There are two basic types of big-money tournament players in the poker world: those who play for the money, and those who play for fun. You can safely file Alan Goehring away in the latter category. The Henderson, NV, resident is a retired junk bond analyst and trader who doesn’t need the big cash that major tournament prize pools offer in order to live. For Goehring, competition is the big draw. For the last 7 years, Goehring has been playing in big events on the poker tournament circuit. While one could call him a professional player, that would imply that he lived off his earnings from poker tournaments. He’s more like Paul Phillips than Chip Jett – comfortable thanks to his previous career, he now pursues the game of poker as an intellectual challenge.
Goering’s tournament record is an impressive one. His first major cash came in the $3,000 no-limit hold’em event at the 1997 World Series Of Poker, which featured 217 entrants and other accomplished money finishers such as Kathy Liebert, Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, Dan Harrington, and Bill Gates. His next cash also came at the WSOP, when he finished 13th in a field of 112 at the $5,000 no-limit hold’em event of the 1998 WSOP. It wasn’t until the 1999 WSOP, though, that Goehring truly gained a reputation as a great player. That year he finished 2nd in the $10,000 Main Event to Ireland’s Noel Furlong. His runner-up position was good enough for over $768,000 in winnings.
Though he had proven his mettle, Goehring gained a reputation as someone who couldn’t win the big tournaments. While he made final tables regularly, he didn’t have any major wins to his credit. That all changed in 2003 when the broke onto the scene. At the inaugural WPT Championship at Bellagio, Goehring bested the entire 111-man field to take home over $1 million in prize money. He also outlasted a tough final table that included the likes of Phil Ivey, Doyle Brunson, Ted Forrest, and his heads-up opponent, Kirill Gerasimov. Goehring could no longer be considered an also-ran – he was now officially a champion.
After Goering’s big win at Bellagio, it would be another three years before he would claim another major title. There may have been plenty of doubters, but with the WPT title under his belt Goehring had plenty of status in the free online poker world. In the meantime, he had good showings at a variety of tournaments on the circuit. In 2004, he took home over $375,000 with top-20 finishes in four different WPT events and a 2nd-place finish in a preliminary event at the Five-Star World Classic at Bellagio in December. 2005 was also a solid year for Goehring. He cashed in three WPT main events, including a final table at the Grand Prix de Paris, and also cashed three times at the WSOP. That marked the first money he’d won at the marquee poker event since his 2nd place finish in the 1999 Main Event. In all, he took home over $257,000 in winnings over the course of 2005.
In early 2006 Goehring finally broke his winless streak at the LA Poker Classic and took home nearly $2.4 million. His win was truly a wire-to-wire performance – he finished in the top 5 for the first five days of the tournament. His victory catapulted him to 12th on the all-time money list and 4th on the WPT all-time list, and brought him near the $5 million mark in career earnings. That’s not too bad for a guy who only plays big tournaments for fun – and not for the money.