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“I’m 62, and I’m still trying to improve in life, never mind in poker. I’m very grateful for the WPT Boot Camp and grateful for the way things have happened for me.”
Bob Carbone: Retiree Takes Down 3rd Place and $166,271 at World Poker Tour Final Table
A retired pawnbroker in Westerly, Rhode Island, Bob Carbone never expected to find himself on television, playing down the Final Table at the World Poker Tour’s Foxwoods event. A successful cash-game player who helped subsidize his retirement with his poker winnings, Bob always considered himself a steady, solid player. But at age 62, Bob didn’t consider himself a match for the younger generation of aggressive “internet kids” who had come to dominate tournament poker, let alone for the world-class players who can frequently be found at WPT Final Tables.
And yet Bob Carbone did make a WPT Final Table—and when the smoke had cleared, he had taken third place for $166,271.
“I’m very, very grateful,” Bob says. “I really am.”
Bob’s gratitude extends to the training he got at WPT Boot Camp. “The facts I learned at WPT Boot Camp taught me how to play and got me to a good place,” he says. “To do well in tournaments, I believe you have to have knowledge. And WPT Boot Camp gave me the knowledge.”
A Late Start…and a Great Beginning
Bob’s first taste of poker came as a child, as he watched his mother playing first home games and then casino poker. “Believe it or not, my mother was a professional poker player!” Bob recalls with a grin.
Yet Bob himself never played poker until he was in his late fifties. “I never liked the game,” he admits. He preferred blackjack, which he’d occasionally play on casino visits. Somehow, though, he found himself wandering into the poker room and playing low-stakes limit poker.
This early exposure to the game taught Bob how much he didn’t know. “For me, if I don’t feel comfortable doing something, I need to do some research,” he explains. So Bob found some poker books , studied hard, and started winning.
Pretty soon, Bob had moved up from the lowest available limits to $10-$20. “I was actually making a couple hundred dollars every other day,” he recalls. Living only 15 minutes from Foxwoods casino, he found himself a frequent visitor who was significantly supplementing his retirement income from poker.
Once Bob saw an ad for a satellite to a WPT tournament in Atlantic City. He entered, won the satellite, and made a small cash in a $10,000 event. Although Bob considered himself to be primarily a cash player, he began to fall in love with tournaments.
“Tournaments intrigue me,” he says. “I went through all those people and didn’t know how I did it. So I started reading again. And then, WPT Boot Camp was coming to town and I said, ‘I want to get in on that.’”
Bob took WPT Boot Camp’s Tournament Camp and watched his tournament game take off. “I started getting deep into tournaments,” he says. He cashed a fair amount and occasionally final-tabled.
“WPT Boot Camp really did teach me the fundamentals of tournament play,” he says. “They taught me—and it ultimately took me to a WPT Final Table!”
Beating the Field at Foxwoods
Bob never expected to play in another World Poker Tour event. He knew he wasn’t bankrolled to play a $10,000 tournament. But when he found himself winning a WPT satellite, he realized he was going to get another shot at one of the poker world’s most respected tours.
“It was amazing,” he says. “These long, big tournaments are suited for my type of play—my patience, and my ability to lay down hands, and my ability to push when necessary. It was a fantastic experience.”
Initially, Bob didn’t expect to make it past the first day of the three-day event.
“I remember I set very small goals for myself,” he says. “I was short-stacked throughout the entire tournament, except the very key spots.”
Yet by playing the solid, fundamental poker he had learned at WPT Boot Camp, Bob was able to make it through first Day 1, then Day 2, and finally, to the Final Table.
“In the final day, I really couldn’t believe I made it down to seven players,” Bob recalls. “Then I knocked out the seventh player to make it to the 6-person Final Table—the TV table. It was like a dream. I was like, ‘Oh, my God, I’m really going to the Final Table! I’m going to be on television—something that I’ve always wanted.”
Bob appreciates how hard it is to go deep in a major tournament. He says, “It’s almost a spiritual experience, believe it or not. You’re playing with the best in the world…and you have to make the right moves at the right time.”
But tournament victories are not just born of luck, Bob knows. They take patience, knowledge, and skill—all of which he learned at WPT Boot Camp.
Looking Toward the Future
Bob has continued to final-table tournaments. And he’s continued to learn, study, and improve his game.
His next step, he reports, is to return to WPT Boot Camp and pick up still more knowledge.
“I enjoy the game immensely,” he says. “I actually enjoy learning the game as much as I do playing it. I don’t think there’s a poker book out there I haven’t read. I’m always trying to improve.”
He adds, “I’m 62, and I’m still trying to improve in life, never mind in poker. I’m very grateful for the WPT Boot Camp and grateful for the way things have happened for me.”