Eugene Calden – the 100-year-old poker player

Lee Jones
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Posted on: May 11, 2023 4:55 pm EDT
Not the table’s most interesting man

Chris Moneymaker is was at the “feature table” in the H.O.R.S.E event at the inaugural stop of his namesake poker tour, here at the Palm Beach Kennel Club. However, Chris Moneymaker is not the most interesting person at a seven-person table.

In fact, the most interesting person at Chris’s H.O.R.S.E. table is Eugene Calden.

Eugene was 80 years old in 2003, when Chris won the WSOP Main Event.

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen – Eugene “Gene” Calden, a regular here at PBKC, had his 100th birthday party here in January of this year.

Not only is Gene in the H.O.R.S.E tournament, but he’s competing in it. When we first found out who he is, and how old he is, the tournament staff here went out of their way to say that Gene does more than “show up.”

Hurry up and take the picture – they’re dealing me out.

“He’ll play both flights of the tournament, then he’ll go downstairs and play $2/5 no-limit until the wee hours,” said Tournament Manager Jamie Menninger. Now, you might ask how does a 100-year-old man get the energy to play so much poker.

The answer, it appears, is mint-chocolate-chip.

In the immortal words of legendary Floridian, Dave Barry, “I am not making this up.” Gene Calder is consuming an enormous ice cream cone, while sitting to Chris Moneymaker’s immediate right in the H.O.R.S.E event.

This was more than we could pass up, so videographer Will Thomas and I caught Gene on a break, shortly after he had busted the second most interesting person at the table, Chris Moneymaker. His charm and wit speak for themselves.

Gene Calden, the 100-year-old poker player

Note that this man was playing poker for pennies at the height of the Great Depression. Let that sink in for a moment.

They just don’t get any more interesting than that.