Winning the first ever bracelet at 70: Ronnie McMillen’s WSOP win is an inspiration to many

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Image Source: WSOP.com

70 Y/o Iowa native Ron McMillen recently won his first bracelet in this year’s WSOP $1000 no-limit Hold’em six-max event by navigating through a field of 1,026 entries to earn $188,214 in prize money. Before July, McMillen never played a hand of online poker even though he’s been an avid poker player for nearly 50 years now. Times changed and the world shifted to online especially now, when the current state of affairs are just not feasible for live action, but the virtual version of the game just never appealed to McMillen.

The business owner and recreational poker player racked up more than $150,000 in live tournament earnings, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the WSOP postponement, McMillen pushed himself to at least experiment with the virtual world of poker. Look where it got him!

McMillen started out playing home games in the early 70s, did a little casino hopping here and there, travelled to places with his friends for poker tours and has been playing in main events since 2007. He’s played with players – big and small, with young pros and real legends which made him a lot more aware of today’s game.

Back in the days especially in the 70s, earning something, anything through poker was a big deal. Bringing up a couple rolls of quarters and dimes, winning even a few bucks was an entirely new ball game for many, and McMillen was one of them. As he got into the 80s, things started to ramp up, live action changed significantly and bringing in great bankroll became of utmost preference. Now, this guy might never have won a bracelet ring but he did make a couple runs in some main events and deep runs in June at the WSOP as well. We can surely call this one a home run!

What surprised us most was that he doesn’t know a thing about computers! Ever since the world went into its unpredictable state of a lockdown and live poker just came to a halt, McMillen (like every helpless poker player on the planet) was forced to just stay put. His friends offered to set his computer and teach him how to play online and everything just unravelled from there.

In fact, just before he started his journey online, he went out and bought a MacBook Air for himself, which was also recommended by a friend. He went through a terrible time getting Caesars to recognise his account due to identity proof and verification issues and had barely enough time to play the tournament he won. We call this meant to be!

During the game as well, he couldn’t figure out the basics of the software that easily but that’s where he thinks he ran pretty well. All things aside, McMillen still believes in playing live than online, he loves people and social interaction and would much rather win with all his friends in the audience rather than having five guys in a big suite at Caesars.

Bagging a bracelet is a dream come true for many, and who knew that you can start fresh at the age of 70 with no absolute knowledge of where and how you’ll be diving in. So, no matter where you are, what you do and where you come from, a game like poker motivates you to do better, push further and possibly win that bracelet you’ve been dreaming of. It’s never too late to start!

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