James Obst Trades in Poker Chips for Tennis Shoes

In the poker world, it is not uncommon for professionals in other areas to take a shot on the felt, and it rarely goes the other way. However, one poker player will be leaving the industry to focus on his sports career, as James Obst sets his sights on Wimbledon.

His Life-Long Dream

Obst announced his plans over Twitter in an open letter. In it, he stated that it has always been a dream of his to become a tennis player and play in the prestigious Wimbledon tournament. After spending most of his teenage and adult years plagued by health issues, he feels that he is finally in the right shape to pursue a career in professional  sports.

Dropping everything to pursue a life-long dream is admirable, but some are dubious of his plans. Some Twitter users have responded to his tweet with doubt, concerned that a 28-year-old beginning a career in tennis is “the most fanciful of pipe dreams”. However, his peers in the poker world were happy to wish him well, as Vanessa Selbst, Todd Brunson, and Adam Levy reached out to Obst.

Leaving A Successful Poker Career

At just 28-years-old, Obst has experienced plenty of success in the poker world. He has accrued a total of $2.8 million over the course of his career, earning some impressive payouts during his time. Some highlights include:

– 1st in the 2017 WSOP Razz Championship for $265 000
– 2nd in the 2016 WSOP HORSE Championship for $261 000
– 1st in the 2012 APPT Sydney High Roller for $148 000

While his career has been a prosperous one, Obst seems to have a love-hate relationship with poker. His Twitter announcement opened with “running deep in the Main Event plays funny tricks on your mind” and noted the “disappointing results”. So, it’s understandable that he would head in another direction.

Obst isn’t the first player to leave poker for greener pastures. Among the group of professional poker retirees is Vanessa Selbst, who recently left the industry to focus on her work with the world’s biggest hedge fund.

It’s no surprise that poker can be quite a stressful sport, winning and losing large amounts of money regularly. So, it is respectable when a play decides to move on and focus on another one of their dreams.

Of course, we wish Obst all the best in his new career pursuit. We will definitely be keeping an eye out for him at the next Wimbledon.