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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Galen Hall, San Francisco Man, Wins $2.3 Million Playing Poker

Posted By on Thu, Jan 27, 2011 at 7:29 AM

click to enlarge The gambler
  • The gambler
It was not Galen Hall's political science degree from Berkeley that helped him become a millionaire -- it was his knack for playing cards.

Just barely out of college, Hall, who just turned 25 a few days ago, has more spending power than most people his age. He recently took home  $2.3 million from the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure poker tournament in the Bahamas. He beat out more than 1,500 players from around the world in one of the highest stake competitions for professional poker players.

It was an especially tense tournament since viewers-- for the first time ever -- could watch the game unfold live on TV. Players were sequestered in different rooms during the games, while viewers could clearly see every card.

"It was a grueling match, I had been playing for seven days straight," Hall said. "I was relieved that I didn't lose."

He has no plans to spend that money on a new car or a down payment on a

house. Instead, Hall plans to use part of his winnings to pay his way

through Stanford business school where he's starting classes in the

fall. The rest of the money he wants to invest and save up to start his

own company.

His win wasn't just a streak of good luck. Hall has been playing strategy games since he could count. He  started playing cards in high school with friends and as he got better, it turned from a hobby to a sport -- and now it's his profession.

Last year, Hall earned $1 million playing online poker on Wednesdays and Sundays. Of course, he only took home $200,000 of that after taxes and paying off his backers.

"It's my primary source of income," said Hall.

Then why even bother going to business school? It seems like Hall already has a good business model. Hall says he wants to start his own company one day, while playing poker on the side.

"I've always been an entrepreneur," Hall said.

And a gambler.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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