David Anthony Williams
David Anthony Williams (born June 9, 1980 in Arlington, Texas) is a professional poker and Magic: The Gathering player. According to Williams, he received a score of 1550 out of 1600 on his SATs, and was accepted to several Ivy League universities, including Princeton University. However, he chose to study economics at Southern Methodist University and attended the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science, an early entrance college program.
Magic: The Gathering
His initial foray into Magic’s Pro Tour came in the late 1990s. He had already won over $30,000 playing Magic when he made the cutoff for the final day of competition of the 2001 World Championships in Toronto. However, he was disqualified without prize for marked cards because three of his four Accumulated Knowledge cards were bent more than the other cards in his deck, making them easier to cut to when Williams cut his own deck after his opponent shuffled it. The tournament’s judging staff determined that the bending was not accidental and that Williams had cheated based on two criteria:
* Each time Williams cut his deck as part of pregame shuffling procedure, a copy of Accumulated Knowledge was on top.
* The judges were able to consistently cut his deck to a copy of Accumulated Knowledge.
Williams admitted that the cards were marked but disputed the determination that he cheated by marking them intentionally. Williams was suspended by the DCI from sanctioned Magic: The Gathering tournaments for one year. During this suspension, Williams started to play high-stakes Texas hold ’em, especially on the Internet. He made a successful comeback after his suspension was finished, and won money at several more Magic events, though his focus was mainly on poker.
Williams was self taught to play no-limit Texas Hold’em tournaments. He was then mentored in poker by Marcel Lüske, with whom they both had a mutual friend in the Netherlands, Noah Boeken. Williams’s poker success was capped at the 2004 World Series of Poker. He won his buy-in through an online poker site and made it to the finals of the main event, ultimately finishing second to Greg Raymer, but still winning $3.5 million for the runner-up prize. His second-place finish is the best ever by an African American in a WSOP Main Event, besting Phil Ivey’s 7th place finish in 2009. Four months later, he finished second at the Borgata Open World Poker Tour where he collected $573,800. David Williams became a member of Team Bodog after the 2004 World Series of Poker.
In March 2006, Williams made a second WPT final table, finishing 4th for $280,000. Two months later he made another WPT final table, again finishing 4th. Williams also appeared on the game show King of Vegas, finishing in third place. Williams now has his own blog that offers an inside look at his personal and professional life. The webisodes air on the internet TV channel RawVegas.tv. Even though there is more money that can be made in professional poker than in professional Magic, Williams has said he will continue to play both games, although poker will take precedence. Like many who play both, he has asserted that the two are for different purposes: he plays Magic to have fun, and poker to make money.
Williams won his sole WSOP bracelet in 2006 in the $1,500 Seven-card stud event when his K♠ 3♥ 4♣ J♦ (6♠ 4♠ J♥) defeated John Hoang’s 4♣ 5♠ 9♦ 3♣ (A♦ 8♠ 10♠). His mother Shirley Williams often attends poker events in which he plays, and even competed in the 2006 WSOP main event, outlasting her son in the process.
As of 2009, his total live tournament winnings exceed $6,325,000. $4,279,863 of his live winnings have come at the WSOP.