Kevin Campbell began playing poker in a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of Boston. With no friends or family to rely on, Kevin turned to drugs and crime–a path that ultimately led him back behind bars for two years. Today he is living his dream life as a poker pro. He’s been all over the world since turning his life around at age 41, but he never forgot about those who helped get him there: The people of Waltham, Massachusetts–the town where Kevin was born and raised.

Kevin Campbell Goes From Heroin & Jail Cell to WSOP Main Event

For most players, having Aces cracked on the final table of the world’s greatest tournament would be disastrous. Kevin Campbell, a bubble kid in the World Series of Poker Main Event, has conquered much more in his life. 

“I was a destitute heroin addict who spent many years in jail and felt I was going to die a junkie,” says the Bayonne, New Jersey poker player. “I’ve been clean and sober for 15 years.”

Campbell, 44, took a hard blow in the Main Event in stride, as he had done for most of his life. At the very least, he earned a spot in next year’s Main Event by finishing first. From a prison cell to the WSOP and life as an internet poker pro, it’s been a long road.

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Online poker is crushing

Campbell resolved to make a good change in his life after years of being a heroin addict. He is presently one of the best online grinders in the United States, and he aspires to improve every year.

After a buddy encouraged him to play poker, his poker career started to take form. 

“I was invited to a home game 16 years ago and fell in love with it right away,” he adds.

Campbell presently plays both live and online, but prefers to grind on the internet. “Sofcknsick” (his online moniker) now has over $1.1 million in monitored online cashes.

What’s more amazing is that Campbell only has two five-figure scores out of that total. His online poker career has had numerous highs and lows, he confesses.

So when it came to popping the bubble, he didn’t let it bother him – and returned to the felt immediately away. 

He smiles, “I’ve been playing since it occurred.” “Player X made a horrible decision, and the consequence was much worse.”

Keeping a positive attitude in the face of adversity

Campbell claims that going through so much in life has made him a stronger person. He didn’t stop grinding throughout the epidemic. During the first two weeks of lockdown, he was able to earn almost $20,000.

In addition to his personal record, he won the partypoker Sunday $35,000 guaranteed tournament. During the same week, he also won a partypoker daily $10,000 guaranteed tournament. 

Campbell finished 77th in the domestic WSOP Main Event in 2020, winning $15,556. He’s currently on the lookout for that huge triumph.

He won’t be outworked at the online tables in the interim. Campbell has over 191 online victories, including the following WSOP.com cashes:

  • August 2016 – $200 Ultimate Warrior – first for $13,500
  • November 2015: $200 Fall Main Event – first place for $11,600 and championship ring
  • Second place for $9,534 in the $215 Online Circuit Freezeout (July 2020).
  • $215 August Freezeout (August 2020) – $7,223 runner-up

Campbell, who has been sober and focused for many years, claims that poker did not immediately heal his drug abuse problems. He does, however, credit the game with helping him turn his life around. 

“Poker didn’t help me conquer my addiction, but it does provide a great getaway,” he adds.

He also gives guidance to people who are battling with addiction based on his own experiences. 

“Go to AA or NA and find a home group and a sponsor,” Campbell advises.

Kevin-Campbell-Goes-From-Heroin-Jail-Cell-to-WSOPWSOP Vice President Jack Effel presents Kevin Campbell with a place in the 2021 Main Event. (All images courtesy of PokerGO)

Reflections on being a bubble boy at the WSOP Main Event

It wasn’t all that horrible when it came to playing the Main Event and bursting on the bubble. Campbell is the first registered player at the WSOP’s new site on the Las Vegas Strip, thanks to the free seat.  

While in Sin City, Campbell also got some noteworthy news. He was now a father, and after the series, he returned to Bayonne to see his kid for the first time.

Campbell describes the sensation as “the most fantastic feeling in the world.” “Now I understand what all the parents meant when they said it’s a love unlike any other.”

Campbell intends to devote his attention to his infant and to being the greatest father he can be. He’s also realized that poker has taken on a whole new significance for him, and he’s preparing for the 2022 series.

Looking back, he doesn’t regret the choice he made in the Main Event that put him to the fence. His Aces were defeated by A-9. That’s part of the game, and being knocked out of a tournament pales in comparison to some of his life’s lows. 

He claims that he was an 89 percent pre-flop favorite. “I’m going to do it.”

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