This marks the second year for the World Series of Poker playing out in the Horseshoe and Paris casinos, but Chad Burum chose a bit of a throwback for his Day 1 in the Main Event on Wednesday. He’s sporting a World Series of Poker T-shirt from 2004, the last year the event was held at Binion’s Horseshoe in downtown Las Vegas. This was also the first time he played in the Main Event after winning a seat in a California casino.
The owner of a general contracting company in Novato, California, he’s now back again and has jumped in the event several times since scoring that initial seat. He’s been playing poker since 1980 and is pleased to see how the series has progressed from Binion’s to the Rio to Horseshoe/Paris.
“I like it,” he says of the series’ new venue. “I like the turnout. There’s a lot of people.”
When not building homes, remodeling houses, or spending time at his second home in Grants Pass, Oregon, Burum can often be found at a card table. He’s been playing since 1980 and snagged a final table appearance in 2008, finishing sixth in a $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha event for $44,226. He’s still looking for that first Main Event cash however.
Like many young men and women, Burum grew up playing small-stakes poker with his father. That didn’t always turn out well and came with some tough poker lessons along the way. However, Burum had a unique way of recouping some of those losses.
“Basically back when I was a teenager, my dad would take all my money,” he says. “Then he’d put it on his desk and I’d take it all back again.”
Burum served 22 years in the U.S. Coast Guard and began playing more while stationed in California. Later after being transferred to Galveston, Texas, he remembers playing nickel-dime games with his fellow seamen aboard the U.S.C.G. Valiant, a cutter ship used for search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, marine environmental protection, homeland security, and national defense operations. The group would bet and bluff while cruising through the Gulf of Mexico.
“We’d play on the ship and they'd have a guy who keeps track of everything,” he says. “That way you’d know what you lost. Most of us didn't have any money back then anyways.”
After so many years in poker, this contractor is hoping to do some more build this week – only this time to his chip stack as the action plays out at the Horseshoe.