The overwhelming majority of poker dealers harbor dreams of turning the tables one day, moving from the box to the battleground and mixing it up against the players they pitch cards to for a living. In 2010 Corey Emery did just that, making the journey from his home turf at the Player’s Club Casino in Ventura, California to Sin City to compete in his first World Series of Poker.
And he’s glad he did, after a deep run and 33rd place finish in the Main Event left him with 255,242 white chip tokes to take home. According to Emery, he’s come back every year since, and while his Main Event exploits have been understandably difficult to replicate, he has made the Casino Employee’s event his new stomping grounds.
Emery emerged as the chip leader after Day 1 of the WSOP’s debut event yesterday, and after a long day on the felt here today, he’s managed to turn the trick yet again. With 500,000 chips on the dot entering the official final table, Emery is the leader by about 110,000 – with his good friend and fellow Player’s Club Casino dealer John Taylor trailing close behind. We caught up with Emery as he made his way to a well-deserved dinner break to learn a little more about the man who very well may become the first gold bracelet winner of the young summer.
PokerNews: Is this your first WSOP event or do you come and play the Casino Employee’s event regularly?
Emery: This is my second casino event, but I’ve played other events before.
PokerNews: What brought you to the Rio to take a shot this summer, have you been playing well lately, or just here on a lark?
Well, I’ve been coming out here for a while, and I did pretty well in 2010, so I’ve always come for these events since then. Nothing better than the World Series, right?
PokerNews: Truer words have never been spoken… tell me about your poker experience aside from dealing, do you prefer tournaments back home or cash?
I play cash mostly, at home and at the Player’s Casino. I started when I was 16, right around 11 years ago when Moneymaker won. Started playing with basketball teammates and it just went from there.
PokerNews: How about the key hands from yesterday that put you in position to make the first WSOP final table of the summer?
Well, the last hand of the night I turned a straight and a guy called my all-in shove with second pair. So, that kind of put sixty thousand up there for me.
PokerNews: That hand propelled you to the chip lead entering Day 2, so how have things gone today? Has the structure allowed you to use those chips effectively?
I mean, it’s probably short right now, like you know, average stack is like twenty-five bigs, twenty bigs. So there’s going to be a lot of gambling.
PokerNews: Having just arrived at the pinnacle every poker player hopes to reach in their career, is there anybody at home you’d like to share a little celebration with?
Yeah, I’d like to say hi to my fiancé Stephanie, definitely.