By Sean Chaffin
Playing fast has taken on a different meaning for Five Diamond start of Day 3 chip leader Calvin Anderson. The 30-year-old poker pro comes back into Bellagio with an empty stomach – and it’s been that way for almost two weeks now.
“I haven’t really told a lot of people, but I haven’t really eaten food in 12 days,” he said after the day’s action concluded on Wednesday. “I’m on a water fast right now. I made a bet with a friend. I don’t really want to go into the details of it, but it wasn’t just how long you could go. He had to do something too and we break even most of the time, so it’s pretty friendly.
“I’ve wanted to do it for a while. I’ve been vegan for five years and just practicing ways to become more conscious. I intend to do it for a minimum of 14 days, but I’m going to try and go up to 30.”
Bagging the lead on Day 2 wasn’t easy, and he was pleased with his progress and ability to accumulate chips.
“It went smoothly,” he said. “I moved tables once. I don’t like to brag on myself or anything, but I got it in for six flips and lost them all. And I got Queens to Jacks once and won that. Besides that. I’ve been taking pots post-flop mostly and just either my bluffs worked or I made a hand and got paid. That’s kind of how it’s been going.”
Health fasts aside, Anderson has feasted on opponents at the poker table through the years. He has $2.2 million in live tournament winnings including two World Series of Poker bracelet. While he only has about $24,000 in winnings on the WPT, he’s hoping to change that this week at Bellagio.
“December’s my favorite month of the year because a lot of people have extra money and they come out and spend it,” he says. “This is a phenomenal tournament. I didn’t expect it to be this good.”
Since beginning his fast, Anderson has lost 20 pounds and sees the practice as a way to cleanse his body. He’s a fan of vegan diet and lifestyle guru Taylor Budd and believes fasting gives the body a break. Despite not eating, he feels good and isn’t craving food.
Along with fasting, he goes through breathing exercises and practices an ancient form of yoga each morning.
Originally from Yukon, OK, he now lives in Las Vegas. His girlfriend is from Dallas and the two have plans to head to Big D for Christmas. The trip may be fun, but Christmas dinner might not be in store for Anderson. He’s hoping at one point to make it 30 days without food, he’s just not sure if it will be this time or not. Some food is possibly in the cards for Christmas, but maybe not.
While he may not be looking to eat anytime soon, Anderson is still hungry for a title and that first WPT championship. That choice of not eating here at Bellagio leads to an obvious question: will he still be fasting if he makes the final table at the Five Diamond?
“There’s no way I’m eating,” he says. “Life’s a paradox right? You work out to gain energy. You eat less and you have more. You give and you’re abundant, you receive more. The whole thing’s a paradox, so yeah, I think I’ll be fine.”
Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Crandall, Texas. His work appears in numerous websites and publications. Follow him on Twitter @PokerTraditions.
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