Joseph Young, DO, is the medical director for the emergency department at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. In July 2018, he placed 343 out of 7,784 entrants in the World Series of Poker’s prestigious Texas Hold ’em Main Event, held in Las Vegas, taking home $37,705 in cash. The tournament entry fee was a staggering $10,000, but the winning player earned over $9 million. We recently spoke about poker, emergency medicine, and wellness.
JF: How often do you play and when did you start playing seriously?
JY: I started in high school. As an undergraduate in Tampa, there was a casino nearby. They only had limit games. I would go and read books and play. During residency [at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in in Dallas] I started playing some cash games and small tournaments. When I finished residency, I found a bunch of hospital colleagues at work who liked to play, and we formed a home poker league. In fact, our sixth season is starting this Sunday. We had 10 players, and we played over 10 months for $100 per month. The winner of the league takes the entire $10,000 pot and uses it for the World Series of Poker entry fee. This year, we are up to 24 players, so we can send two players to the Main Event. Seventy percent of any winnings goes to the winning player and the remaining 30 percent is split among the other players in the league.
JF: How many times have you seen the film “Rounders”?
JF: And “Molly’s Game”?
JY: That’s a great film.
JF: Was this summer your first time playing in a professional poker tournament?
JY: This was actually my second time in the World Series of Poker Main Event. I won the league last year, so I got the entry fee. This year, I paid my own way.
JF: How did last year go?
JY: Last year I did terribly; I busted on the first day. I lost three sets over sets to the same guy. Terrible. [Note: This means he had three of a kind, but that the other player had a higher three of kind. Having it happen three times to the same player is extremely bad luck.]