During the recent National Poker Week, 2008 World Series of Poker (WSOP) November Nine member Dennis Phillips made the trek to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center to visit with troops at the facility. Phillips, who flew a throng of supporters to last year’s Main Event final table, sat down with Poker News Daily just minutes before a charity poker tournament to talk about his afternoon.
Poker News Daily: Tell us about your attendance at the charity tournament sponsored by the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) benefiting the USO of Metropolitan Washington.
Phillips: Anything I can do to support these guys is amazing. I was able to do a lot of meetings with Congressmen today, but I also squeezed in running out to Walter Reed. It was a quick trip out there and back, but I met with some of the guys and talked about poker tournaments we could sponsor or put together. I’m now running into the guys I met out there a few months ago. It’s a heck of a bunch of guys. I would make a trip to Washington, DC at any time to visit them.
PND: That sounds like an eventful afternoon. Can you explain what the Walter Reed Army Medical Center is for those readers who are unfamiliar with it?
Phillips: Walter Reed is the hospital for troops who have been overseas when they first come back to the United States. It’s their recouping center and the place where they try to get back on their feet to get going. They take phenomenal care of them out there. The modern technology they’ve adapted enables these guys to come back and live pretty much a normal life. I see these guys when I come back here. They’re one week or two weeks away from active duty. They’ve maybe gone to Germany for immediate treatment and then are flown back here.
It’s amazing and I have so many stories I could tell you. I walked in and talked to a gentleman whose eight or nine year-old son was with him. They were laughing and joking because he lost both of his legs, but when they re-equip him, he’s going to be three inches taller. He told his son that he’s now going to have to grow a lot more. I mean, could you do that two weeks after it happened? It’s amazing. My hat is off to them.
PND: You were a member of the WSOP November Nine last year. Now that you’ve had a chance to survey this year’s group, which includes Phil Ivey and Jeff Shulman, what are your thoughts?
Phillips: The November Nine is going to be an interesting mix and definitely a different group than it was last year. Seven of the nine are from the United States. The age factor is in there as well. A number of them are a little older than last year. You have Phil Ivey in there too, so it’s going to be an interesting group.