Alan Sofer To Represent Casino City At The World Series Of Poker
When 39-year old Alan Sofer was in high school, one of his teachers had hemophilia. A complication during surgery cost that teacher his life and the experience has stayed with Sofer. At a recent weekly home game, a friend told Alan about 2006 Game Night, an event at the ESPN Sports Zone in Times Square held to raise money for the National Hemophilia Foundation (NHF). Given his love for poker and his personal awareness of the disease's tragic effects, Sofer decided to buy into the $500 Game Night poker tournament and compete with a few of his friends for a good cause.
At night's end, Sofer was the tournament winner, receiving a Casino City sponsored entry in the June 27th $1,500 No Limit Texas Hold'Em World Series of Poker Tournament.
But for him, the night was about the children.
"I feel for anyone with an illness or disease and I have a special place in my heart for children with hemophilia," Sofer said. "Whatever I can do to contribute, whether it be monetary or time, I do it with an open heart. It puts a smile on my face to know I made a difference."
Sofer said he's very excited about getting a chance to participate in one of poker's most prestigious tournaments. He went to Las Vegas a couple years ago and called the city "a beautiful must see." But on this visit, he's going with a mission.
Poker is a part of Sofer's life. He began playing two years ago and tries to make it once or twice a week to a home game with his friends. Television is where he does most of his research, watching old World Series tapes and current World Poker Tour telecasts. He also picks up a few poker books when he can.
But he doesn't consider himself a poker player. Basketball is his favorite sport, but he said his favorite thing to do is spend time with his wife Sheri and his three children Marlene (13), Hayley (10) and Isaac (5).
"I love being with my kids," Sofer said. "They grow up so quick you can't get enough time with them."
A lifetime resident of New York, Sofer lives in Plainview with his family. He works as a traveling salesman and is considered one of the best at Elite Technologies in New Hyde Park, according to their President and CEO. His boss is very supportive of his upcoming trip to the World Series of Poker and Sofer said he's heard nothing but well wishes from family, friends, and associates who know about his chance.
"It's all very exciting," Sofer said. "I've had all kinds of friends coming up to me with advice and well wishes. Some have even come up to me with business propositions (if he wins), but we'll see about that. We'll take it one step at a time."
For Sofer, just a couple weeks ago the World Series of Poker was nothing more than something to watch on TV. Now he gets a chance to play against the best in the world and surprisingly, he said he's not intimidated by the idea of competing for a gold bracelet.
"I don't know what to expect," Sofer said. "I'm looking forward to it. If I end up at a table with the big boys, so be it. If not, that's good too. I'm just going to play my game and have a good time."
Sofer plays online at PokerRoom.com and says he will play a little bit more in anticipation of the big day, but nothing about his poker will change. He plans to play aggressively and do his best to play the way he always does.
And what if he wins?
"Who knows," Sofer said. "I'm a salesman so I like to take chances. If there's an opportunity out there for me, I'll take advantage of it. If not, hey I'm in Vegas and I'm sure it will be a great time."
Casino City will follow Sofer's progress as he makes his way to Las Vegas and competes in the WSOP. For updates on his progress and news stories from the event, visit the Casino City Web site at www.casinocity.com .
The National Hemophilia Foundation
Established in 1948, the National Hemophilia Foundation operates in various chapters all around the country. Their programs and initiatives are funded through donations from individuals, corporations and foundations as well as through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to their Web site.
Hemophilia may be the most well known of the blood disorders with an estimated 400,000 people affected worldwide. There is no cure for hemophilia and although treatments exist, the NHF reports that these treatments are costly and may require lifelong infusions of replacement clotting factor just to maintain normal life activities.
The NHF also works with many other abnormal blood clotting disorders that affect hundreds of thousands of Americans each year. Some of these diseases are genetic, while others are temporary, but according to the NHF, all of these diseases require more research to find effective ways to manage and fix the problems.