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Peter EastgateWe all know the questions. Why am I here? What should I do? And what is the purpose of life? Thankfully, most of us put those questions in a box and worry instead about paying the rent.

Because the last thing we need is to be sitting at home, shivering, and facing the void. There’s no use anyway. After going around in circles for a while, you hear a poker game that calls your name.

He was a quiet and intense young man. He was focused, forceful and gaunt, and was absolutely unwavering in his ability to back up judgments with action.

That was Peter Eastgate at the age of twenty-two, winning the 2008 WSOP and nine million dollars. Where, I wondered is that young man now?

Show 30 (March 4) with Peter Eastgate is online now! Click the play button to listen:

Sitting in a chair in front of me in the Players’ Lounge of the EPT Copenhagen. You wouldn’t call him a kid anymore, as Eastgate’s face has filled out. The eyes are no longer hollow and there is a relaxed confidence in his manner.

What he most clearly is not anymore is a guy with something to prove. Now, he says, he’s just a guy who won the World Series of Poker. “Of course no one can take that away from me,” he starts, and then catches himself with a smile. “But then I gave away my bracelet, so….”

The bracelet. The platinum WSOP bracelet that the rest of us lie awake dreaming of holding, and Eastgate tossed it away. You stop in disgust and then you hear that it brought $150,000 for UNICEF and then you stop again. Was this the action of a madman, or a wise man?

Peter gives credence to either view, as he told me about the day when he lost 500,000 dollars, hiking in Nepal, betting huge sums on the World Cup, and his feelings about being a World Champion of Poker.

Eastgate doesn’t like to explain himself, but then he doesn’t talk in circles either. Peter listens to every question and then answers in the Danish style, plain as day and to the point. Unshakingly honest.

“I’ve been on kind of a soul search,” he says, “Figuring out what I want to do with my life… And then in the end I didn’t really do anything significant to change my life.” Just the thinking, that’s all.

And now he’s back here playing poker. Sometimes, just the thinking is enough. And there’s no question that the poker world is much better off with Peter Eastgate back in it.

Why do I play poker? I hope my answer is the same as yours. And if it’s not, maybe we all need to take a break, or to change the world of poker to suit our needs. I play because I love the game.

Show 30 (March 4) with Peter Eastgate is online now! Click the play button to listen:


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