In the thrilling, unpredictable world of poker, where fortunes can change with the turn of a card, one man has navigated the treacherous currents to emerge as a beacon of both gaming and business success.
Eric Persson born in 1975, a native of the small town of Hoquiam, Washington, has deftly played his hand, from the humble beginnings of learning poker in college to the high-stakes tables of Las Vegas, all the while building a gaming empire.
His love for the game, paired with his entrepreneurial spirit and legal prowess, has etched his name into the annals of poker and business history alike.
Yet Persson's journey is not merely one of card playing and business acquisitions – it's a testament to the power of determination, vision, and strategic thinking.
But how did Persson carve his path to success amidst the tumultuous world of poker and gaming? What challenges has he faced, and what victories has he celebrated? Buckle up as we delve into the intriguing life and career of Eric Persson, a story that is anything but ordinary.
Native Roots and the Passion for Gaming
Raised near the Shoalwater Bay Indian Nation tribe, which he is a member of, Persson's interest in the world of gaming was sparked at a very young age. Even as a first-grader, he knew he wanted to pursue a career in this field. He would go on to attend the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, studying a variety of subjects and eventually earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1998.
He also attended Georgetown University Law Center, graduating with his Juris Doctor degree in 2001. Persson claims that his poker skills, honed from his college days, helped him put himself through both undergraduate and professional schooling.
Building a Business Empire
Following graduation, Persson started his career in the gaming industry at a casino in Topeka, KS, slowly but surely working his way up the ranks. He held senior roles at a casino in Wheeling, WV, and eventually in Las Vegas. Persson worked as a Senior Vice President at Las Vegas Sands Corporation and as President and COO of Azure Gaming.
In December 2017, along with business partner Justin Belcher, Persson co-founded Maverick Gaming with the purchase of two casinos in West Wendover, NV. This was the start of an ambitious plan to acquire small to medium-sized casinos across multiple states, with the most recent acquisition in December 2022.
In a 2019 interview, Persson credited five billionaires — Sheldon Adelson, Michael Gaughan, Kazuo Okada, Jeremy Jacobs, and Jeffrey Gural — with teaching him invaluable lessons that contributed to his business success.
Breaking the Monopoly: Maverick's Sports Betting Lawsuit
Maverick Gaming made headlines in January 2022 when it filed a lawsuit against state and federal authorities. The lawsuit aimed to break what Maverick claims is a monopoly on sports betting by tribal interests in Washington state.
The case, which Persson intends to appeal as far as the Supreme Court if necessary, could have implications far beyond the state's borders, as similar laws exist in Florida and other areas.
High Stakes Poker Player
Despite his business ventures, Persson remains a passionate poker player, particularly in high-stakes cash games. He has played poker since his college days, specializing in cash games rather than tournament-style poker. On February 22, 2023, Persson played a game that resulted in the largest pot in U.S. televised poker history on PokerGO No Gamble, No Future, amounting to a record-breaking $1,780,000.
Away from the poker table and boardroom, Persson is a dedicated family man. Married with four children, he resides with his wife and sons in the Las Vegas area, while his two daughters from a previous marriage live in Miami. According to Net Worth Scope, his estimated net worth in 2023 is around $15 million.
Eric Persson is a prime example of how determination, vision, and a passion for one's interests can lead to immense success. His journey from his early days in Hoquiam, through the world of poker, and into the arena of business leadership, has been remarkable, and he continues to push boundaries, both in his business ventures and at the poker table.