Former University of Oregon track and field runner Chris Brewer has hit the jackpot, winning over $5 million and a prestigious golden bracelet at the 2023 World Series of Poker (WSOP). From the track to the poker table, Brewer won a high-roller No-Limit Hold’em event with a substantial $250,000 buy-in, with some luck on the river (final card).
Brewer had his back against the wall when his opponent, Russia’s Artur Martirosyan, raised him with ace-king. Brewer re-raised, pushing his chips all-in, which set up a bad beat for the ages that worked out in Brewer’s favor, netting $5.2 million for the win. Watch below.
Along with that, Brewer earns $5,293,556 for the win! pic.twitter.com/tmHuwMmoPa
— PokerGO (@PokerGO) June 19, 2023
Brewer, 30, ran for the University of Oregon Ducks cross-country and track and field program for five years and was a teammate to renowned athletes like Australian Olympian Jessica Hull, 17-time NCAA champion Edward Cheserek and American 25 km record holder Parker Stinson. During his collegiate career, Brewer held bests of 3:43.97 over 1,500m and 4:06 for the mile. When he graduated from Oregon with a degree in mathematics in 2016, he took a break from running and found success playing online poker.
In a 2021 interview with Pokernews, Brewer was asked if he credits his card-playing success to his running background, resulting in an all-time quote:
“Running is much harder than poker. You have to put in way more effort. Anything I’ve accomplished in poker is easy compared to waking up in the morning and running 15 miles,” replied Brewer. “When you’re a runner, you have to be mindful of your diet and sleep. Poker is a different ballgame—I sacrificed many years to pursue running. So if I have to fold a hand, it’s no big deal. I never felt anxious playing poker. Running races, on the other hand, gave me plenty of anxiety.”
Although Brewer may not see many similarities between the two, it is evident that the discipline and dedication he acquired from running have translated into his poker success.