“He’s got all of the chips or none of them.” That’s how North Carolina’s Steven Snyder describes Daniel Lowery at the tables. Snyder and Arkansas’ Lowery have battled many times at World Series of Poker Circuit events. Snyder smiles when he learns Lowery has 600,000 or so in chips, early on Day 3 in the 2021 WSOP Main Event.
Lowery seems out to prove Snyder correct. With nine Circuit rings to his credit despite playing only a part-time, regional schedule, Lowery is definitely one of those players you don’t want to be mixing it up with in pot after pot. He’s got that all-or-nothing mentality.
Here, though, a couple of hours into Day 3, it’s been a struggle for “Duma.” Lowery started Day 3 in the top 10 in chips. He then backpedaled early on, dropping a bit in the counts. How he got to this point is its own brief tale. “I had a pretty easy Day 1, and Day 2 was smooth as well,” he explains. “My Day 3 table is pretty tough. And I’ve lost about 200,000 in the last hour. I busted Eli Elezra right out of the gate, which helped the table some, but just there’s four or five really tough spots at my table.”
Quiet appearance, high-flying game
If Lowery has a secret edge, though, it might be his relatively anonymous persona at tables full of elite, international pros. Lowery himself is low-key, though hardly anonymous at those Circuit events. At the regular WSOP though, it’s a different story. This is only his fourth-ever Main Event, and on his three previous tries, he’s never made it past Day 2. Snyder’s on to something, perhaps.
Lowery’s never had much luck at all on his rare trips to Vegas for the WSOP. Only four of his 93 credited WSOP and Circuit cashes have come at the WSOP. His top 37(!) finishes, as ranked by position, have come in Circuit events. Prior to this autumn, he’d logged only three small cashes in Las Vegas, though he had a breakthrough of sorts with a ninth-place finish in Event #8, $600 No-Limit Hold’em Deepstack, his first WSOP final table.
Of course he wants a lot more than that.
From Peter Pender to the pros
It’s a long trip for Lowery to play organized poker anywhere, Circuit tour, Las Vegas, or otherwise. He hails from Peter Pender, Arkansas, a rural blip south of the Arkansas River in the west-central part of the state. It’s 40 minutes or so from Peter Pender west to Fort Smith, and roughly a two-hour drive from Peter Pender east to Arkansas’ capitol, Little Rock.
Lowery has played a lot online in the past, but with a full-time career and a family, he’s never qualified as an online grinder. He owns and operates a sawmill in Peter Pender, making him probably the only player in Day 3 action who can claim to run a sawmill. Lowery also coaches some basketball during the winter months. When compared with the typical poker pro’s background, he admits, “Yeah, that’s a little different. We saw mill at home, five, six days a week, and I get away, usually one week out of the month. And lately, it’s been a little more than that.”
This year was going to be Lowery’s chance to make his first big splash in several different WSOP events, but life had other plans. Family obligations rank high on his list, and that often takes precedent even over a lifetime dream such as the WSOP.
“I went home for my daughter’s senior night,” Lowery explains. “She was graduating. She’s gonna be graduating this year from John Brown University. And she played her last home game there at Siloam Springs, Arkansas, at the same day that my younger daughter was winning a state championship in volleyball.” Lowery also contracted a bad bug earlier in the series that waylaid him for a bit. It wasn’t COVID (and he was tested for that), but it did require antibiotics and some rest.
It’s a tough juggling act for Lowery, between the business, the family, and the trips for poker. “I mean, I miss a lot of stuff with them for poker. Obviously, a lot of parents miss things for a number of reasons. I mean, this is part of my career. So I don’t feel too bad about it, because I try to at least show them. I’ve tried to show them over time to go for what you love and what you’re dreaming for. I hope they see that.
My [oldest] son is going after his career now and he’s told me that, you know. He’s always been supportive of my poker and everything. And I’ve tried to keep them out of poker, obviously, because it’s a hard grind. My youngest little boy is five now. He loves playing games and whatnot. Who knows, he might take that path. But as of right now, I don’t really want any of my kids in this business.”
Back to the grind and on to Day 4
Lowery’s slow start on Day 3 continued for several more hours, but in the day’s last levels, he returned to form. When the money bubble broke late in the evening, Lowery bagged an impressive 1,415,000 in chips. That was good for 13th position out of 1,000 returning players, and just behind one of the Day 3 stars — former world champion Chris Moneymaker in 12th spot.
Having already locked up that first-ever Main Event cash, Lowery hopes he’s now on to bigger and better things. By Day 4 in any WSOP Main Event, the soft tables are long gone. Lowery’s Day 4 draw includes Alex Outhred, two-time ring winner Kenny Nguyen, Nghia Le, and others. Yet Lowery has a big stack and that hard-driving style. “I like to be the aggressor at the table most of the time,” he admits. “I like all pots to go through me.” Whether he can keep his foot on the gas pedal throughout remains to be seen, but for now, he’s in there charging to the front, just as he wants it.
Featured image source: Haley Hintze