Defeating thousands of other competitors to qualify for a World Poker Tour event makes Howie Eintracht confident in his ability.
His experience with the cards makes him aware that he's going to need more than skill alone to keep that success going.
Positive yet pragmatic, Eintracht is getting ready to play in the Borgata Poker Open's main event, which gets under way Sunday in Atlantic City, N.J. The 56-year-old from Paia earned his spot in the Texas hold 'em tournament by winning an online qualifying event that had more than 2,600 participants.
"I won my way in, and that makes me think I can do well," he said Friday. "But there's a luck part of the game, too, and I understand that."
He added: "I'm hoping I win it. Nobody has ever won a big tournament as a qualifier. It's a long shot, but so is beating 2,600 people."
Eintracht has more than just the usual reasons to hope for an extended run at the five-day tournament. The event will be televised on the Fox Sports Network next year, and Eintracht said he won't be shy about taking advantage of an opportunity to promote his business, the photography company Howie from Maui.
"I'm not into tooting my own horn, but I decided that I'm going to embrace this, which is different for me," he said.
Eintracht played in the Borgata event in 2009 as well, reaching the second day. He recalled being eliminated when he held two kings and his opponent had two 10s, but a 10 appeared on the board of community cards.
He also noted, though, that he has been on the positive end of some lucky breaks.
"The way you run is a big part of poker," said Eintracht, who has also cashed in at a World Series of Poker event, taking 85th place and $3,229 at the Seniors No-Limit Hold 'em World Championship in 2008. "Anybody realizes that anybody can do well on any given day. The difference between the people who are elite and the people who are very good sometimes isn't that big, because there's a lot that has to do with how the cards go.
"If you bet big and you hit, you're a hero. If not, then you're done."
* Brad Sherman is at firstname.lastname@example.org