. At the final table, Lowery dealt with bracelet winner and two-time ring winner Kevin Eyster and top pro Nick Schwarmann, while runner-up Walter Rodriguez drew high praise from all the players at the table.
By coming out on top of a field as tough as this, Lowery proves that he can beat more than just recreational players playing smaller stakes. At the end of the day, however, Lowery just cares about making sure he keeps food on the table for his family.
“Everybody has always told me that I can beat weaker players,” said Lowery. “I can exploit weaker tables. And that’s a good thing to be able to do. Some people have trouble with weak players. I was at one table over here that was the toughest table I’ve been on in a while. I don’t get to play with those type of pros all the time, but I do give them a bit of a hard time because I do play a little different.
“A lot of people say that I’m hard to play against. It’s not because I play great. It’s because I play a little unorthodox at times. It doesn’t matter to me. I’m getting the results and as long as I’m feeding these babies, that’s all that matters to me.”
Final Table Results:
|Place||Player||Earnings (USD)||POY Points|
Source/Content Credit: wsop.com