Daniel Weinman doesn’t have a lot of firsts anymore when it comes to gambling. He’s a feared poker player, close to a scratch golfer and Mixed Game specialist and playing in his first World Poker Tour Tournament of Champions after shipping the largest score of his career in January for $892,433 at the Borgata Winter Poker Open.

“I haven’t really played a ton of them (WPT events),” Weinman said. “I haven’t really traveled the WPT Circuit – I may have played ten of them in my lifetime. So to have a win and another deep run is pretty good.”

Weinman returns for Day 2 as one of the top ten returning stacks.

Weinman’s been racking up tournament cashes for nearly a decade, seeing more cash game success than anything. But that all changed at the end of 2015 when he won a World Series of Poker Circuit Main Event in Cherokee, NC and has been on a heater ever since.

“I would say I changed my play a little bit,” Weinman said. “The game has grown a lot in the last few years and I saw what was working a few years ago wasn’t really working too much these day. I put a lot of work into my game and it’s definitely paying off with running deep in a couple big events here.”

Weinman created Fantasyland for Open Face Chinese poker – a variant that took the poker world by storm in 2013 – something nearly left him broke and out of the game. “I completely regret it. It’s something that everyone knows me for forever, which is kind of cool. I think it did so much more bad for the poker world than good in the long run.”

“I went on a lot of trips with Shaun Deeb and Jason Mercier where we’re playing a lot of high stakes OFC on the side,” Weinman said. “It’s hard to lose six figures in a night then turn around in the morning and play a tournament where first place is half as much as you lost. It’s definitely hard to focus.”

Weinman’s luck pivoted during his WSOPC Cherokee final table returning from a break. The players were engaged in polite table talk when Weinman mentioned offhand to the table that he would have to win the tournament four times over to get to even (first place was $280,260) after his year.

The mostly amateur final table players were visibly blown away by his statement. They never recovered as Weinman steamrolled the final table for his first WSOPC ring. “I probably thought about saying that to the table. I like having a good time at the table, I think everyone is a little too serious these days,” he said.

Daniel Weinman 2 WPT
Weinman’s ear-to-ear smile is a familiar sight on the felt. (Photo: WPT)

Playing through a brutal downswing was hard on him. “It was definitely tough,” said Weinman. “I imagine it’s similar to guys who are deep in makeup when running deep in an event. I’ve never been in makeup, I’ve never been backed or done any backing, so I don’t know the mindset.”

“I’m more of a gambler, but I like being considered a poker player because of the amount of work I’ve put into my game,” Weinman added. “It’s tough to say what the difference is – I think a poker player might look for smaller edges and squeezing out whatever they can when they can, where a pure gambler likes the action.”

Weinman is originally from Atlanta and is sixth on Georgia’s all-time money list. “I don’t really care about winning anything in particular but I would like to get to number one,” he said. “My buddy Josh Arieh has a solid lead with over $6 million and it’s cool to that rivalry with someone I’ve been friends with for ten years.”

Weinman recently moved to Washington D.C, after spending a year living in South Florida. “I moved chasing the action with the new National Harbor Casino that opened. There’s a few guys up there wanting to learn Mixed Games and I’m happy to teach.”