The pro outlasted 781 entrants
“I’m going house-shopping for my mom!” exclaimed an ecstatic Carlos Welch, his smile beaming with pride as he thought about how he could best spend the money he had just won.
One week ago, the popular poker pro, writer, and coach took down the WSOP Online Event #8: $888 Crazy Eights on WSOP.com, outlasting 781 other players to claim the top prize of $124,369 and the gold bracelet.
Since then, Carlos has appeared on two of his favorite poker podcasts – an impromptu episode of Thinking Poker, a show on which he is a recurring guest, and The Lock-In, the cameras-on spin-off show to the GPI-award-winning The Chip Race, sponsored by Unibet Poker.
Came from behind at final table
On Thursday, July 8th, sitting at the desk in his hotel room at the Rio in Las Vegas, Welch navigated his way through one of the larger WSOP Online fields, knocking out Daniel Negreanu along the way. The bubble burst after four hours and after around eight hours, he was at the final table.
quickly made inroads, doubling-up during the second orbit
Welch got to the final nine as one of the short stacks but he quickly made inroads, doubling-up during the second orbit, his pocket Tens holding in an all-in pre-flop clash versus Isaac Fermin’s suited A-Q.
As others butted heads around him, Welch laddered his way into the final three where he again found himself on a short stack versus Dylan Smith and Joon Kim. He immediately won some chunky pots to get his nose in front, but shortly after Welch took the lead, Kim knocked out Smith. Another pay jump, but he was a 2-1 dog.
Welch was the dominant force heads-up. In fact, it only took him ten minutes to flip the script. Kim put the last of his chips in with A-4 versus Welch’s A-6. This hand would chop a lot, but not this time, as the turn came a 6, making Welch a WSOP champion for the first time. The final table standings:
- Carlos “CarlosWelch” Welch – $124,369
- Joon “jykpoker” Kim – $76,886
- Dylan “thesmith” Smith – $53,802
- “PESOPESO” – $38,224
- John “thirteen” Del Rossi – $27,526
- Dan “fatdan44” Wach – $20,144
- Isaac “going2ship” Fermin – $14,952
- Joey “JoeBeagles” Katzen – $11,261
15 years in the making
Speaking to his good friend Dara O’Kearney on The Lock-In, Welch called himself “an overnight success 15 years in the making” as he talked about his journey from late night TV get-rich-quick scheme fish to poker shark.
Welch paid tribute to Dara, Andrew Brokos, and his other poker buddies who have supported him for years and who all took the time to send him messages of congratulations after the win.
For years, Welch has been writing strategy articles for PokerNews, Tournament Poker Edge, and 2+2 Magazine, among other publications. A former teacher, his communication skills are always on show in his well-crafted strategy pieces. These same abilities have also made him a much sought-after coach. As the tributes poured in, there was a feeling that the man who has given so much to the community was finally getting his, the big result eluding him no more.
Rags to riches
Welch’s “rags to riches” story is a heart-warming tale and he was happy to share it with the hosts of The Lock-In. He explained how he has been around a long time, a self-professed product of “The Moneymaker Effect.” He played low-stakes Sit ‘n’ Gos. He built it up slowly.
“It was not an easy grind up for me,” Welch said. He saved his money and minimized his risk. He could not afford to go broke, so a conservative bankroll strategy was of the utmost importance.
For Welch, the poker life is not about champagne and hotel suites.
All of this has made Welch a poster boy for frugality, a noble quality in a world that gets carried away by the excesses of the beasts and ballers. For Welch, the poker life is not about champagne and hotel suites. He stays at budget hotels while grinding the live circuit and even lived in his Toyota Prius for a good amount of time.
Poker gave Welch a path out of poverty and a way to look after his loved ones. Those are his priorities.
O’Kearney likened WSOP bracelets to Olympic medals, but it is the money that can change people’s lives. With just $50,000 in recorded live results, this is Welch’s biggest cash by a large margin. It seems unlikely, though, that the money or the wrist candy will change this Georgia native. When listening to him speak, the quality that most shines through is his humility. He oozes charisma but he does so in a gentle, unassuming way. When asked if he might splurge on something for himself, he shook his head. His goal is to use the money to buy a house for his mother.
It’s really for my whole family.”
“It’s really for my whole family. I guess a lot of people’s families are like this, but there’s usually one person’s house that’s like the centerpiece for the entire family… and for years it’s been my grandmother’s house. But as she’s getting older, that’s gonna transition to my mom and right now she has a smaller apartment. So I’m hoping to get her a bigger place with some land so that when all my cousins or brothers don’t have a place to go…they can go to my momma’s house.”
The poker media focuses almost all its coverage on the upper echelons of the game and, in doing so, it is guilty of only shining a light on the same forty multi-millionaires. Beneath that tier, there are grinders, battlers and dreamers full of grit and determination who haven’t broken through, many of whom have great stories worthy of being told. Carlos Welch is one of those grinders, a genuinely inspirational figure and a role model in his perseverance and now in his success.