A Deadly Disease and Three Million VPPs – WizardOfAhhs

Poker Players | estimated reading time
2011. January 11. |
As we indicated in our previous article on the Top Supernova Elite Players of 2010, here comes our writing, based in part on an earlier post at PokerStarsBlog.com, on how to amass 3 million VPPs in one years’ time; even more notably, on how to do so while fighting a deadly disease. Ladies and Gentleman, we present you the story of Kevin ‘WizardOfAhhs’ Thurman.
As you could read it in our earlier article, 342 players managed to reach Supernova Elite status, PokerStars’ highest VIP rank in 2010. They generated about 370 million VPPs in total, meaning approximately $63 million in rake. The most VIP points were collected by 31 years old Kevin ‘WizardOfAhhs’ Thurman, 3,055,385 to be exact (compared to the 1,000,000 in one calendar year needed for SNE status). What is more, he did so fighting a deadly disease and undergoing a chemotherapy treatment in the mean time.

Kevin Thurman
Kevin ‘WizardOfAhhs’ Thurman

Starting to play poker at the age of 8, Thurman soon turned out to be gifted and became a profitable player soon enough; "I'm pretty sure all profits went to toys and candy," he admits. During secondary school and college, of course, poker remained as his chief free time activity. After graduation with a degree in economics in 2001, he worked in the field for four years – despising it altogether. It was then that the first symptoms of his illness manifested, but he first believed he caught the flu or something less serious. After the days of sickness spread into weeks and then months, he was diagnosed with Lyme disease, along with co-infections. He was facing a long and demanding therapy which was not guaranteed to be successful.

Undergoing the treatment, Thurman decided to quit his job and turned to poker to maintain the lifestyle he needed to be able to recover. Starting to play in December, 2005 with a deposit of $500, he had $900,000 in less than a year. Although suffering some serious downswings at the nosebleed stakes, and eventually returning to $25/$50, he managed to build a solid bankroll of $2,000,000 over the past years.

To maintain focus on the game demands enormous willpower and faith from his part, reinforced by an album consisting of photos of his loved ones and everything important for him in his life: "It reminds me exactly why I push myself. It is a vivid visualization of my success. Body and mind are connected as one. It's important for me not to let my body dictate the mood and stamina of my mind," Thurman says.

He managed to break the record of VPPs made in a single calendar year. A more than remarkable feat in itself, it is all the more respectable given Thurman’s endurance in the face of the demanding therapy. Playing might be some kind of way to keep his edge and not to give in to the disease: "Playing 20,000 hands in a day isn't easy, but it's most definitely not the hardest thing a grinder will ever do." But try waking up the next day and doing it again... and then again. Now imagine doing that for a month straight without taking a day off. I don't think many people can do that without some serious planning, nutrition, and loads of ambition."

What else could we say than expressing our deepest respect towards WizardOfAhhs? You can see his PTR stats below and read the original article at PokerStarsBlog.com.

WizardOfAhhs PTR Stats

WizardOfAhhs PTR Stats 2


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