Gary Gulman is great. If you’ve seen him perform you likely think so too. An incredibly funny comedian with years in the game and a loyal fan base. If you haven’t seen him, or don’t know by name, he’s got highlights galore on YouTube – well worth going down the rabbit hole to check out. Some might call Gulman, a “comic’s comic” – a guy who has been in the industry for years, respected by his peers for being a real pro and enjoyed by those that know him. He’s a guy who likely deserves even more notoriety than he gets. And what he gets is pretty good.
In poker, Connor Drinan is a lot like that. A long-time established pro, well-known and respected by those who play the game at the highest level. But even with all his success and accolades, he’s still underrated.
He’s not the guy you see on old ESPN broadcasts or a new young gun high-roller featured on the current slate of PokerGO programming, but Connor Drinan has his poker resume to the point where he should be considered one of the best American grinders in the game today – not just by his peers but by the public at large.
So when this past week at the World Series of Poker Drinan took the chip lead into the final table of Event #5 ($1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better), few inside the industry were surprised that he came out the other side with the win, the $163,252 first-place prize, and the second gold bracelet of his career. Few were surprised because this is what Drinan does, he just wins.
It’s been seven years since Drinan seemingly appeared out of nowhere. Then, a 25-year old poker pro who survived the star-studded $25,000 satellite to win his seat in the $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop tournament at the WSOP. Drinan didn’t initially make an impression by simply earning his way into one of the biggest tournaments of all time, he did it by being on the losing end of what is still considered one of the worst beats in WSOP history. PokerGO founder Cary Katz and Drinan were both all-in, both holding pocket aces. But Katz held the ace of hearts – and when the board brought a four-flush of hearts, Drinan hit the rail.
But that was by no means the end of him, of course. In fact, it was just the beginning of him putting up years of impressive online and live scores. That same year he traveled to Macau to play in the APPT Super High Roller, grabbing a (then) career-high score of more than $657,000. Six figure-scores soon followed. He recorded three in 2015 before he went on to finish in third place in the inaugural Super High Roller Bowl in Las Vegas for his current career-best $3.2 million. For the better part of the next two years, Drinan remained a part of the nosebleed tournament scene hauling in cashes, many of which make up a large part of him more than $11 million in career live earnings, currently good for 78th on the All-Time Money List.
At the same time, Drinan was absolutely crushing online poker and still does to this day. He reached as high as #4 in the world back in 2014, having moved to Canada from Chicago post-Black Friday in order to grind. He has more than $9 million in online earnings and a slew of impressive titles. According to data found on the PokerStars blog, Drinan holds three WCOOP titles dating back to 20016. His biggest score is a victory in the 2018 $10K High Roller for $385,762.
In the 2020 PokerStars SCOOP he really triumphed. Playing from Mexico, Drinan broke Shaun Deeb’s single series victory record by taking down six SCOOP titles. Five of those victories came in a nine-day span where he collected more than $550,000. That same year, Drinan earned his first WSOP gold bracelet during the GGPoker 2020 WSOP Online Series, handing business in the $10K Super MILLION$ bracelet event for a massive $1.4 million score.
You get it, right? Drinan is absolutely elite.
So why doesn’t he get that elite treatment from poker fans? There’s no doubt that within the tight-knit “poker community” (and “Poker Twitter”) Drinan is top-tier. Respected and adored. Just take a look at those players congratulating him on his recent bracelet victory – Tony Dunst, Chris Moorman, Martin Jacobson, and 2019 WSOP Player of the Year Robert Campbell among others. For daily grinders and top pros, Drinan is a very big deal.
But that hasn’t trickled down to poker enthusiasts. Despite being in the game for 14 years and accomplishing all he’s accomplished Drinan, for the most part in the eyes of fans, remains that guy who lost “aces to aces for a million dollars”.
Perhaps Drinan prefers it that way. It’s hard to find much media featuring him – a short interview or two, no podcasts to speak of. He just goes about his business, dominating tournaments and, when they are done, giving short quotes and never taking too much credit.
When asked by PokerNews reporters about his Omaha 8 win, Drinan simply replied “I just played my normal game and ran good.” That was basically it.
Drinan shouldn’t need to say very much for fans to take notice. He’s earned his impressive poker resume and that should speak for him with those who follow the game taking note.
But since that’s easier said than done, here’s another piece reminding fans about the greatness of Connor Drinan – a pro’s pro who, with yet another major win, has earned himself a little more shine.