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Former November Niner Sam Holden Goes Into Poker Semi-Retirement

Sam Holden

Sam Holden has decided to call time on his professional poker career and plans to return to university to study for a philosophy degree.

Holden made the announcement over the weekend via his blog on the 888poker site; Holden was an 888poker ambassador. In a blog entry entitled “Thank you and goodbye. My semi-retirement from poker.” Holden said:

Last week, I finally received the news that I had been accepted by The University of Kent to study towards a philosophy degree, beginning in September. I am pleased to finally have the uncertainty over my future lifted and have begun to start planning the next three years of my life.

After nearly three happy years I have decided to leave my position as an ambassador to 888poker and announce a ‘semi-retirement’ from poker. With this in mind, and given that I have enjoyed the support of so many wonderful people over the years, I thought I should take the time to attempt to explain the context of my decision for anyone who is remotely interested.

I’ve spent four incredible years playing poker full time and I never dreamt that my favourite card game could give me so many opportunities and experiences. Being able to travel the world, record television programmes, meet people from every corner of the globe and enjoy some of the best restaurants and clubs, all while earning money playing a game, is a privilege not lost on me, and a journey that has taught me a lot. More recently though, I have lost a lot of drive to play poker, especially in live tournaments.

Holden shot to poker stardom in 2011 when he navigated his way through the majority of the 6,865-strong field in that year’s World Series of Poker Main Event and reached its final table. Holden ultimately finished ninth for $782,115 and has added further winnings of over $400,000 since. Holden also has over $820,000 in online tournament cashes so isn’t ready to throw the towel in completed, yet.

I’ll still play a bit online, hopefully ticking over enough money to pay a few bills. I do still enjoy the game, throughout my career I’ve been lucky enough to only have to play when I want to; this has had the added bonus of ensuring that I play closer to my best. I don’t want this to change, which is why it is time to move on, to tackle some new challenges and continue to enjoy this great game as a hobby for the rest of my life.

Those of you competing at the upcoming £1 million guaranteed UKIPT Nottingham Main Event will probably catch a glimpse of Holden as he has already won his seat online and plans to head to Dusk Till Dawn to compete in what will now be a rare appearance.

So what’s next for Holden? According to his blog, he has been accepted by The University of Kent to study towards a degree in philosophy and plans more philanthropy, too. But will Holden miss jetting around the world and socialising with friends in the most exclusive clubs on the planet?

I couldn’t really care less where we go, as long as the company is good. A cheap pub will do just fine.

Good luck, Sam. It sounds like you have your head screwed on and I, like many, wish you all the best in your future endeavours.

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