Off-Track


NASCAR driver's deep run in poker tourney ends

July 12, 2014, Brad Norman, NASCAR.com

NASCAR driver's deep run in poker tourney ends
Jason White impressed NASCAR -- and poker -- community with his play

The dream is over. NASCAR driver Jason White has been eliminated from the "Main Event" of the World Series of Poker after four grueling days of play in Las Vegas.

The tournament has a $10,000 entry fee and pays out $10 million to the winner. White drew praise from poker pro Phil Hellmuth -- perhaps the Jimmie Johnson of the poker community -- as he outlasted several of the game's top players.

White was ousted early Saturday morning (about 2 a.m. ET) and finished in 348th place out of more than 6,600 entries -- in other words, he outlasted 95 percent of the field. White's efforts earned him a prize payout of $33,734.

As is sometimes the case in racing, White just didn't have good luck at the end. He bet nearly his entire stack when he was dealt two jacks. His opponent had two sixes, which means White was approximately an 81 percent favorite to win prior to the five community cards being dealt. One of those community cards was a six, though, and gave his opponent the better hand.

Take a scroll below to see updates from the past four days, including tweets and images from the tournament.

Update: Jason White is still alive at the World Series of Poker. He has 265,000 chips with 450 players left as the field takes a dinner break.


Update: Jason White is still among the 595 players alive at the World Series of Poker as the 6,683-player field continues to be whittled down on Day 4. Once again, Phil Hellmuth acknowledge White's poker prowess, tipping his cap to the driver and his fellow NASCAR competitors.

Update: Jason White and poker legend Phil Hellmuth tweeted that the driver is on to Day 4 of the World Series of Poker.

Update: Jason White tweeted out his progress on Thursday.


Update: Jason White is still alive in the "Main Event" of the World Series of Poker. Play for Day 3 begins at 3 p.m. ET Thursday, and White has $157,100 in chips -- good for 383rd out of of the 1,864 players remaining in the tournament. The top-finishing 693 players will win money.

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NASCAR driver Jason White was on a different kind of circuit over the weekend -- the poker circuit.

White, who has driven in three national series races this year, plunked down $10,000 to enter the Main Event of the World Series of Poker, held annually in Las Vegas. If he wins the whole thing, it'll be a great investment -- first prize is $10 million.

"I had an off weekend and I decided to come out," White told www.pokerlistings.com. "It's been a lot of fun. I think I'm the first NASCAR driver to play in the World Series of Poker so that's pretty cool."

White may have more of a chance of cashing -- that is, of playing deep enough into the tournament to win money -- than some would think. His buddy Jay Farber, who finished second in the Main Event last year to win $5.17 million, has been a trainer of sorts.

And White likened playing in the Main Event to racing at Daytona. There will always be favorites, but something unexpected is more likely to happen there then at, say, a mile-and-a-half track -- something that happened Sunday when Aric Almirola won for the first time in his Cup career.

"Obviously (in poker), it''s a lot of luck and a lot of skill," White said. "You have to be in the right place at the right time. It's a lot like racing that way. In Daytona if you're aren’t in the right place at the right time then you get in a wreck. Just like racing you just want to beat everyone else in poker."

This isn't the first time NASCAR and poker have cross-pollinated. White noted that a lot of NASCAR drivers play poker recreationally. Then there's the sport's multiple visits to Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and poker legend Phil Hellmuth took a tour of the Daytona Rising progress with Rusty Wallace in late April.

 "I'd definitely like to be able to show what NASCAR drivers can do at the poker table," White said. "A lot of NASCAR drivers love to play poker, we just don't get to do it too much. It would be great to make a run in the Main Event."

A deep run? Maybe. But at the very least, Jason White has advanced to Day 2 with $54,625 in chips, up from his starting stack of $30,000.