"Papa Rob" crosses WSOP Main off his bucket list thanks to his family

Terrance Reid
Posted on: July 03, 2023 14:53 PDT

They say that the family that plays together, stays together. This year, the Johnsons are proving that idiom at the 2023 World Series of Poker Main Event.

It's something that's been in the works for decades.

Don't let your dreams be dreams

Like many, "Papa" Rob has always wanted to play the $10,000 Main Event. In his mid-50s, he had yet to do so, but still held hope that one day he would.

Enter his family, as they weren't going to leave their Dad's long-time goal to chance.

"Decades ago, he had told us he wanted to play the Main Event," shared one of Papa Rob's children. "About five years ago, I reached out to my five brothers and sisters. I said, 'If we start saving a little money, by the time Dad turns 60, we can afford for him to go...play.'"

And save up they did for five years until they had all chipped in enough to make Papa Rob's dream a reality.

"We announced it last year," one son told our own Tiffany Michelle. "He's had all year to get ready."

A shared family experience

The family is having a lot of fun, too, not leaving Papa Rob alone on Day 1a. The whole family are wearing matching t-shirts and cheering on from the nearby rail as Papa Rob represents the clan on the felt.

The t-shirts say "I Paid, Dad Plays. Happy 60th Papa Rob."

"How many times did Dad let us go to the gas station with $20 and we didn't bring change back," they reminisced. "It's basically paying for itself."

As of the time of writing, Papa Rob is still playing in this opening starting flight. We'll keep an eye on him and see if he can turn this bucket-list dream into a deep run.