Michael Frierson's fleeting art in sculpture and cards

Paul Oresteen
Posted on: November 13, 2023 11:18 PST

Artists work in many mediums – some choose painting, some music and in the poker world, it’s not too far of a stretch to consider playing cards as an art. While the works might be fleeting and only appreciated by sickest minds in poker, fans of poker appreciate the nuances and styles of players.

Michael Frierson is such an artist – he specializes in sculpting, carving and cards. “I like to do art that doesn’t stick around,” he said. “I’ll go really hard on a sandcastle and spend all day on it. I do pumpkins and stuff for Christmas – things that go up and come down. I haven’t made my way into anything that lasts like wood, but maybe one day.”

Satellite to satellite into the Main Event

Frierson is one of the nine remaining players in the $5,000 World Poker Tour bestbet Scramble and on the verge of the biggest cash of his life. And it couldn’t have come at a better time.

WPT bestbet Scramble

“I can’t quite tell you how excited I am,” Frierson said. “I used my last dollars to get into a $120 satellite and had to win that one to get into a $580 satellite. Then, I had to win that one to get into this event. I’ve got like $200 in my account and $40 in my pocket.”

The next player eliminated earns $32,300 and Frierson’s previous best cash was $33,366 this past February in a $2,000 buy-in event at bestbet Jacksonville.

“I do feel like I’m freerolling pretty hard. I haven’t even considered or looked at the pay jumps," he said. "There were two numbers that mattered to me – the first one (min-cash) and the last one. Just thinking about it makes me emotional, I haven’t won one before.”

“I’ve put a lot into learning and practicing,” he said. “I’ve come in second and third before. I got fifth place earlier this year when a guy sucked out on the river. I’ve come close so many times.”

At that event, his son gave him a Mario toy figure for luck and he’s right back at a final table with it. His daughter gave him a little brown puppy that he keeps on the table too. “She also gave me a little white goat I keep in my pocket. I go by “Goatie” on the wait lists and wear a goat hat.”

Getting the win

While the nine-handed table played WPT staff were busy adjusting lights and testing setups in the live stream table area with the Mike Sexton Champion’s Cup trophy. Frierson’s eyes darted towards the trophy during the interview. “I’ve never got a trophy,” he said. “I want it so bad.”

Does he see his name on it?

“I can’t not see it,” Frierson said. “I feel like it’s meant to be.”