Before he won millions of dollars at various poker stops, Chad Eveslage he was a teenager on a small cow farm in the south Indiana who started playing the game after seeing it on TV.
“I started playing like 8th grade online, playing for money and stuff like that,” Eveslage said. “Like everybody, I watched the WSOP on ESPN, like the Moneymaker Boom deal, and like any good kid in that age group, I just did whatever was on ESPN. So I was like, OK, that looks great, I’ll do that.”
Now 31, Eveslage is on an incredible poker hot streak, winning his first World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet and $1.4 million earlier this year in a $25,000 High Roller and he is going to win the record World Poker Tour (WPT) $10,400 Five Diamond World Poker Classic for $1 million and his second WPT title.
A third WPT title could be on the cards for Eveslage as he is still alive on the 3rd WPT 2022 Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open (RRPO) $3,500 Main Event after finishing day 2 as one of the chip leaders.
Should he finish third or better, Eveslage would take the lead Steven Buckner in the WPT Player of the Year race.
The two-time WPT champion recently spoke with PokerNews Chad Holloway on the PokerNews podcast about his current rise, his background in poker, and how he spent almost every waking moment of the COVID-19 pandemic playing poker online.
Listen to Chad Eveslage on the PokerNews Podcast!
Start of career in Florida
After starting out with play money, Eveslage “got good” at poker and “started playing real money in high school.”
“I’ve basically been playing ever since,” he said.
Eveslage left his hometown of Ramsey and moved to Florida to continue with poker, where he would eventually win a $25,500 High Roller in the 2021 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown in Hollywood for $767,576. But before that, I was mainly preparing juicy Florida cash games.
“Indiana doesn’t have much in terms of poker,” Eveslage said. “Especially when I first moved down here, Florida was really active. There (were) a lot of cash games and really good stuff. And I didn’t really want to live in Las Vegas. So yeah, I ended up setting up in Florida. And I’ve got some friends down here, too. So it just made sense.”
Eveslage, who has $6.7 million in live earnings, according to The Hendon Mob, eventually turned his focus to tournaments, noting that “the cash seems like more work … There’s a lot more to tournaments and it’s easier focus on the tournaments because there’s very little. things that can influence decisions and things.”
A story of two opponents facing each other
Eveslage had his best career moment so far this summer at the 2022 WSOP when he won seven figures and his first bracelet at Event no. 8: $25,000 High Rollerwhere the most prominent names like Chris Brewer, Josh Arieh and 2021 Main Event Champion Koray Aldemir they all decorated the final table.
But it was Jake Schindler, who earlier this year was accused of cheating by other high-stakes pros, took on Eveslage in a battle that captivated everyone at Bally’s. The good guy won when Eveslage beat a player he had some history with.
“It felt like a dream. I won all-in, it was really fun.”
“It felt great. Jake and I go way back, because when I moved to Florida initially, he was here, too,” Eveslage said. “And we’ve played a lot together. He moved out of Florida, he moved to Las Vegas and he got really big (and) blew up. And then yeah, how much he cheated is still kind of unknown, but yeah , winning the tournament, it was surreal. It felt like a dream. I won all-in, it was so much fun.”
Chad Eveslage and Jake Schindler
The quiet and scandal-ridden Schindler was a very different opponent than Eveslage had at WPT Five Diamond, where he defeated. Steven Bucknera loud, eccentric Floridian who currently leads the WPT POY race.
“He’s like a cartoon character where, I don’t know where he finds the energy, but for five days straight he just yelled, ‘Yeah, let’s go, let’s go!'” Eveslage said. “There was a $2/$5 table yelling at him because he was so strong.”
“It was so much fun to watch him scream and scream and scream. There’s nobody like him.”
Steven Buckner and Chad Eveslage
While his two big scores this year were prestige wins, Eveslage said “the $25,000 bracelet probably means a little bit more, just because it’s a tough field and … it gave me a lot more confidence “.
“And yes, it’s more money, plus beating Jake was kind of fun.”
Mixed games and online poker
Despite winning two recent live titles, Eveslage said most of his volume comes online, where he plays mixed games in private apps and big Sunday tournaments.
“I’ve mostly played a lot more online than live,” he said. “I mean, during COVID-19 I played every day for like 16 hours.”
And while his two recent live wins were of the no-limit hold’em variety, Eveslage would like to add a mixed-game bracelet to his poker resume.
“During COVID I played every day for about 16 hours.”
“I like the mix,” he said. “It’s weird, there’s a lot of interesting stuff in the mix of that kind of no-limit carry. So if I get better at limit hold’em, I can get a little better at no-limit. There are some concepts of transfer and stuff. But yeah, winning a mixed bracelet would be fun.”
Eveslage, who has made WSOP mixed game final tables in HORSE, Limit Hold’em and Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better events, added that there is “some tension with some of the mixed community, and I’m a I kind of come from the No Limits community, and they definitely want me to lose and I definitely want to show them that, and it’s kind of fun.”
“Mixed players are a different group than uncapped players. They’re more fun, they complain more, I don’t know… They’re just different.”
“Running very well”
Even though he’s had several million dollar scores this year, Eveslage isn’t letting it get to his head.
“Credentials are nice because they give some validation to people outside the poker world,” he said. “But the pros in the poker world know that it’s just a difference in the big tournaments. Over a long period of time, of course, there can be some patterns, but this heater that I’m in right now, it’s not like the best players of poker in the world were like, ‘Oh, Chad must be super sick.’ They realize it’s (that I’m) running really well.”
The credentials are also nice to show his parents, who said they let him play poker when he was 16 and “probably took a little heat, so they definitely wanted him to win … just because people he said ‘Oh, they let Chad play poker.’ .’”
“I’m trying to explain to my parents that I’m not going to keep winning big tournament after big tournament,” he said. “They tell me, ‘Oh, you’re going to do it every year!’ ‘”
Reflecting on his financial future, Eveslage, who noted that he “never really got into crypto” but has “looked into it recently just because the FTX thing is so dramatic and entertaining,” said he doesn’t knows if poker it will always be your only income.
“Downs are really cool. I haven’t done one in a while, but I don’t want to be 50 and have to go through like a year down. That doesn’t sound like much fun.”
Click here to see how Chad Eveslage is doing in the WPT RRPO!
Chad Eveslage on Day 2 of the WPT Rock ‘n’ Roll Poker Open.
*Images courtesy of WPT/Drew Amato/Joe Giron.