Derek Christensen has mostly been out of poker for the last 10 years. He’s played a couple of tournaments, but with online poker options limited for U.S. players and the casino in his area eliminating the poker room, the used car dealership sales manager from Farmington, New Mexico, has mostly kept away from the game. Then on a whim, Christensen decided to enter this year’s World Series of Poker Main Event.

“I just wanted to give it a shot again,” he says of his reasoning for getting back into the action.”I love poker.”

That choice turned out to be a good idea as he dusted off his skills and returned for Day 5. Christensen was running on fumes after Day 4 and nursing a short stack but still surviving. Friends and family blew his phone up with texts inquiring about how he’s doing. 

“Yesterday, I was down to two big blinds in multiple spots, and I grinded back up to 670,000 last night,” he said on Day 5. “I played a couple more hands, loosened up, and took some hits. So I'm standing back on the low stack again.”

Christensen ultimately completed a nice run in the Main Event, finishing 328th for $44,700. That’s not a bad way to make a WSOP return.

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WSOP, 2023 WSOP, WSOP 2023, Derek Christensen