Craig Parsons & Gail Levine won Rolling Thunder packages on ClubWPT

Paul Oresteen
Posted on: March 23, 2024 11:11 PDT

ClubWPT sent two qualifiers to the $3,500 World Poker Tour Rolling Thunder event at Thunder Valley Resort and Casino – Craig Parsons and Gail Levine. One thing they have in common is that they both entered the event they won to get here on a whim.

“I signed up at the last minute – a spur of the moment thing,” Parsons said. “Then, four or five hours later I’m standing here.”


Levine echoed Parsons and said she didn’t realize it was a travel package tournament when she entered. She relocated to Los Angeles in 2018 after living in Las Vegas for a dozen years.

“I used to play every day in Las Vegas,” Levine said. “But it all stopped when Covid hit and I have ten grandchildren that needed help. I helped my kids through it.”

"This is huge for me" – Parsons

Both have been playing poker for a considerable time. Parsons is a retiree that lives in upstate New York and he’s been playing since he was 14. “I’ve been a ClubWPT member for as long as I can remember,” he said. ClubWPT staff was able to confirm he’s been a member since 2011.

Levin joined ClubWPT in 2018 and this is the first travel package that she’s won. With the WPT Cruise just on the horizon, we wondered if she might parlay any winnings to the cruise. “Maybe, we’ll see,” she said. “My husband is still half working – we’re only halfway retired right now.”

Levin isn’t sure where she’ll play next. “Not sure what’s after this,” she said. “My husband and I were very excited about this trip.”

“I play regularly on the site,” Parsons said. “I saw the tournament and there weren’t too many people in it, so I thought it looked like a good opportunity. “I’d really like to play more live, but I don’t get the opportunity too much. The closest casino to me is about an hour and a half away.”


Poker appeals to Parsons’ attention to detail. He owned a machine shop for 30 years but approaching retirement, “I sold it and am living the dream now. This is huge for me; this is biggest buy-in I’ve ever played.”

Halfway through Day 1 both qualifiers are still in the event. Parsons has about half a starting stack after flopping two pair against Ben Ludlow when he flopped Broadway. Levine is among the leaders with a stack hovering around the six-figure mark.

All photos courtesy of WPT - Drew Amato