Will we see another Jason White?

by SM Staff On Thu, Oct. 26, 2017

Photo Credit: Tim Jarrold

Jason White is a racing veteran. Clocking in over 200 races, including 21 top tens and a pole finish in the Camping World Truck Series and multiple appearances as a part-timer in the Nationwide series. Although his presence on the track isn’t anything to shout about, his earnings at the green baize have gained him more limelight over the years, with tons of tournament appearances in Vegas and at the World Series of Poker.

His Debut at the 40th WSOP in 2009 was successful, with a top 20 finish in the £1,000 No Limit Hold ‘Em category, but it was 2014’s Main Event which cemented his status as both a pro racing driver and pro poker player. In fact, White was the first NASCAR driver to ever appear at the event and one of the first NASCAR drivers to take part in a pro tournament.

The North Carolina native, who has amassed $2.9 million in his 11 year NASCAR career managed a respectable 348th out of 6,683 participants, taking home $33,734, which fellow NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin quickly pointed out was more than could be earned from a Camping World Truck Series race. Fast forward to 2017, and White has relocated to Henderson, Nevada to pursue his poker career.

The big question however is whether we will see another NASCAR driver who will transfer their skills to the poker table. Although completely different sports, poker and track racing actually share quite a few similarities, with similar skill-sets required for success.

NASCAR races and the average tournament poker game lasts roughly the same amount of time, with extended periods of concentration and focus needed. Players are rooted to a single spot in both events and need to have tactics and a strategy, whilst watching exactly what is going on around them at all times. Granted, a lapse in focus on the track could spell life and death, something you won’t find in a casino, but miss one trick in poker and you could lose your pot if the stakes are high.

Mind games also play a huge role. Out of the car, drivers are known to hold grudges, make press comments and generally wind their opponents up to try and get an advantage when it comes to race day. Just look at Jimmy Spencer and Kurt Busch, a rivalry so intense that it came to blows. It’s no surprise that the exact same techniques and levels of trash-talking are used by poker pros with so much money and winning reputations at stake. Although brash and often aggressive tournament play would suit someone like Busch, it’s the ability to keep calm and collected at the right moment that sorts the talented players from the wannabes. This is what makes Jason White a good poker player, although many sportsmen and women just don’t have the right skills for poker.

Although many sportsmen and women have tried to juggle their sports career with a professional poker career, the truth is that it’s hard to be disciplined in two sports that are taxing both mentally and physically. Poker is a great way to unwind, but the stress and strain soon creeps in when large sums of money are stake. Luckily, NASCAR drivers are built for this mental and physical pressure so hopefully we’ll see more drivers following in Jason White’s footsteps. He certainly seems adamant that other NASCAR drivers are playing poker away from the spotlight.

** The opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily those of the publisher. All comments other than website related problems need to be directed to the author. (c)SpeedwayMedia.com. **

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