Meet Some of the ClubWPT Qualifiers Playing the WPT World Championship
The World Poker Tour (WPT) World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas is happening now, and the field is chock-full of qualifiers, many of who won a $12,500 WPT World Championship Passport on ClubWPT.
Below is a look at a handful of qualifiers who will be worth keeping an eye on as one of the industrys biggest and most prestigious events plays out.
Plus, here is a look at some past ClubWPT qualifiers PokerNews has profiled headed into the WPT World Championship:
Check out the WPT Hub on PokerNews here!
A 75-year-old retired contractor, Jim Barger will be joined in Vegas by his wife of 56 years, Sharon, as well as his daughter, Kimberly. and his golf buddy and his wife, Dean and Maureen Butterfield.
I have been playing poker as long as I can remember, my parents had a poker table in their basement, said the father of four. I have been a member of ClubWPT for four years. I have played in the WSOP Super Seniors in 2015. By far winning this package to the WPT tournament beating 2,000 players is my proudest accomplishment.
He added: I am looking forward to playing against the pro's and I would like to meet Scotty Nguyen because he seems to be such a nice regular guy; Phil Helmuth because I think he is the greatest poker player alive; and Mike Matusow because of his passion for the game.
Catlin Lockhart Hopes to Make Poker a Career
Hailing from Oxford, Nova Scotia, Canada, 34-year-old Catlin Lockhart is currently unemployed but playing lots of poker grinding hoping to make this my career.
The only thing holding here back right now? That would be a big bankroll, something she hopes to remedy at the WPT World Championship.
I have never played a WPT event or been to Las Vegas, so I am looking forward to it."
I was struggling with bankroll on other sites and it was a cheap option to try so I took a shot and met up with stream team, she said of finding ClubWPT. I joined a great group. I do pretty good and have taken down multiple tournaments, lots of deep runs and final tables.
Winning a seat to the WPT World Championship is her proudest poker accomplishment to date and gives her a shot to make my dreams come true.
Without it I would not be able to play, she shared. I have never played a WPT event or been to Las Vegas, so I am looking forward to it. I'm looking forward to seeing Vegas, meeting the stream team, having the VIP experience, and playing some good poker.
Among the poker pros she hopes to meet while in Vegas, which she will visit alongside her mother, are Phil Ivey, Phil Hellmuth, Scotty Nguyen, Maria Ho, Brad Owen, and Andrew Neeme.
Michael Capo is Ready for the Spotlight
Hailing from West Newbury, Massachusetts, 59-year-old Michael Capo is married to his wife Sandra and has two sons, Chris & Joseph.
I have a Masters Degree in Accounting and own a small CPA Firm in Newburyport, Capo told PokerNews. I learned poker on my own mostly by just going to Foxwoods Casino and started playing in small tournaments but never really had the time to play much because I had my own business which was growing and I spent most of my free time coaching youth sports mostly hockey and baseball as my kids were growing up.
Capo joined ClubWPT in May 2020 during the COVID lockdowns.
I try to play a few times a week and tend to cash in a handful of events each month. I think the most I won was $900 one day, he said. Ive never been to a WPT event but have gone to the WSOP the past two summers for the experience. Played in tournaments that were less than $1,500 buy-ins. Over the years I played in tournaments at Foxwoods.
He added: I am pretty confident now when I play and feel that I can advance deep in most tournaments and I believe that the more I play, the better player I will become, and hopefully sooner than later good results will happen. My decision-making is much improved now I just need a little luck as well Honestly, I am looking forward to playing with the best players around. I believe in order to be the best you need to beat the best. Although I am an amateur and at a distinct disadvantage playing against so many great players at once who are much more experienced in all aspects of the game and have considerably deeper pockets but I am confident and looking forward to seeing how far I can advance.
As for who hed like to play against, Capo wouldnt mind crossing paths with Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth.
Ken Turkington Heads from the Links to the Felt
One of the older players in the field is sure to be Ken Turkington, who will turn 79 in January. He hails from Destrehan, Louisiana where he retired eight years ago as the president of Nuarrow Industries. Married with one son and two grandchildren, Turkington is an avid golfer who learned to play poker back in 1968 when he was in the Navy.
I have been a member since its inception, Turkington said of ClubWPT. Great value for the money.
Turkington, who said hes been to Vegas many times, once finished in second place in a Seniors Event at the Beau Rivage in Mississippi, which is his proudest poker accomplishment to date.
I am looking forward to being a part of a big tournament. I would like to meet Darren Elias. I think he is the best player in the world. I would also like to meet Maria Ho. She looks like a class act, said Turkington, who will be accompanied to Vegas by his wife, Suzanne, and his son, Adam.
Colorados Charles Guttierez to Play in His First WPT
Colorados Charles Guttierez, 59, works as a production manager for a structural steel company, who along with his wife, Lee, has one son and two grandchildren. Known as Tcb802 on ClubWPT, it is a combination of his love for Elvis and his high series in bowling.
"I would say winning the Passport to the WPT World Championship is my proudest poker accomplishment."
We have poker in the mountains during the winter, but I don't care for the drive and I can play ClubWPT when I want, he said of joining the site four or five years ago. Ive won some money here and there, but this is by far the most exciting thing so far.
While Guttierez has played in a few WSOP tournaments and cashed a Heartland Poker Tour (HPT) event, his trip to Vegas will mark his first WPT event.
I would say winning the Passport to the WPT World Championship is my proudest poker accomplishment, he said. I am looking forward to the atmosphere and meeting the WPT family.
Making his way to Las Vegas all the way from Budva, Montenegro is 33-year-old Vitaly Demyanenko. Originally from Russia, the last six years Demyanenko and his wife of 15 years had been living in Sochi, before in Omsk city, Siberia, with the current war taking them to Montenegro.
I'm a professional poker player, he said before sharing he learned the game during his second year at the niversity. Demyanenko, who joined ClubWPT back in August, will be making his first-ever trip to the United States.
Primarily a cash game player, Demyanenko has played in a handful of EPT Main Events.
I'm happy to be a participant of this event, he said while sharing he will be joined by two friends.. I hope to show a good game and result. When I was young I watched some poker shows like Poker After Dark, so it will be interesting to meet any heroes of this show.
Get to Know Youssef The African Tiger Aly
One of the more colorful qualifiers in the field will be Youssef The African Tiger Aly, who was given the nickname based on his personality.
I always fear no one. Plus, there are no tigers in Africa so they gave me that unique nickname because it fits me, the 40-year-old said. Born in Cairo, Egypt, Aly moved to the USA when he was 18 years old.
I am proud to say that I am a self-made man, he shared. I worked in the food industry for many years in food production management for such companies as Cargill, Tyson Foods, and Butterball. Currently I am a contractor in Tennessee for Mid-south Electric.
In addition to working and playing poker, The African Tiger has many hobbies.
I am a master diver and also love traveling to different destinations for diving and culture. I have been to over 15 countries in my lifetime. I have a burning passion for boxing, judo, and Muay Tai. These were the sports I grew up participating in and it's an integral part of who I am. These sports are what built the fighter in me that never quits.
As for poker, he started playing back in 2015 in Clarksville, Tennessee at various home games.
I owe it all to Marcus Gildersleeve, who took me under his wing when I first started, and to my current coach Danny Calway-Fagen. Poker comes naturally to me being that Im a people person and I think it fits my personality perfectly.
Aly is one of the few qualifiers not to win his seat via ClupWPT. Instead, he won his seat by winning the Tournament of Champions in Pearl River, Mississippi.
Im super excited to represent them and myself to the best of my abilities. I absolutely love Las Vegas and have been there on a few occasions and very much looking forward to returning. I havent played in too many massive tournaments as this will be the biggest Ive partaken in to date.
Aly may not have played in too many big tournaments, but hes already shown he has what it takes to navigate big fields.
I would say my proudest accomplishment, and what vaulted my confidence in tournament poker, was my fourth-place finish in the WSOP Cherokee Circuit Main Event. That was a six-figure score and really made me believe I could run deep with consistency in big events. Im very excited about getting back to Vegas and bringing my wife as well, and we will be enjoying all that Las Vegas has to offer.
Whats more, Aly took three months off to clear my mind and better prepare myself for it and Im greatly looking forward to it The African Tiger is ready for the WPT!
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