2008 champion Eastgate ‘retires’ from poker

The World Series of Poker’s Main Event kicked off its final session of Day 1 qualifying today at the Rio, but one former champion was not in Las Vegas.

Danish poker standout Peter Eastgate, the 2008 world poker champion, told Oskar Garcia of the Associated Press he’s all but retired from poker.

"I was bored of the game, lacking motivation, did not need the money any more so saw no point in continuing," Eastgate told Garcia in a Facebook message Wednesday. "In case I return, it will be because I need an income again or because I am bored doing nothing."

Not much a chance for that to happen.

Eastgate won $9.15 million in the $10,000 buy-in No-limit Hold’em World Championship in 2008, topping a field of 6,843 players. He broke 11-time gold bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth’s record as the youngest World Series of Poker champion ever.

Eastgate told Garcia he was taking a break from high-stakes gambling. He has no immediate plans and isn’t sure what he will do next.

“When I started playing poker for a living, it was never my goal to spend the rest of my life as a professional poker player,” Eastgate said. ‘My goal was to become financially independent.”

Hellmuth, who won the main event in 1989 at age 24, said Eastgate’s move will be atypical of young poker players who find a windfall of cash and fame through a big tournament win.

“I think that Eastgate is smart. He’s going to step away and figure out who he is, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he came back a more confident, better person in four years,” Hellmuth told the AP. "He seems like a levelheaded kid anyway.”

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