Dwyte Pilgrim began playing poker online in 2006, and since that time he has built his poker career step by step on the way to contending in the biggest buy-in tournaments in the world. He has become one of the greatest players in the history of the World Series of Poker Circuit series and impressed many people in the poker industry with his play. He made the jump to playing full time at the WSOP this summer in Las Vegas. Let’s take a look at how he got here.Dwyte Pilgrim Career Stats:Career Cashes: 32 Career Earnings: $689,719 Career Titles: 6WSOP Circuit Cashes: 20 WSOP Circuit Earnings: $424,772 WSOP Circuit Titles: 3Pilgrim is from Brooklyn, New York, and before he got his start in poker he was a loan officer.“I was playing poker part time and I was making better money than people who were actually taking the jobs seriously,” said Pilgrim. “I thought I could make more money playing full time than I was making as a loan officer.”He decided to leave his job in late 2006 and started playing online. Pilgrim loved becoming his own boss, but he quickly found that was also the toughest part of his new career path.“The toughest part is being your own boss,” said Pilgrim. “You have to be able to rely on yourself. I wanted to put myself in a position to really be successful, it takes self-discipline.”He also discovered that Brooklyn was a tough place to learn the game. It led him to become a self-made professional.“When I was learning in Brooklyn there weren’t really a lot of people playing in my neighborhood, so for me to get information and get better I had to go online, or get books, or play in the casinos to learn for myself,” said Pilgrim. “When you first start out no one really wants to discuss the game with you. You have to be at there level. It’s like learning a new language with all of the different slang.”He moved to Atlantic City and spent a year in the Taj Mahal during 2008 playing cash games to sharpen his live play.“Basically, I saw that a lot of money could be made,” said Pilgrim of his time at the Taj. “That was when I saw that it was a game I could play for the next 50 years, and if I got good at it I could make a lot of money. I was also drawn to the competitive aspect of it.”Pilgrim’s first tournament cash came in January 2008 at the Borgata Winter Open in a $500 preliminary no-limit hold’em event. He then cashed six more times at Atlantic City WSOP Circuit events in 2008 and early 2009 before he decided to take his poker game on the road. He did well at the WSOP Circuit events that take place at casinos across the United States and his confidence grew. Since the WSOP Circuit tour began in 2005, few players have been able to use the tour as a stepping stone as well as Pilgrim.He traveled to the WSOP Circuit Harrah’s Rincon event near San Diego, California, in March 2009, and that was when he took his live tournament poker career to the next level. Pilgrim won a $500 no-limit hold’em preliminary event to take home his first WSOP Circuit gold ring and $83,955. He went on to make another final table in the preliminaries the next week, and then made a third final table in the WSOP Circuit championship event on April 1. He went on to win the championship event for $125,775 and was awarded his second gold ring.He finished 2009 with 14 total cashes and he finished in the top 100 of the Card Player Player of the Year race with 1,994 points. He had taken another step forward in his poker career, and players and media within the poker industry were beginning to take note of this self-made player from the East Coast.“Before I came to the tournament circuit I thought I knew a lot about poker and I thought I was good enough to compete,” said Pilgrim. “By the time I won my second WSOP Circuit ring, I realized that I knew way more information than when I started. There were times before that where I felt like I had what it took, but after a few years I had a better view of reality. When I first started playing I was cashing in four out of 10 tournaments, so I thought I was going to be a 40-percent casher. Once you learn the business, you realize that nobody cashes 40 percent of the time. After you play the game for a while you realize the game is a lot harder than you thought it was.”Early in 2010 Pilgrim held people’s attention by building on his success, using his growing bankroll to start entering $10,000 buy-in events on the major tours. He also still plays in the mid-level tournaments where he built his bankroll and he continues to dominate. Before the 2010 WSOP Pilgrim cashed 11 times, made 10 final tables, and won four tournament titles in five months. He added his third WSOP Circuit gold ring when he won a $300 no-limit hold’em event at Harrah’s Rincon in March. He also scored his first major tournament cash in February at the North American Poker Tour Venetian main event. Pilgrim eclipsed his 2009 POY totals in the first five months of 2010. He currently holds 3,136 points and sits in fourth place in the standings.Pilgrim is playing at the WSOP with confidence and he has a busy summer in Las Vegas.“I’m trying to play everything. I think I’m going to be one of the players to watch here at the World Series . I’m really trying to make a name for myself and I hope to do it this year,” said Pilgrim.His major goal for the summer is to make one final table, and considering that more than 90 percent of his cashes in 2010 have been final-table appearances, it is safe to say he should accomplish his goal this summer. Multiple final tables wouldn’t be out of the question for the seasoned professional and a first gold bracelet would also come as no surprise.“I think you will see the full package. I have worked the past two years to get my game to where it is right now. I’m doing what I do without the support behind me that a lot of players have and I’m competing with them,” said Pilgrim.Keep an eye out for Pilgrim this summer at the WSOP as he tried to make the transition from the best player you’ve never heard of to one that holds a gold bracelet to go with his three gold rings.
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