Jan 21, 2018
By Matt Clark
You might remember Greg Weber from the WPT Borgata Poker Open last year. The New Jersey firefighter almost missed Day 3 of the event due to a scheduling conflict with his full-time job. It all worked out for Weber, who finished second and collected multiple years worth of salary with the $471,059 runner-up prize.
Weber entered Day 2 of the Season XVI WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open refreshed and able to put in a full week of poker. Thanks to some planning ahead, Weber took the days off required to be able to commit to a final table run in Florida. Lucky Hearts was the first World Poker Tour attempt for Weber outside of his home state of New Jersey.
“I planned ahead this time, for once,” Weber chuckled. “I took a day off, which gives me a week. I got down here yesterday, played Day 1b, and I’m off [from work] until Friday. I scheduled it at the beginning of the year on January 1st when we put our time in. I definitely want to travel a little bit and plan some tournaments this time.”
The firefighter bond is a tight one and Weber says his choice to play poker sometimes forcing him to switch shift dates doesn’t always sit well with the crew. Weber thinks there is some jealousy but there remains a congenial atmosphere between him and his co-workers.
“There’s been some ‘Oh, Weber will give you money’ and that kind of ball busting,” Weber told WPT.com. “They keep it low key and try not to go too overboard. The quote they always say is, ‘They would rather see people do bad than do good,’ but the guys are great. The guys I work with are awesome and they always root for me.”
Playing for six-figures is stressful, but Weber never looks flustered at the table. The line of work Weber has chosen gives him the perspective of poker in Florida as a vacation. His parents decided joined him for the trip.
“They also wanted a vacation in January, so I was trying to plan it for either PCA or Florida,” Weber said. “We chose Florida and my mom is outside getting some sun right now.”
To reach a personal poker pinnacle was freeing for the 27-year-old. Weber chased a result like the one he achieved at Borgata for years and is amenable to gambling in spots he might not have before.
“I’m more relaxed and I’m willing to take some spots where I’m not 100% sure this is right, but I’m going to go for it because ‘Why not?’” he said.
Weber can thank his large payday and planned time away from the firehouse for being able to live out some of his poker dreams. The demanding job allows him minimal advance notice to take a day off and that situation arose at Borgata. He now has the first part of his year mapped out with a major bucket list item in the crosshairs.
“I’ve always wanted to come down to Florida and maybe Vegas for the WSOP,” Weber said. “Those were a couple of trips that I really wanted to do. I’m planning on going back home and playing the Borgata WPT which is where I came up in the game. I’m definitely going out to Las Vegas this summer to play the WSOP Main Event and a few other ones.”
Only a few months removed from winning a massive sum, Weber knew he wanted to play some larger events outside of his standard comfort zone. It took Weber barely any time at the Seminole Hard Rock property to be reminded of home.
“I think it’s very similar to the Borgata WPT where there are pros and other people I don’t recognize which might be Florida regulars and stuff like that,” he said.
The WPT Borgata Poker Open events are Weber’s “favorite” tournaments. Even though he’s in Florida for a different event at the moment, Weber trembled with excitement when talking about the opportunity waiting for him next week in Atlantic City.
“I took another day off for Borgata because I am never missing a Borgata WPT ever again after that,” Weber said.
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