In the high stakes world of poker, Chris Moneymaker is considered the man to beat. However, at the Palm Beach Kennel Club annual tournament this year, he was eliminated by another player. A man Chris says “punished him.” Who was it? 100-year-old Eugene Calden.
Competitive poker is known as an activity that requires mental toughness, emotional control, strategic thinking, discipline, adaptability, and confidence. Apparently, Eugene, or Gene as he’s known, has that in spades. Gene was 80 years old when Chris won his first World Series of Poker tournament in 2003. While Gene grew up playing poker for pennies and nickels with the neighborhood kids, it wasn’t until her turned 80 that he began playing professionally. According to the Palm Beach Tournament Manager, Gene does more than just show up to play. He plays both rounds of the tournament, then goes to another table in the casino and plays until the early hours of the morning. Even when there is no tournament, Gene still plays 6 to 7 days a week.
Clearly, that requires a lot of mental – and physical – energy. Some claim it’s Gene’s love of mint-chocolate-chip ice cream cones during play that provide the fuel. Possibly. But, clearly, it’s the love of the game that keeps this centenarian focused, always learning and improving his game – and winning! Anyone who thinks you have to hang up your passions as you age hasn’t heard about Gene.
To read more about the tournament, and to watch Gene reveal his secret for living to 100 in a video, click here.