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Chabadnik Levi Berger Wins $473,019 in Poker World Series Tournament (VIDEO)

June 7, 2013 4:03 pm 26 comments

Poker champion Levi Berger. Photo: Screenshot/PokerNews.

Twenty-two-year-old Levi Berger, the son of a Chabad emissary originally from Ottawa, Canada, netted the biggest win of his poker career Thursday night, taking first place at the Wold Series of Poker Event #11 and earning a cash prize of $473,019.

Of the 924 players that entered the tournament with a buy in of $2500, Berger was a dark horse to win the gold bracelet – his first. The Mob Poker database shows his highest previous prize to be just $8610. In his only previous world poker tournament cash out he came in 270th place.

Berger beat out two time bracelet winner Scott Clements to claim his crown in the Six-Handed No Limit Hold’em event. Clements walked away with a decent $292,339.

In a post event interview with Berger,  who has 11 siblings, shares his excitement. “I still think like the past three days isn’t even real,” he said.

Berger tells viewers about how his involvement in the game began saying, “I always liked poker I started playing when I was 14-15.”

“After black Friday I just tried to get a regular job and after a few months I just realized I would have to make poker work,” he adds.

“I imagined [winning a bracelet] every day, but that doesn’t mean you expect it to happen,” Berger told ESPN after his win. “I have definitely thought about it a lot. I can’t believe I’m so lucky to do this so early. I know what poker is about with the variance and all that. So, I was lucky to win early.”

Watch a video interview with Levi below.


  • Your post about poker online was brilliant and I loved reading about it. I am sure that all your other readers will also learn something new from this post of yours. I would also like to invite people to a very safe poker online website which offers all the major types of this game in a very unique environment and where people can play with complete security and have safe withdrawals of money as well.

  • and to all you people who “really care about a fellow jew” you catch more bee’s with honey than with vinegar

  • , stop judging other people,and stop the nasty talk about other people be happy for a fellow jew and stop counting his pocket and measuring his religiosity, stop the jealousy…… he won lot of money let him enjoy it.

  • No doubt he will give away all his winnings to Chabad.Then go to the Mikva.

  • Appalled by the loshon hara and sinus chinum. The tragedy of all this is how Jews speak of other Jews. Nothing disturbs me more about the observant community. Achdus mean anything to you? How many of you poskin? How about we mamish learn something this Tisha B’av?

  • Response to Zahava..

    If I was mean I would call you an idiot but I’m not mean

  • With all due respect to many of the previous comments but none of you know him. I do.

    He was a very kind boy with an incredible head for learning. He was able to learn Gemora at 13 better than most 20 year olds! His teachers were always amazed at his ability in learning. Unfortunately many of our yeshivos don’t know how to deal (or are not interested) with boys who are not the run of the mill…

    But here is the sad part, at age 19 he decided to give it one last shot at yeshiva. He was advised to just come to the bais hamedrash (not naming which one-here in NY) and sit and learn. He did so however on the 3rd day, the masggiach decided that he does not want him there so he told him never to come back.

    So before you comment it’s good to know the full picture…. The real question is if all of the earlier commentators can honestly say “yadeinu lo shofchu”.

    He is just a product of our screwed up yeshiva system who chased away a guy who potentially could have been (with a bit of personal attention) a serious Iluy in learning.

  • Give the kid – and this publication – a break. It’s a cute story, that’s all. Noone is saying we teach out yeshiva boys how to play poker – although it appears to be such a bad idea :)) kidding. Lighten up, it’s a cute/interesting. You wanna say its not ideal . Perhaps he should be learning Torah or attending dental school – maybe – that’s something for you to decide for your family and your children.

    This publications reports interested Jewish related stories, and that’s exactly what this is. It’s not a proclamation on how chabad, the rebbe or the Torah comments on this issue. I am BH frum and proud of it, but you people who love to judge and make negative comments are assuring a Torah lifestyle. Let live!!!

    You’re entitled to your opinion, but you better be open to critisism. From other readers and from your environment. Good luck with that attitude. Honestly, I hope hashem assists you with you anger and hatred of other Jews and that you mature very soon.

  • Isn’t he a grandson of Rabbi Bistrisky who just passed away. What a shame.

  • I am very happy for him, but dear newspaper he is not a chabadnik.

  • Notwithstanding the fact that your news is, for the most part, old, a repeat of what I get on Arutz 7, I have continued to subscribe for the odd piece that they didn’t carry the day before.

    This article has just decided me to unsubscribe.

    It could have been titled “Son of Chabadnik…….,” or perhaps “Ex Chabadnik……,” but of course this story has nothing AT ALL to do with Chabad.

    I saw the headline and immediately thought that it was a typo. Shame on you!!

    I reckon you have added a bit of embarrassment to the load that his father is already carrying!

  • I can only imagine all the good he is going to do with the money as his wonderful parents have raised him to dedicate his life to serving HaShem in this world.

  • I agree with MG. How about a more accurate headline of “Jewish guy wins WSOP event.” Levi Berger doesn’t look like a Chabadnik in the picture or video.

  • Rafi Manory

    I agree with Mr. Goldman and others. He can be called and ex-Chabadnik perhaps, but definitely calling him a Chabadnik is not like calling Noam Chomsky a Jew, because Chabad is a movement and if you are not following its customs you cannot be considered as belonging to it. It’s not like Judaism that passes through generations through the mother…

  • Rafi Manory

    I agree with Mr. Goldman and others. He can be called and ex-Chabadnik perhaps, but definitely calling him a Chabadnik is not like calling Noam Chomsky a Jew, because Chabad is a movement and if you are not following it’s customs you cannot be considered as belonging to it.

  • I agree with M Goldman! Why are you sensationalizing Chabad? oy vey….

  • The Talmud state the one who gambles (dice) can not be a witness. Obviously, the Rabbis looks askance at gambling. I’m sure the Rebbe, if he were alive, would not condone this behavior

  • Dear Algemeiner Editor!
    What a disgrace to call this boy a Chabadnik.
    He sits without even a Yarmulka…
    Forget Chabad, he is barely living as a Jew.
    I am not so upset with him…that’s just a rachmonus. The Golus he is in.
    But what upsets me is the sensationalism you’re trying to generate by employing the Chabad name in a poker story.
    I didn’t expect that from you.
    We expect a higher degree of self-respect of the Chabad name.
    Please consider revising the way you labelled this.
    It’s a chilul Hashem.
    Thank you.

    • Poker is a game of skill not raw gambling. Yes there is an element of luck needed but don’t you need luck (siyato dshmayo) in everything you do?

    • My first reaction was to agree with some of the previous comments. But, then, NO, in actuality, he is the son of a Chabad Shaliach, we do not really know his entire lifestyle, and even if he is completely OTD, that does not change the fact that he is Lubavitch. And we DO NOT KNOW that. Is Nehemiah Weberman no longer SATMAR because he is a convicted pedophile spending 50 years in jail.
      This young man is not living off of food stamps, or welfare, and as far as we know he is a decent human being. And if his lifestyle is a variant of Lubavitch, unless he has renounced it, I see nothing wrong with labelling him as such.
      There are a truckload of Chassidic pedophiles being arrested daily, including Chabad, but certainly not limited to them, , will you call it chilul hashem to identify them as such? when they are arrested?
      Would the REBBE unlabel the pedophiles, and the financially corrupt? In fact, was not the Rebbe against mesirah??? (keep the pedophiles working at their occupation). And for all you know, this young man is going to donate a significant amount to charity. Everyone is so disgustingly quick to judge. It is an anomaly, a young Chabadnik striking it rich, and I think it is completely appropriate to title story as such.
      Worry about the pedophiles, worry about Belsky who insists KOLKO, a convicted pedophile who pleaded guilt, is innocent., and he is the posek major mashgiach for OU/RCA, still defending the confessed KOLKO. A sense of proportion ?????????????????????? .

      A sense of proportion ,

      • Mr. Gaon,

        You are such a narcissist – calling yourself a GAON….

        Your stupid name, and your cry acknowledgment in your comments makes me believe you need a good psychologist. Well, you got some, and with that comes honestly.

        It appears that no one in your environment gives you kavod, so you come online so you appeal to an expired controversy via wrongfully badmouthing Chabad and the Rebbe, in an attempt for attention.

        • Some people are so mean spirited and ignorant.
          I am hoping that you sent a copy of your reply to Yehoram Gaon the fabulous Israeli Sephardic singer, and some of recordings are in Ladino, and beautiful. He deserves to receive a copy, and i imagine, a bunch of others, named narcissistically per your limited knowledge, back in school someone mentioned the Vilna Gaon to you, so that is your only ignorant assumption, association. May Hashem have Rachmanut on you. I think.,.

          did you take your hatred pills before writing this ridiculous response?????

      • My dear Mr. Zalman,

        I do not usually (well, hardly ever) respond twice to an analphabet, and i can understand your sensitivety re names, for, if you grew up in the Israel of the 50’s and 60’s Zalman and Yoram (not Yehoram) were the two most hideous ridiculed names. If memory serves me correctly (?) zalmanim were like bermuda shorts, which were considered laughable in Israel.
        That being said, and I am writing this NOT to you, BUT FOR ANY who perchance, have read anything that I have written here or for the last 22 years, on all sorts of sites, including and primarily financial. That is unlikely but possible, hence I want to make it clear Chad — Mashmait,
        FOR THE RECORD , , I AM A HUGE CHABAD SUPPORTER, and probably in last 10 years have donated more to them than you, Mr. Zalman bermuda shorts, have earned in that period of time. Being a supporter does not make the problems go away, nor does it mean that one should ignore issues that need takanah. I am definitely NOT a SATMAR supporter, and due to site rules, I will say no more on that shmutsadik cult. I am not FFB, or BT or OTD.

        Glad to see that you are a Chabad supporter as well, and hope and pray that your senseless outrage at my comment above, , well no, it was more at my name, is totally unrelated to any sexual predilections you might have/harbor/practice. Further idiocy you may write, but no further responses from me will be forthcoming. Perhaps someone else would enjoy using you as a voodoo doll. I’m done and gone.
        Are you the same vacuum who has been following me around from board to board enraged at my name? you need far more help than psychology can offer you.

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