WSOP Bracelet Winner Profile: Pete Vilandos

Pete Vilandos Won the $5,000 NLHE Event at the 2012 WSOP (Heather Borowinski Photo)

There are just 59 poker players that have won three or more gold bracelets, and Pete Vilandos can count himself among this select group of players after winning the $5,000 No Limit Hold’em event at the 2012 World Series of Poker on Sunday. He topped a field of 1,001 players to win one of the larges first-place prizes of the summer, $952,694.

Vilandos was joined at the final table by his wife and they celebrated together after the win. “It’s a lot of support when you have your wife and your family next to you. That means a lot to me,” said Vilandos. “If I have no problems in my mind, and I can see my wife is here with me I play a lot better.”

“Well, it’s between today and the last two times. Today my wife was here with me and she played with me the whole way through the last table,” said Vilandos. “I was very calm and I was focused on my opponents. They are very intelligent people, the last table was full of smart people. But, I got lucky and I played the way I know how to play.”

The 72-year-old Vilandos outlasted some much younger competitors on the fourth and final day of the event. Dan Smith and Kyle Julius joined Vilandos on the added fourth day to decide the bracelet. “The one on my left [Smith], he was very aggressive, the way he was constantly playing I figured out exactly how he was playing,” said Vilandos. “The other fellow, he was half-way like him, he was a very good player, I figured out how he was playing as well. Now, don’t ask me how I figured it out, it’s my secrets, but I figured out how they both played. I had to balance my way around and I accomplished what I had in mind to do.”

Name: Pete Vilandos

Age: 72

Resides: Houston, Texas

Occupation: Professional Poker Player

Lifetime live tournament winnings: $2,493,978

Notable poker achievements: Vilandos won his first gold bracelet back in 1995, a $1,500 Pot Limit Hold’em event. In 2009 he won his second in a $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event, and on Sunday he entered a select group of players that have won three gold bracelets.

Memorable Quotes: On what winning his third bracelet means to him It’s two plus one is three, that is what it means to me. I believe I’m the Hercules of poker.

On the length of the tournament, including an added fourth day To tell you the truth I wanted to finish it yesterday, I was not tired [Laughs]. I’m healthy, I’ve got a strong heart, and I didn’t mind playing last night. I’m glad we went to today. I enjoyed it very much today.

On winning his third gold bracelet at 72 against much younger competition I think the experience becomes a lot, health becomes a lot. Being focused and having a clean mind counts a lot. Good people that are less tired in the tournament get good cards. Tired cards they go to tired people. Bad cards they go to bad people. Happy cards they go to happy people. I’m happy , I’m very strong, and I’m very healthy, so I’ve got everything coming my way.

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