The U.S. Poker Open returns to PokerGO and Poker Central in early 2019, between the 13th-23rd February. With 10 events across 11 days of poker inside the PokerGO Studio, everyone is already talking about one of the year’s premier high stakes festivals. Each week, we are catching up with players who have carved their name in Sin City legend. This week, we spoke with Byron Kaverman, whose two seven-figure scores have both come in Las Vegas.

“For me, Las Vegas has changed a lot over the years in regards to my perspective and experiences.” Says Kaverman, whose biggest tournament result to date is the $2 million he won in July when he came fifth in the Big One for One Drop.

“I started making the trip out in the summer when I was 19 and my first night in the city was spent with friends having dinner at Bellagio. We were sat next to a relatively well-known celebrity and four women very much dressed for a night on the town.”

If Kaverman had landed on his feet in Sin City, he didn’t spend every moment out in restaurants and bars. Back when he first arrived in Vegas, Americans could still spend time playing online poker.

“During those times, I would spend one or two weeks playing online and gambling with friends at whatever we could around the house.”

Despite having built up an impressive early bankroll, Kaverman didn’t jump straight into World Series of Poker action as soon as he could.

“When I was 21, I had the opportunity to play the WSOP Main Event, but I turned it down and went back to Ohio early due to the final table date in November conflicting with what potentially could have been my last collegiate soccer game. We finished just short of advancing to that game, but I don’t regret it and over the years I’ve tried to always put my values ahead of making money.”

A highly principled player, Kaverman has still amassed an incredible $14 million in live winnings alone. This year, he made the permanent move to the city where poker dreams come true.

“I moved to Las Vegas in the spring but have been enjoying things away for the strip for several years. Most people don’t realize outside of the circus on the strip it’s just like any other city with a lot of cool things to do.”

Far from the sedentary lifestyle of a poker player at work, Kaverman could hardly be more active away from the felt. He is a keen sportsman, and runs long distances between poker tournaments, and even between Day 1’s and 2’s. He’s even completed an Ironman event and won a six-figure sum for charity from poker player and philanthropist, Bill Perkins.

“During periods when there isn’t much poker going on, I try to spend a fair amount of time outdoors. Vegas has some nice mountainous areas and it’s a great city for golf as well.”

When it comes to next February’s U.S. Poker Open, Kaverman, like so many professional players, can’t wait to return to the purple felt.

“I fully plan to play all the No Limit events at the US Poker Open coming up in February. I didn’t play the previous one and only entered the first two events at the Masters in September, so having a series of tournaments like that coming up is very exciting. The PokerGO studio is an awesome venue and Aria is my favorite place to play and hang out!”

Byron Kaverman arrived as a young fresh-faced teenager in a city that is unforgiving to poker players. But over the last ten years since his first live tournament cash in Las Vegas (in a $3,000 No Limit WSOP event), the sports nut and former Ironman racer has built a huge level of experience. Poker experience, but also life experience. Next February, Kaverman isn’t just coming to Vegas. Just like in so many areas of the game from results to table image, the Vegas resident will be waiting for everyone else to catch up.

With a huge schedule of tournaments taking place across 11 days of poker, the 2019 U.S. Poker Open will have something for every player – and fan – of the game. Poker Central will be in Las Vegas throughout to bring you wall-to-wall coverage of every bust-out, blow-up or big bluff. Stay tuned to Poker Central next week as we bring you another exclusive conversation with one of the game’s greats. For now, subscribe to PokerGO and get in the game.

Byron Kaverman, Road to Vegas