Daniel Idema is one of the many professional poker players who are landing in Las Vegas to participate in the 2016 World Series of Poker (WSOP) that has just kicked off.
Although Idema is not very well-recognized on the poker circuit, he has won three WSOP bracelets putting him in the group of elite players such as Barry Greenstein, Sam Farha and John Hennigan.
He has so far played in seven seasons of WSOP and has career winnings amounting to over $2.2 million.
His latest win in the WSOP was in 2015 when won his third bracelet in the $3,000 H.O.R.S.E. event taking home winnings of $261,774. To date, Idema has cashed 26 times at the WSOP and reached final tables nine times.
Idema is hoping to better his record in the current season of the WSOP. A native of Canada, Idema was a professional-level hockey player before becoming a poker pro.
He has played competitive hockey for the Western Hockey League which is one of the three major leagues that form the Canadian Hockey League. Idema went to the Netherlands and turned pro and went on to join the Geleen Smoke Eaters. However his career was shortlived as he felt that he could make a better living playing poker full time.
Idema’s older brother Adam Schwartz introduced him to poker. Schwartz is a professional poker player who also hosted a popular podcast on the subject. Idema got interested in poker and over time learnt the nuances of the game.
Speaking on his decision to turn pro, Idema said that when he made almost $20,000 from a buy-in of just $100 he became confident that he could play poker for a living. In the initial few years he said that he was playing as much as 60-70 hours a week. Idema believes that the best poker professionals are those who are able to survive the downswings well.
In a statement, Idema said,
I have a high tolerance for pain. If you don’t have that, then don’t gamble for a living. Everyone plays great when they are on a ten-day winning streak, but it’s how you react when things aren’t going well that determines whether or not you can make it as a poker pro.
Idema is extremely proud of his three bracelets saying that each bracelet enables to him to enter into a smaller and more exclusive club of the top poker pros. He considers himself blessed to have won them since many amazing players enter the WSOP each year but very few of them end up having results like him.