“I feel pretty good about my game. I’m not going to let any of the atmosphere get in my head. I just want to relax at the table and hopefully make some hands. Just go from there.” — Dan Sindelar.
Born Nov. 27, 1983, Dan Sindelar of Omaha, Nebraska attended the University of Nebraska—Lincoln and graduated in 2006. After college, Sindelar moved from the Midwest and its charm to the dry, high-desert landscape of Las Vegas. Now, he finds himself fifth in chips at the 2014 World Series of Poker November Nine.
“By the time my junior year rolled around, I pretty much withdrew from all my classes,” Sindelar told PokerNews. “I started playing in casinos and everywhere I could play. Made the move to Omaha to play at Council Bluffs, Iowa, and started playing a little bit more online there. When I turned 22, I moved out here to Vegas.”
Prior to his deep run in the Main Event, Sindelar had $335,962 in tournament winnings. His best cash up to that point was winning $105,312 at the 2007 Fall Poker Classic $1,000 Championship Event at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minnesota.
Other tournament highlights for Sindelar include:
- A win in the 2013 Card Player Poker Tour Wynn Las Vegas $550 No-Limit Hold’em for $60,000;
- Finishing in 13th place for $44,110 in the 2012 WSOP Event #57: $10,000 Six-Handed No-Limit Hold’em;
- Runner-up in the 2013 WSOP Circuit Caesars Palace $365 No-Limit Hold’em Reentry for $31,523;
- Finishing 27th in the 2012 WSOP Event #46: $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em for $20,327.
“The games have been getting tougher, but I don’t really play as much as I used to, so I just kind of relax,” Sindelar said of the Vegas poker scene. In fact, Sindelar admits he’s been playing more on the golf course than he has on the green felt.
As for Sindelar’s deep run in the 2014 WSOP Main Event, it was the first time he managed to make the money in five or six years of trying. His journey began on Day 1b when he finished in the 1,428 survivors 686th in chips with 40,850. He then made it through Day 2a/b with 152,900 in chips, which put him 407 out of 1,864 heading into Day 3. Just 746 players would make it out of that day, and Sindelar was one of them, finishing in 132nd in chips with 421,500.
Sindelar came on strong on Day 4 when he chipped up to 1.621 million, good for 17 of 291. However, it was on Day 5 that he finally cracked the top 10 and finished seventh out of the final 79 players with 5.24 million. Sindelar improved that on Day 6, where he finished in the top 27 with 16.345 million, good for the third biggest stack in the room.
“This is so much fun, I can’t really explain it right now; so much blood pumping right now,” Sindelar told PokerNews on Day 6 of the 2014 WSOP Main Event. “I’ve never played for this amount of money, so I’ve never really quite felt this feeling before. I just love it. I want to come back again next year and hopefully do the same thing.”
Day 7 saw Sindelar spend quite a bit of time in the chip lead, but things slowed down for him at the final two tables. By the time the November Nine was established, he sat fifth in chips with 21.2 million. One man Sindelar has his eye on is none other than Mark Newhouse, who made poker history by making back-to-back November Nines.
“He’s tough," Sindelar said of his opponent. "He’s a tough player right there, and it’s amazing what he’s done to make it back-to-back final tables. A lot of respect for him." Fortunately for him, he and Newhouse are seated in the eight and four seats, respectively, so their positions are relatively balanced.
Here's a look at Sindelar's WSOP résumé prior to the 2014 Main Event:
Total WSOP & Circuit Earnings: $227,791
WSOP Bracelets: 0
WSOP Cashes: 17
WSOP Earnings: $149,991
Circuit Rings: 0
Circuit Cashes: 11
Circuit Earnings: $77,800
For more on Sindelar, check out the interview he did with PokerNews’ Sarah Grant the day after making the November Nine: