Texas Card House Austin had a chance to speak with WPT Step 2 Winner, Chris Parkes! We learned about his poker and professional background; plus, how he got to be the winner of the July tournament.
Chris is originally from South Florida and went to the University of Central Florida. Later, he moved to Austin and has been here for almost eleven years. He started a career in customer service and hospitality. After many years of experience, he decided to start his own company. He named it All Pro Hospitality Group. It started as luxury hotel staffing solutions in Austin and eventually widened its line of business into recruitment, international career business, and a few more lines revolving around the hospitality industry.
Parkes told us that he’s been playing poker for about 23 years. He grew up around his grandfather who is a professional poker player and known in the poker community as the Saint Pete Baron. His grandfather used to play in underground games and travel around the southern part of the country to find the “good games”, 7 stud, 5 stud and such.
Chris started playing the most around the time of Chris Moneymaker’s rise to fame and the take-off of No Limit Hold’em. He watched the pros on ESPN and read the trending books on poker strategy to study the game.
His first tournament he ever played was a Main Event Championship and he won it! After that, he played another 2 tournaments and won both for a back-to-back-to-back. He said it was definitely “beginner’s luck.”
After this, Chris became a certified dealer and started supporting some local card rooms gaining experience. Later, he started his own poker business called Club Shuffle of Florida. This consisted of playing for points instead of money. The points would get players into multiple tournaments. The idea took off quickly and there were over 18,000 players on the league. Eventually he sold this company and made good profits. The idea is still running to this day.
When it comes down to it, Chris enjoys poker to relax. He takes it as a method to unplug from daily life situations and focus on the game, strategy, and numbers. He likes to play both cash and tournaments. However, he considers himself a true tournament player since it’s where his love for the game originally started.
Chris is the 5th winner to join the table to the WPT Step 3 tournament that will take place at TCH Austin in the month of September!