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Meet the gambler who refuses to split $9.2M Circa Survivor prize

Updated December 22, 2023 - 7:40 pm

When the Circa Survivor field was whittled to 13 contestants last week, 12 of them quickly agreed to a partial chop of the $9.2 million pot.

The deal was that each entry would get $400,000, and they would continue to compete for the remaining $4 million. Not bad for a $1,000 buy-in.

But then the Grinch — or, in this case, the entry with the alias “Goldenboy” — stole Christmas.

Sean Perry, a high-stakes gambler and poker player who has almost $7 million in career live tournament earnings, was the final contestant contacted about the chop.

The 27-year-old Las Vegas native replied on X (@itsvegassean) that he was Goldenboy and had no interest in splitting the pot.

“I said, ‘With all respect, I’m the best bettor in the world. There’s no way I’m ever chopping. I wish you guys all the best. I’ll see you at the finish line,’” the fast-talking Perry told me in an interview this week.

Perry did offer to chop if he got $2 million, because he believes he has an advantage.

“Why would I chop when I have an edge?” he said. “If you do $400K each, any money I take out of the prize pool is money I’m, in theory, losing because I have an edge. I believe I have the best team left, and I’m confident in my ability. This is what I do. I’m a big-time crusher. I’ve been the biggest winner in sports for the longest time.

“To be honest, I’ve kind of taken a big step away from the poker world and into sports because I’ve been crushing and making so much.”

Top 10

In a cruel twist of fate, Marc Goldberg (@FightOnSpooky), one of the final 13 who tried to coordinate the chop, was eliminated Sunday by the Titans.

Two others also were knocked out as the race for the richest football handicapping contest prize ever is now down to 10 entries from a field of 9,267. With the averaged implied value of each entry $926,700, Circa is offering credit to contestants who want to hedge their selections and monetize their entries.

There are four weeks left in Survivor, which counts Christmas Day as a separate week. Contestants pick one straight-up NFL winner each week but can use each team only once.

Every entrant has already used the Bills, the biggest favorite on the board in Survivor Week 16a. But all 10 still have the Broncos, 7-point favorites over the Patriots on Sunday night.

For Christmas, nine entrants have the Eagles, 13½-point favorites over the Giants, and two have the Chiefs, 10-point favorites over the Raiders.

Only one, Rod Beck Apples, has the Chiefs and Eagles, who they could theoretically save for Week 17 at home against the Cardinals or for Week 18 at the Giants.

Perry is the only entry that still has the Jaguars theoretically available for Week 17 at home against the Panthers.

‘Another day in the office’

Goldenboy was the childhood nickname bestowed upon Perry by his mother, Las Vegas Realtors president Merri Perry.

Perry, who lives in the same building as his mother, grew up idolizing his father, World Series of Poker bracelet winner Ralph Perry.

“My bar mitzvah was poker-themed,” he said. “I always dreamed of being a poker player and gambler.”

Perry dropped out of college at Cal Poly at 19 to play poker and won $643,507 in his first year. He won $3.8 million in 2021 and $1.9 million in 2022, when he had his best cash of $640,000 for winning the $50,000 buy-in No-limit Hold’em event at the PokerGO Cup.

A few days later, Perry said he rolled over the money and bet it all on the Rams on the money line (-200) over the Bengals in the 2022 Super Bowl. After cashing out at Caesars Palace, he posted a video on Instagram (@itsvegassean) showing him stuffing almost $1 million into a suitcase at the sportsbook.

He also posted a video of himself at Caesars Palace wagering $800,000 to win $880,000 on the Chiefs on the money line (+110) in the 2023 Super Bowl.

Perry said he showed up at Circa sportsbook with $1 million to open an account and bought 10 Survivor entries and five Circa Sports Million entries on a whim.

His top entry in the Million is tied for 55th place (47-25-3 ATS), and he’s tied for fourth in the fourth-quarter standings (9-0-1).

The brash Perry posted on X that he wants a cash payout when he wins Survivor and to “get the wheelbarrows ready.”

He said the money would not change his life.

“It’s just another day in the office,” he said. “I just love the battle. The winning is more important for me than the money.”

Perry understands that many will see him as a villain for not chopping the pot.

“If you don’t have any haters, you’re doing (expletive) the wrong way,” he said. “Unfortunately in the poker world, I have a bunch of haters, and in the gambling world, I have a bunch of haters. People don’t like winners.

“I’m not doing anything wrong. I don’t mean harm to anyone. But the truth is, for me, this is a business and this is how I make my money. We all signed up in this competition to make money and to play to a winner.”

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on X.

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