By Sean Chaffin
David Mock may be flying under the radar here a bit at the World Poker Tour Five Diamond World Poker, and hopes that works to his advantage. The Boston grinder spends much of his time playing at casinos in the northeast. He has $684,000 in live tournament wins including a recent runner-up finish just days ago in a $10,000 side event at Bellagio for $100,800. That followed a nice run in the World Series of Poker Main Event, where he took 193rd for $44,200. He’s now hoping that momentum continues, but lying low may be becoming more difficult.
“This is pretty cool,” he says of being in the field for the Five Diamond for the first time. “I’m not really a favorite in these fields, but just wanted to take a shot and every day you see people that you know or you’re friends with from playing poker for so long. It’s just a really prestigious event, so it’s really cool to be a part of it.”
The 33-year-old has been grinding it out for about a decade at Foxwoods and Borgata with some trips to Florida also thrown in. He’s mostly played WPT events on the East Coast and considers himself a mid-stakes player for the most part. He has only one WPT cash on his resumé, but was looking to change that at the Five Diamond as he advanced into the afternoon on Day 3 with more than 500,000 chips. When the money bubble burst, that meant at least $18,110.
Mock’s road to poker came the same way as many others in the game – dealing. He began pitching cards at a charity poker gaming dog track in New Hampshire. Other players who picked up the game through dealing include Scotty Nguyen, Mike Matusow, Johnny Chan, Ted Forrest, Layne Flack, and others. Mock believes being in the box helped him develop his skills on the other side of the table.
“I feel like most dealers learn and either stop dealing if they want to take that route, or they don’t learn and they stink because they’re crazy and they want to gamble,” he says. “But it helps a lot if you take it seriously.”
While poker was Mock’s main source of income for a decade, he transitioned to owning a small construction company during the winter. A friend offered him an ownership stake in the gutter business and Mock saw an opportunity. He manages much of the running of the business and also works in sales, while his partner manages the installation and cleaning crews.
Adding another job to his life has been a positive, giving him fewer worries when on the poker circuit.
“I think not relying on money from poker has made it a lot more fun and less stressful,” he says. “I could lose a couple bullets and at the end of the day my bills are paid. I don’t have to worry about it. I’m not stressing, I’m not feeling sick if I bust, or tilting or anything like that. It’s made life easier.”
The job doesn’t require him to be in the office 100 percent of the time and gives him more time at the poker table. In the winter months, his team is mostly cleaning gutters so that gives him more time to pick a few poker events on the calendar.
“The last two years I’ve just been going around playing poker for the three months I’m off,” he says. “I’ll just have some fun and go travel and see some friends.”
At the Five Diamond, Mock has been on a nice run that continued on Day 3. He caught fire early and won a big pot on the first hand of the day. Later, that was followed by eliminating Cary Katz.
“I’ve just gotten a lot of cards and won in all these little spots,” he says. “It was nice. I want to get today Day 4, just survive and advance. You’ve got to build chips because we’re all here to win, not min-cash rally – especially when you’re in for two bullets.”
Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer based in New Mexico and Texas. His work appears in numerous websites and publications. Follow him on Twitter @PokerTraditions.