College senior Peter Calvo took a trip to Las Vegas in June after just turning 21. However the trip is not just some rite of passage to manhood, he is there to compete in the prestigious World Series of Poker.
The next two months in Las Vegas will be a test for Calvo's skill in the game of poker as he competes against the best the world over in the various tournaments of the 2006 WSOP at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino. The young poker player has in his sights the honor of being the youngest player to win an event at the WSOP.
The McDaniel student has been playing poker for two years, as a hobby with friends in the beginning then moving on to online poker. He has since won $60,000, making him confident that he has a pretty good shot. "Anybody can learn how to play poker, and it's easier now to get better very quickly, " Calvo said. "But to be very good, you have to take it to the next level. You have to be fearless, " he explained.
"It's not all about the money, " Calvo said. "I'd rather play poker than have an office job where I can make twice as much."
Calvo had never played poker until stepping into college. And college has taught him a thing or two when as a freshman, he started competing in small games with $5 buy-ins. The bets grew larger with time until he met online poker. He would play after classes and would play extensively. Once, Calvo won close to $18, 000 in just over two days, his biggest 'run' online.
"It was just always easy for me to sit there and tell when to make certain moves, " said Calvo. "I always really liked the psychological aspects of the game."
Calvo believes that there isn't a key to becoming a good poker player. Based on his experience, one just has to be cool and collected just like when he plays his poker games in a laid back manner. He admits though that one of his strengths lie in playing aggressively. He said that the big difference between good and great players is the ability to win when you don't have good cards. Calvo plans to finish his education at McDaniel, where he's majoring in communications and minoring in business and film and video studies. He estimated that he will probably spend $30, 000 on the WSOP, but it's not just a crusade to win more cash.
"I'm looking at it as a chance to prove myself to others, " he said. "But also to prove myself to myself."
July 12, 2006