One of the world’s top poker players, Phil Gordon walks tall in the poker world, both literally and figuratively.
At 6’9”, the former National Merit Scholar and dot.com multimillionaire, has won a Season Two WORLD POKER TOUR™ victory, sat at a Season One final table, and placed fourth in a World Series in 2001.
Gordon, a Texas native who now resides in South Lake Tahoe, began playing at age seven for pennies and keeps against his beloved Aunt Lib, whom he described as a “brutal player.” Bored in high school, Gordon started taking college classes at age 15.
He dropped out of Georgia Tech for a year to play professional bridge. After graduating with honors and a B.S. in computer science from Georgia Tech, he joined a computer software company in Santa Cruz, California. It was during this time period that Gordon started playing in low-limit poker games. He took another job writing software at Lockheed. When he informed three former Lockheed employees that he was going to take a leave from the company to play professional poker, they asked him to join them in a new network management software company they were starting.
After the company was bought by Cisco Systems for a cool $95 million, Gordon decided to slow down and enjoy his success and good fortune. He spent much of the next six years traveling around the world and soaking up different cultures, covering 50 countries and six continents.
In between and after his travels, Gordon honed his poker skills and began racking up victories. The most stunning of these was his Season Two win at the WORLD POKER TOUR Bay 101 Shooting Star event ($360,000), where he says he played his best poker ever.
Gordon also stands tall in the realm of philanthropy. His poker mentor Aunt Lib died of cancer one day before his Final Table finish in the WPT Season One Aruba event, so he decided to raise funds for the Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation, and went about it in an unusual way. Kicking off at Super Bowl 2003, he and a friend traveled in a tricked out RV to every major sporting event in the U.S. to raise awareness and money – $100,000 to be exact. Now, Gordon has started his own charitable organization, “Put a Bad Beat on Cancer,” urging fellow players to donate one percent of their winnings to the cause.