Bill "GASTRADER" Perkins
He's one part successful, international businessman. One part adrenaline fueled crusader.No, this isn't Bruce Wayne. This is Bill Perkins. Perkins is one of the most prominent, deep-pocketed shot takers on poker's stage. The combination of his indestructible love of the game and willingness to play anyone at any stakes, while beaming with a palpable lust for life, has turned this full-time executive into one
of the most recognizable poker ambassadors in recent history.
Sure, Perkins would love to master the game of poker, but it hasn’t always been the sole focus of his involvement in the community. Perkins overarching desire to constantly live life to the fullest has not only compelled him to play the biggest tournaments, he also uses his wealth to give back to others, frequently donating large portions of his winnings to charities in need.
He's endeared himself by allowing audiences to tune in to his high-stakes lifestyle. Viewers watch as Perkins yachts around the Virgin Islands while playing the biggest games that online poker has to offer, all the while streaming his exploits on his popular Twitch channel, “The Thirst Lounge.” For Perkins though, it's not enough to simply show these adventures to his viewers, he wants them to experience it. In January 2017, Perkins treated 20 of his viewers to join him at the PokerStars Championship Bahamas, providing airfare, rooms and tournament buy-ins. He did all of this in an effort to give back to fans and “make poker fun again.”
Additionally, some of the most notorious poker prop bets in recent memory have Perkins as the instigator. Weight loss/gain challenges, endurance squats in between hands, 48-hours of nothing but lunges and an excruciating 300-mile timed desert bike ride for Instagram star Dan Bilzerian are just a few that have made headlines. Perkins thrives on betting massive sums of money in an effort to watch his friends do what may have previously been thought impossible.
Perkins rise to poker prominence only came after a long and (still) very successful career in the business world. After graduating from the University of Iowa, Perkins began working under billionaire John D. Arnold in the energy sector. He took what he learned and started his own hedge fund where he began profitably trading natural gas futures as well as the stock market. In addition to his financial ventures, Perkins has experience in the film and entertainment industry, accumulating a long list acting and producing credits dating back to 2009.
Perkins’ first exposure to the poker community-at-large came in 2010 when he accepted an invitation to appear on the PokerStars sponsored televised high-stakes cash game, “The Big Game.” It was there where his larger-than-life personality, and sizable bankroll, were put on display as he battled the likes of WSOP Main Event Champion Joe Cada, Phil Laak, David Williams and “The Poker Brat” himself, Phil Hellmuth. His aggressive play style and willingness to mix it up in on-the-table banter made an immediate impact on viewers. It was the beginning of many more invitations to televised poker events including a memorable showing on “High Stakes Poker” the very next year. Perkins, finding himself playing against the strongest caliber players in the world, was continually working on his game. Through friendships with professional players, including Antonio Esfandiari, Perkins took stock in his game and began to establish himself as more than a “businessman poker player.” The culmination of which manifested itself at the 2013 WSOP. It was there, in the biggest event of the series, the $111,111 One Drop High Roller event where Perkins game came together to not only earn him a seat at the prestigious final table but a 3rd place finish, netting him his first recorded 6-figure score of nearly $2 million.
Perkins has proved himself to have staying power, not just in the high-stakes arena but in the public eye. Unlike many “businessman” players, who test themselves just because they can, Perkins' genuine love the game has made him one of more notable, likable personalities in the game for the past decade.
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