There are some achievements in the world of poker that everyone strives for. Playing at a particular casino or in a particular tournament, battling for a pot against a professional player or even winning a World Series of Poker bracelet (or Circuit ring) or a World Poker Tour or European Poker Tour title all come to mind. From all appearances there is only one man, however, that has had the dream of playing in every state in the U. S., a dream he completed last weekend.
Ashley Adams, a noted poker author and player from Boston, MA, stepped into the Wildhorse Resort and Casino in Mission, OR, last weekend as the culmination of a trip to play poker in every state in the country. While it would have been nice to say that the hand he played at the Wildhorse was a cinematic classic with a dramatic finish, it wasn’t to be. According to Kathy Aney with EastOregonian.com, the J-2 that Adams was dealt immediately found its way to the muck, but Oregon became the 50th – and final – state in the Union for Adams to play poker.
Poker News Daily caught up with Adams earlier this week to discuss his achievement and where Adams goes from here:
Poker News Daily: When did you realize that pulling off playing in all 50 states was possible?
Ashley Adams: About 10 years ago. I was driving around and thinking of all the states I’d played in. I realized I had played in 28 states at that time and began to entertain the thoughts of playing in every state.
PND: In two states in particular – Utah and Hawaii – there are no casinos and gambling is outright illegal. What hoops did you have to jump through to find a game there?
AA: Hawaii was tough. It took a whole bunch of calls and emails. Oddly, I ended up finding a game through the most obvious, but last used, source — my resort hotel concierge.
Alaska was easy. I knew a guy in Fairbanks. I called him to help me find a poker game. He said that I was in luck. He ran a bed and breakfast where my daughter could stay cheaply. And attached to the bed and breakfast — a poker room!
PND: In a few of the states you were outside the normal casino setting. What was the strangest game you were a part of?
AA: It had to be Alabama, when I played in a Quonset hut in the woods. Finding it reminded me of the movie Deliverance. Fortunately, I never had to “squeal like a pig”!
PND: Any memorable players along the way or will you be saving them for a fictional work?
AA: No individual player pops out immediately, but I’m sure if I gave it some thought I could think of some interesting characters I ran into. You know, though, every single player I meet is interesting in some way.
PND: Is this a big achievement or just something that you wanted to do for yourself?
AA: It is both — a big achievement I believe and something that I wanted to do for myself. (Writer’s note: Adams’ achievement of playing in all 50 states is believed to be one of a kind.)
PND: What advice would you give to someone wanting to try to replicate your efforts?
AA: Be willing to take risks and seize opportunities when they come up. Playing poker should be viewed as an adventure.
PND: What is next as far as your poker playing exploits? What about literary efforts?
AA: I do not have another goal with regard to playing poker, such as playing in every country or all the provinces of Canada. Finishing up the goal in Oregon, I do want to turn this into a book — The 50 States of Poker.
We’d like to thank Adams for his time and look forward to that book – that is where we will probably hear all the REALLY good stories!