By Sean Chaffin
As he battled it out in the Zynga Poker WPT500 Las Vegas on Tuesday, Jeff Center (pictured) was hoping to make it two cashes in a rowin the event. That streak also includes gaining entry twice as a ClubWPT qualifier.
Last year he finished 58th for $3,550 and is hoping to improve on that this summer. His entry in 2019 came after winning a ClubWPT qualifying tournament.
“My goal is to try to get at least as good as I did last year,” he says.
When the bubble burst in Level 18, Center was officially back in the money and has adjusted his goal a bit.
“It feels great – two years in a row,” he said. “Now the goal is first place.”
ClubWPT is the tour’s sweepstakes poker site, where players can pay a $24.95 monthly subscription with a chance to win a share of $100,000 in cash and prizes each month. The site offers plenty of action and even chances to win spots in major WPT tournaments.
Center has been playing on the site for three years, and his good fortune continued this year when he won a raffle for an entry. He used that entry on Monday, but didn’t make it into the money.
On Tuesday, the 57-year-old from Wilmington, North Carolina, jumped in Flight 1G and had a better run after ponying up for his own re-entry.
By Level 17 he was one of the leaders in the field and one of the last ClubWPT qualifiers, along with Gayle Knorr, left in the field. Both made it to the finish line for Day 2. Center bagged 320,000 and comes back tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. local time.
Back home, Center works as a metrology engineer. Metrology is the science and application of measurement. He writes programs to measure jet engine parts for General Electric and his analytical mind helps at the poker table.
“I’ve played poker for most of my life,” he says. “My dad and grandfather taught me and we played for matchsticks when I was 7 or 8 years old. About two and a half years ago, my wife and I became empty nesters. My wife said, ‘If you want to go and starting playing tournaments, start playing.’”
Since that invitation, that’s exactly what Center has done. That’s now included his WPT cash as well as a few on some other major tours. When not playing tournaments, he spends time with family and his four grandchildren. He also enjoys fishing and hunting.
His biggest kill? A 150-inch whitetail, huge for a deer. That trophy has been taxidermied and displayed at his home back in North Carolina. He’d be more than happy to add a Zynga Poker WPT500 trophy.
Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Crandall, Texas, and his work appears in numerous websites and publications. Follow him on Twitter @PokerTraditions.
Looking to win your way to a World Poker Tour event for your shot at becoming a WPT champion? Play for your chance on ClubWPT.com, where eligible VIP Members can play for over $100,000 in cash and prizes each month, including seats to WPT events, no purchase necessary.