Eric Rando, Winner, Annual Top Dog Texas Hold ’Em Tournament at Downtown Grill & Brewery

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How long have you been playing?

Six years. Since I was 15.

Who taught you?

My dad and grandmother.

What are you going to do with the trophy?

It has a special place in my room.

Does being a history major make you play better poker?

It definitely helps, because you really learn to memorize studying history.

Why is memorizing good for poker?

I remember how people played in the past and how they played certain hands. And how I’ve played, so I know when to change up my game.

How many people have you played against at the Brewery this year?

I’ve been coming here for the qualifiers every Monday the whole year. Two thousand other people have played here this year, and I haven’t encountered them all, but I’ve played a lot of them. A whole lot.

Are you one of the youngest players at the Brewery?

I definitely think so. Cameron, the guy who came in second, is only 18. But I’m still one of the youngest who plays here.

And even though you won hundreds of dollars, it’s all legal?

Yes, it is. Because we don’t risk any money, they just pay prizes.

What’s the best hand you’ve ever had?

Last year I flopped quad aces. I had won a tournament at UT and they took us to a regional tournament at East Carolina.

Four of a kind aces? Did they do you any good?

I doubled my chips on that hand and finished second in that tournament, so yes.

What are you going to do with the prize money?

It’ll go to college.

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