Poker pro can't wait to return to Choctaw Casino
DURANT, Okla. (KTEN) – Surrounded by people more than half his age, Steve Buckner was a 62-year-old New Yorker playing poker in Oklahoma.
But what he did at the table left him itching to come back.
"I love Choctaw. I love Choctaw," he said.
One year ago Buckner was one of three players left at the table at the World Series of Poker.
"Some young kid who had all the chips and Jeremy from Dallas, another dear friend of mine, that became my friend playing poker. And I told the kid, I said, 'Let's make a chop here, we get almost $18,000 apiece. Let's play for the ring."
His young foe should have taken the deal when he had the chance; Buckner finished in 2nd place, taking home $320,000 pot.
"The kid tells me, 'I want it all.' I said, ' Now let me explain something to you, young gun: You think you're better than me, but I'm going to take Jeremy out now first. And then I'm going to dissect you.' I said 'I'm going to take all your chips, and you're going to go out second.' And I won my first WSOP ring there."
The win cemented Durant's permanent place in Buckner's heart.
"Even though I'm a New York boy -- I'm a Yankee -- all my friends are from Dallas, and they turned me on to the place," Buckner said.
Choctaw Casino drew in 2,321 of the best players for the World Poker Tour stop last year.
And if you're looking for some tips from the champ, it's not hard to find him.
"If somebody wanted to put a hit on me, they'll know exactly where I am. Normally in the same spot. I'll be downstairs that escalator at Choctaw right at the first machine smoking my cigar on my 15-minute break. Then I go back up."
One thing’s for sure: This New Yorker — who has won $1.2 million in WPT tournaments — could never forget about the Magnolia City, where the World Poker Tour will return May 5-8 for a $2 million championship event.