Saskatoon man punches ticket to 2017 World Series of Poker

This week Gibson took home almost $40,000 in the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority Poker Championship and a seat at the 2017 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Waylon Gibson set to face some of his poker heroes in Las Vegas

A Saskatoon man took home $40,000 and a seat for the 2017 World Series of Poker after winning the SIGA Poker Championship. (Terry Roberts/CBC)

Saskatoon's Waylon Gibson has come a long way from high school poker nights with the 33rd Street poker crew 15 years ago.

This week, Gibson took home almost $40,000 in the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority Poker Championship and a seat at the 2017 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, Nevada.

"It felt pretty amazing to win the SIGA championship, I'm still kind of waiting for it to sink in, but I'm just trying to enjoy the moment," Gibson told CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning, adding the big payday will likely be split between buying a house and taking a trip or two.

This is Gibson's second crack at the SIGA title. Last year he finished in 15th place out of almost 400, so this year he went in thinking he had a fighting chance to win the top prize.

"I had gotten a lot better in the last few years, fixing my weaknesses and I just went in there trying to play my game and one step at a time," Gibson said.
Waylon Gibson won nearly $40,000 at the SIGA Championship this month. He also won a seat at the World Series of Poker in 2017. (SIGA)

He added his biggest weakness, like many players, is patience. Seems Gibson took advice from Kenny Rogers.

"Sometimes I'd be too aggressive. I wouldn't be able to hold a good hand and wait for the next one, just try and be more patient," he said.

The patience definitely paid off as Gibson punched his ticket to the biggest poker game of his life.

"It's a dream come true for anyone who plays poker, that's the top of the mountain. It's going to be a huge opportunity and I want to make the most of it," Gibson said.

Studying the pros

Unlike many of his opponents, Gibson has never sat with a stack of chips on such an international level. But he's watched his fair share of poker on television and if he goes up against any of his poker heroes, he says he's got a leg up.

"I think I have the advantage where these are players that I've watched play and I can see the stuff they've done. They don't know me coming in there, so I'm just looking to use that as much as I can too. It should be exciting that's for sure," he said, adding beyond that, he hopes to get some photos and autographs of those same players.

Odds against him

Moments after winning the SIGA Championship, the dealer told Gibson they'd sent a lot of players to the World Series of Poker, but none have lasted long enough to win big money.

"I told them I was changing that," Gibson said.

Even if he makes the top 100, he could be in line for $100,000.

With files from CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning