Stapes, Bicknell, Young and Gags Share Their All-Time Favorite Gifts

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Kirsten Bicknell, Jordan Young and Michael Gagliano recall their all-time greatest gifts.

Join PocketFives throughout the month of December as we bring you the PocketFives 12 Days of Christmas to help keep you in the spirit of giving.

It would be nice to think that, as we grow older, the old adage of “it’s better to give than receive” is a feeling that most people come to embrace. That said, there’s an amazing feeling when the right person gives you the perfect gift.

Quite often it’s not only the gift itself, but it’s the fact that there’s someone out there that knows you so well and wants nothing more than to make you happy.

“This is a close one,” said PokerStars and WSOP broadcaster Joe Stapleton when thinking about the best gift he’s ever been given. “I’m gonna go with the original NES [Nintendo Entertainment System].

“Everyone on my block had one and my parents pretty much swore they weren’t going to get us one. Also, maybe Santa was still a thing then…I can’t remember.

“When we finished opening our presents and the NES we so desperately wanted was not contained therein, we, my brother and I, did our best to hide our disappointment. We were good kids, (read: terrified of our parents), and it would have been rude and ungrateful to complain about not getting something for Christmas. Also, we were kinda genuinely good kids who didn’t want to make our parents feel bad.”

However, not all hope was lost for Stapes.

“My Grandma would always come over when we were done opening present for her non-Santa presents. You see where this is going so I’ll cut to the chase. She brought us the Nintendo. It was some real Red Rider BB Gun shit. We were thrilled.”

New Jersey poker pro Michael ‘Gags30’ Gagliano has a similar story. For him, it was a gaming system that led him to a lifetime of playing games.

“I would have to my favorite gift was when I got Nintendo 64. It was 1996, I was 11 and really into video games,” said Gags. “I had no idea what the N64 would bring. It was a video game system like I had never seen before. The games were amazing and I would spend the next seven years glued to it, playing every game imaginable. It really grew my interest and obsession with game and video games a ton, and probably is partly responsible for leading me to poker.”

While some a gift may be an item that helped shape their future, for some, the best gifts of Christmas can’t be bought.

Solve For Why coach and former PocketFives #1-ranked player Jordan Young didn’t have to think twice when recalling his perfect gift.

“I have received the perfect Christmas gift,” Young said. “The best gift I ever received was from my parents and it was a memory book full of pictures of my dog, Doogan. That was the first time I ever received something and got emotional because I had just spent three years without him while I had moved abroad to play online poker.”

For others that perfect gift isn’t an object at all.

“It may sound a bit cheesy…” said partypoker Pro Kristen Bicknell “…but I think the true gift and magic of the holidays is being with family and loved ones. There really is something special and unique about the spirit of the season. One of my favorite things about Christmas that never fails is Christmas dinner. It’s definitely the best meal of the year.”

World Poker Tour Executive Tour Director Matt Savage’s favorite gift falls in line with that sentiment.

“My favorite gift has always been spending time with family. This year is going to be a tough one as my father recently passed away,” Savage said. “Christmas was his favorite holiday. He made every Christmas special when I was young with gifts I never needed but wanted. I always enjoy giving more than receiving and the perfect gift is the one that makes Maryann [his wife] smile.”

Still looking for that perfect gift to give the poker player in your life? We have some suggestions to make their eyes light up with The Definitive Poker Player Holiday Gift Guide.