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New Jersey Online Poker Grinder Dan Zack Talks About His Huge WSOP Win

Dan Zack was living a dream last week at World Series of Poker. The New Jersey grinder went head-to-head for its second bracelet with a 20-1 chip advantage. The winner would score $440,757 in the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Championship. But things didn’t quite go as planned.

That lead had fallen to a 6-1 advantage for his opponent, Dustin Dirksen. Losing another big pot could put Zack in serious trouble. A key hand developed that may have turned the tables.

Dirksen held A-9-5-10 with a double flush draw with 9-5 on the board and no redraws. A loss for Zack would mean finalistbut sharing the pot would at least keep him alive.

“It’s a place where if he’s already got a made hand, I’m just dead and it was the first time heads-up in four hours that I was really tanked,” says Zack, who lives in City of Jersey. “I ended up deciding the price was too good and there were enough hands I was live against and put my last 1.5 bets.”

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Both players indeed cut the pot and Zack made a huge comeback. Adding that second piece of hardware still feels surreal for a long time poker player.

“It feels good to win a second bracelet,” he said. “I started playing poker watching the WSOP on ESPN and I always dreamed of playing there. As a result, even though I rarely play tournaments outside of the WSOP, I’m still here every year to pursue the dream of collecting these things, and so every bracelet won is precious.

Success at the WSOP and adaptation to online poker

Although he prefers cash games, Zack is obviously no slouch in the live tournament arena. He currently has more than $1.7 million in live tournament winnings.

The Omaha Hi-Lo title became the biggest win of his career. He also scored a bracelet in 2019 in a $2,500 Limit Mixed Triple Draw event for $160,447.

Zack illustrates how difficult it is to win a bracelet in these events featuring huge fields and big players. Beyond last week’s tournament, which brought together 196 players for a $1.8 million pot, he had many other deep runs and final table appearances. He also scored a WSOP Tour ring in 2013 as well, and was happy to break through again in Las Vegas.

Like many, poker has changed a lot for Zack during the pandemic and he was forced to adapt. Previously primarily a live player, online poker in New Jersey has become a bigger part of his routine.

“There’s been a decent amount of mixed gaming action there since the pandemic, where most of my volume has gone,” he says, “But I’m also playing a lot fewer hours these days. than previously.”

Away from the table and looking ahead

Poker isn’t the only game the 29-year-old enjoys. Zack loves strategy and competitive games. Far from the tables Foyer and Teamfight Tactics are particular favorites.

“Those are two games I’ve spent a lot of time on over the past five years trying to be as good as possible as a challenge to myself,” he said. “At one point, I think I was in the top 100 global players in TFT and was probably close, but not quite as good of a Hearthstone player. I doubt I’ll ever stop playing strategy games even after quitting poker.

Chances are, strategy and analytical thinking pay off at the poker table too. The Omaha Hi-Lo win wasn’t the only big news on Zack’s agenda lately. Another major event is also in his future.

“I recently got engaged to the love of my life, Ivy,” he says. “We have been together for six years and I feel blessed to have found such an amazing life partner.”

Daniel Zack playing at the final table on the PokerGO set last week. (courtesy picture PokerGO)

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No more bracelet hunting

With plenty of action left in Vegas, Zack has a lot more poker on the horizon. Beyond his big win, Zack has also had two other cash-ins so far.

He seeks even greater success as the action unfolds on the Strip. This even includes adding bigger buy-in tournaments to his schedule in hopes of another fine finish.

“So far the WSOP has been quiet for me outside of winning,” he says. “I had a great run in the $500 Housewarming, but finished 200th out of 20,000 entries. Otherwise it has been a full program but no other receipts yet

“For me, the rest of the series is full steam ahead. I’m now third in the Player of the Year standings, so I’m going to go for that as hard as I can. I might try adding the No Limit Hold’em tournaments $50,000, $100,000, and $250,000 to my schedule, but otherwise I was already planning to fire everything else.

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