4over Inc. : Gambling with SuccessOctober 2011 By Erik Cagle
The WSOP is an impossible event to win. It’s eight grueling days of 14-hour marathon No Limit Texas Hold ’em play. The so-called poker professionals—the guys (and gals) who play for a living—are generally ousted in the first four days due to the sheer volume of players. Those who make the final table boast a combination of skill, youth, stamina, focus and, of course, luck.
Once limited to a few hundred hard core players, the WSOP truly took off in 2003 when Chris Moneymaker (gotta love that moniker) reeled in the big prize with a cowboy style of play under the bright lights of ESPN’s television cameras. The old game exploded in popularity and has even drawn in celebrities such as Jason Alexander, Shannon Elizabeth and Nelly.
On day three of play, actor Brad Garrett of “Everybody Loves Raymond” fame found himself with a short stack of chips and went all in (bet everything) after seeing an ace on the flop. His opponent, having seen the actor go all in with an ace/three earlier, decided to call and put the Herman Munster-esque funny man at risk of being eliminated.
Garrett showed his cards but, this time, he was holding ace/king. The opponent was crestfallen—he had an ace/queen, so Garrett was able to “double up” and continue doing his comedic shtick for at least another hand.
“I put him on ace/baby also, so I called him,” recalls Garrett’s victim, Zarik Megerdichian, the CEO of Glendale, CA-based national trade printer 4over Inc. “That was my 15 seconds of fame on TV. It was the experience of a lifetime.”
That Megerdichian outlasted more than 5,000 other players in the Main Event is a miracle in itself. He eliminated professional player Faraz Jaka, sat alongside notable poker stars Josh Arieh and Doyle Brunson, and took in some sound advice from poker circuit good guy Daniel Negraneau.
But for Megerdichian, who had only been playing the game for a couple of years, it wasn’t the allure of fame or riches that drew him to Las Vegas. It was about stepping outside his comfort zone and challenging himself.