Fred Goldberg is a familiar face to dedicated poker fans that love ESPN’s classic poker coverage. He bubbled the largest final table in history, until this year, when he finished in 10th place at the 2006 World Series of Poker Main Event for $1.15 million. Nearly two decades later Goldberg is playing strong and among the final 21 players remaining in the WPT Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open.
During the following year he went to record two deep World Poker Tour runs and then won his first bracelet. Goldberg’s last two WTP final tables were ten and 15 years ago and he has his eyes set on a third. “It would mean a lot obviously, for sure,” he said.
Iron sharpens iron
Goldberg’s credits his early success of coming up with other great players around him. “I was on another level,” he said. “People caught up to the level I was at and that’s what’s going on (in poker). In South Florida we have a lot of great players down here. Some are still around, but we had some really good players back then.”
Goldberg played steadily until the end of 2016 when he decided he needed a break. “I just had more family stuff. I was playing a lot back then, so I chilled out a lot.”
He returned to the game in 2020 and keeps his play limited to Florida and Las Vegas during the summer. He made two WSOP final tables in 2022 with two 7th place finishes and bubbled a third final table by coming in seventh place in a Six-Max event.
Return to the game
Goldberg played and won against three different generations of poker players since his big final table bubble. He’s seen the game change a lot along the way. “I see a little bit of difference now,” he said. “Back then players were good as well, so don’t sleep on that. Some guys are still around.”
“They (newer players) call down a lot, it’s a lot more difficult I would have to say,” said Goldberg. “There are guys that are great, but they buy in a million times. Back then, you couldn’t buy-in a bunch. Now, it’s like musical chairs and I’m part of the musical chairs sometimes, but it was different. It was one bullet and you’re done.”
Images courtesy of WPT