August 05 2013, by Eric Danis
The Chase | Stephen Bokor
I met Stephen Bokor for the first time this past February. He was playing the WPT Los Angeles Poker Classic.
His good friend David Tuthill was coming off the biggest victory of his career at the WSOP Circuit stop at Caesars Palace Las Vegas and my former colleague, Marco, grabbed him for an interview, that’s when David introduced me to Stephen.
Within the next few days of tournament action at Commerce a few different people talked to me about Stephen and how the GPI/FPM team should keep an eye on him. I ran into Stephen again at the Bay 101 in San Jose and the WPT Seminole Hard Rock in Ft. Lauderdale and that’s when I first talked to him about writing a series of articles about his journey as an up-and-coming star on the live tournament circuit. I wanted to take the poker fan and the aspiring poker player through the highs and the lows of playing the circuit, taking you inside the mind of the young poker pro and his pursuit of the #1 rank on the Global Poker Index.
Four months later and this is it: The Chase | Stephen Bokor
Meet Stephen Bokor
Stephen is a 25-year old poker professional who was raised in the town of Knappa, Oregon; a picturesque American small town situated on the south side of the Columbia River near the Pacific Ocean … Knappa is a town so small, they don’t even have their own postal code (the town uses Astoria’s, a city that is located 15 miles away from Knappa).
Near the end of 2012, Stephen moved to Tallahassee, Florida, home of Florida State University, he still lives there to this day.
The American Dream
Bokor learned to play the game playing cards with his friends each and every lunch break as a Freshman at Knappa High School, but like so many other young poker players on the circuit, Bokor’s poker career started taking shape while playing online poker.
He built his initial bankroll by grinding freerolls. He had been working at a movie theatre and was able to increase his bankroll, he started playing SNG’s and MTT’s. He attended Western Oregon University (Go Wolves!) with aspirations of running hurdles for the school’s Track and Field team but he ended up leaving the school in the spring of 2008 to focus on poker.
That summer would prove to be the most profitable summer of his then very young poker career. Back when online poker was legal in the US, that’s all he did, play online poker. He lived in a huge poker house with five fellow players that they would call “The Mansion”. At the time, Bokor would play a little live as well, but when he did, he would mostly be playing in cash games.
It was only after Black Friday hit on April 15, 2011 that he had to consider playing live on a full-time basis. He got an opportunity to move to Las Vegas for the summer of 2011 and took advantage of it. Stephen would end up playing (for the most part) smaller buy-in tournaments for the summer, including $300 buy-in tournaments during the Venetian Deep Stack Extravaganza and $200 buy-in daily tournaments running in conjunction with the World Series of Poker at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino.
Although things didn’t go too well that summer – cashing only in a few of the Rio tournaments, he was able to freeroll in the WSOP Main Event and that’s where Bokor’s career started trending upwards … or so we thought.
[table id=217 /]
Despite taking a good run at the Main Event, Bokor would end up taking some time off from poker. He decided to step into the real world and started tuna fishing and crabbing in the fall of 2011. He did that for about six months. It’s tough work and, at times, was very dangerous. It allowed Stephen to appreciate life much more than he did before. But Stephen was desperately missing poker.
With those valuable life lessons learned, Stephen made the biggest decision of his life. He decided to take a shot, Mike McD style, at the game he loved. He moved to Tallahassee and would grind the live tournament circuit on a full-time basis. A great backing deal would allow Bokor to make that decision a much more simple one than it could have been.
He would cash in the very first tournament he played since joining the live circuit, finishing 16th in the WSOP Circuit Southern Indiana Main Event:
[table id=218 /]
From that point on, Stephen has been absorbing experience. He would start his journey ranked 9,062nd in the world. Since then, Bokor has grinded his way up to #259 with visions of reaching the top! Stephen is currently taking a little time off from his summer in Las Vegas, he will be back on the felt shortly, playing in the Million Dollar Guaranteed Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
Here is a look at Bokor’s rise through the GPI ranks since officially joining the live tournament circuit in October of 2012:
[table id=219 /]
About the author