20 Greatest Poker Pics of All Time – #7: Pilgrim’s Journey Ends in Tears

Poker ain't always just about the money.

Poker ain’t always just about the money.

** Editor’s Note: A panel of industry peers helped assemble the 20 Greatest Poker Pics of All Time. A new picture will be posted daily until we get to #1.

“Is there a number higher than 1?” – Jeff Holsey

“We may make this numbers 1-4.” – Chops

We were way, way early on the man the myth the legend, Black Phil Ivey, Big Sldick, the one and only Dwyte Pilgrim bandwagon.

Unlike Sheldon Adelson, Dwyte Pilgrim is an awful lot of what we love about America: hard-working, grinder, interesting and expressive.

Pilgrim was the hardest working tournament grinder out there. He spent a good portion of 2009-2010 crushing the low stakes circuit scene. With so much consistent low-stakes success, it “felt” like Pilgrim was ready for a major breakthrough–the one win that would put him on the map.

Then came the 2010 WPT Borgata Poker Open.

Current WSOP.com Managing Editor and past WPT Live Updates manager Jess Welman puts it well:

What always struck me about Dwyte Pilgrim was how there were two versions of DP. One was the guy you saw at the tables. He was the guy who trash-talked like a boxer, who compared playing poker to Gracie Jiu-jitsu. That final table was one of Dwyte’s most entertaining performances as a player. He talked trash, asking his heads-up opponent Kia Mohajeri what his first name meant in his language. Kia told him it meant something like “king” or “sun” or something grandiose. Dwyte responds, “In my language, it means cheap car.” He was self-depricating too. He outflopped Ofir Mor and celebrated before the turn and river only to have Mor draw out on him. Rather than get upset, Dwyte yells over to Mike and Vince, “That was on me. I shouldn’t have celebrated early.” As we were watching, my boss Jeff Holsey and I knew we were seeing something special, even if Dwyte didn’t win.

Then there was the Dwyte away from the tables who was possibly the most mild-mannered poker player I ever met. He would ask for good luck hugs, always thank us for giving him coverage and for working hard, and you could even say he was kind of shy. He spoke very quietly when he wasn’t playing poker, and he had the best laugh that had an almost childlike quality to it.

That night at Borgata, you got to see the two Dwytes come together the moment he won. The photog who got the photo, Brian Lowe, was all the right places at the right time. He laid on the ground and photographed Pilgrim overcome with emotion, literally on the ground crying. He ran around the final table with Dwyte as he took his victory lap. And he was there to capture that moment when fighter Dwyte took in the victory and mild-mannered real life Dwyte, overcome with emotion, got to see all those years of hard work and effort pay off with a career-defining victory.

Had Dwyte appeared on the poker scene five years earlier, he’d have been a superstar. UB had real interest in sponsoring him by the 2011 WSOP, but then Why’s-It-Gotta-Be-Black-Friday happened, and those deals all went away. But Dwyte had the potential to have been a top 5 personality in the game.

Regardless, poker needs more Pilgrim-like personalities. And this #8 Greatest Poker Pics of All Time entry captures what it means for many to finally breakthrough through and get their due.

The top 6 starts on Monday…

* Photo credit: Brian Lowe / WPT

Review pics 20-09:

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