Doug Polk, a poker pensioner at 31 who now plays Warcraft full-time | 10 PEOPLE WHO GOT RICH FROM POKER

Who can retire in their early thirties to play Warcraft and still have $10M in the bank account? Professional poker players like Doug Polk can!

Despite being only 31, the American poker legend has decided he’s had enough of poker. He’s retired early, with millions in his savings, as well as some really prestigious titles in his collection. We’re talking about things like three WSOP bracelets, for example.

Polk achieved greatness while still very young, but his beginnings were very humble. Humble as in $0.01/$0.02 stakes at PokerStars!


If you’re stuck playing $0.01/$0.02 stakes on the internet, don’t despair. That’s how one of the greatest poker players of our era started out.

According to the man himself, Polk started his poker journey with a $20 deposit at PokerStars.

He was at college at the time, so playing online poker was a way of killing time between classes. Polk’s baby steps in poker were made at $0.01/$0.02 tables.

He played those kinds of online tournaments for months before deciding it was time to move to a new level. After cashing out $10,000, Doug Polk had a eureka moment – he realised poker was his vocation.

As it happened, his studies at the University of North Carolina Wilmington stood in the way of his poker dreams. How did he remove this obstacle? By dropping out.

At the age of 22, Polk decided to embark on a journey that would later engrave his name into the history books of poker. It took only a year and a half for that to happen.


The year was 2013 when the name Doug Polk became a household name among online poker players. Actually, at the time, his moniker “WCGRider” was what he was known as.

By then, he’d already won hundreds of thousands of dollars playing poker on the internet. Instead of playing $0.01/$0.02 stakes, at this time, he’d morphed into a high-roller.

Doug has wokred his way to the top

In 2013, he took part in one of the most interesting online poker games of all time. He went toe-to-toe with Ben "Sauce123" Sulsky in what proved to be a 15,000-hand game.

Polk won the exhausting game, walking away with $740,000. In addition, he also received an additional $100,000 as a bonus.

Unfortunately for Polk, the same night, he ended up losing a big chunk of that money to another legend of online poker.

Viktor “Isildur1” Blom got the better of him in a 2,700-hand game, taking $360,000 off Polk’s account.

This defeat did not demoralize him though, on the contrary, he kept on going. Polk kept on playing online poker in the following years, as well as taking part in some highly-publicized live poker tournaments.


In the mid-2010s, Doug Polk took part in various live poker tournaments, earning almost $10M in total. Apart from winning a lot of money, he also won fame and respect in poker circles.

Pro Poker Player, Jonas Gjelstad, rates the good and bad players on Hendon Mob Poker Databases’ All-Time Money List.

He did that by winning three WSOP bracelets, namely:

  • $1,000 Turbo No-Limit Hold'em in 2014 (winning $251,969)
  • $1,000 Tag Team No-Limit Hold'em (with Ryan Fee) in 2016 (winning $153,358)
  • $111,111 High Roller for One Drop No-Limit Hold'em in 2017 (winning $3,686,865)

The bracelet he won in June 2017 was his biggest career achievement. He won nearly $3.7M by outlasting 130 other players.

The same year, he took part in a few other live poker tournaments, the last being the $50,000 No-Limit Hold’em at 2017 Poker Masters in Las Vegas.

This not only his last live poker tournament in 2017, but it later turned out it was Polk’s last tournament of the decade. Actually, he hasn’t played a high-profile live tournament since then.


After giving up on live tournaments, Polk stayed active on online poker websites, but then in 2018, he decided it was time to hang up the cards.

In a YouTube video he uploaded in September 2018, Polk explained that he’s decided to give up on playing professional poker, both in live tournaments and online.

Considering that he’s only turned 31 last December, many believe that he’s going to come out of his poker retirement. Still, Polk insists his decision is final.

In a video released in March 2020, Polk confirmed he has no intention of getting back into the world of professional poker. Instead, his plan is to focus on other things.


With millions in his bank accounts, this guy has the luxury to live a high life and do whatever he wants to do. Knowing that he’s an avid fan of video games, particularly Warcraft, you can imagine what he’s been up to these days.

Of course, you can’t play video games all day long (or can you?), you need to stay in touch with real people. How Polk does this is by engaging with his fans on social media.


People seem to love Doug Polk outside the poker room, judging by a high number of his followers on social media.

In the past, he was very active on twitter, discussing topics like US politics and economics. He still tweets from time to time, but it seems that in 2020, his main social media obsession is YouTube. Polk runs a relatively successful YouTube channel, where he deals with all sorts of different topics.

His channel Doug Polk Poker is full of videos in which he discusses the economic policies of his country, providing some money-making tips along the way. For instance, he made some videos in which he talks about the best ways to invest stimulus checks.

From time to time, he also talks poker.

That, however, is not the only YouTube channel he runs. Polk also runs Doug Polk Crypto, which, as you’ve probably guessed, is focused on cryptocurrencies.

He started out publishing crypto-focused videos in December 2017 when bitcoin reached its record value of nearly $20,000. Since then, his enthusiasm seems to have dropped, although the self-proclaimed cryptocurrency enthusiast does publish a new video every couple of weeks.

How to go from a winning poker player to a profitable sports bettor, read here.

Check out the other articles in our 10 People Who Got Rich from Poker series on:

  • Article 1: Daniel Negreanu, the most famous poker play of all time
  • Article 2: Phil Ivey cheated his way to a $10 million win
  • Article 3: Phil “POKER BRAT” Hellmuth, the biggest trash talker in poker
  • Article 4: Fedor Holz, a multimillionaire by 23
  • Article 5: Patrik Antonius, winning the biggest ever online pot & nearly becoming a tennis pro
  • Article 6: Gus Hansen, the great Dane who went on a $20.7M losing streak!
  • Article 8: Chris Ferguson, the Jesus of Poker who turned full antichrist
  • Article 9: Justin Bonomo, the Romeo with many Juliets
  • Article 10: Mike Matusow, a former prisoner and Trump-worshipping poker legend
  • Article 11: Viktor Blom, a.k.a. ILSIDUR1, the record holder for the biggest loss in online poker history
  • Article 12: Bryn Kenney, the richest man in poker
  • Article 13: Jonas Gjelstad, leaving school early and moving to Thailand to become a professional poker player

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