HPT Signs “Unsignable” Darvin Moon
2009 WSOP Runner-up to be Tour Ambassador
Fargo, ND – (March 10,2011) Heartland Poker Tour officials reached a deal with 2009 World Series of Poker runner-up Darvin Moon to serve in an official capacity as tour ambassador. Moon will play several HPT tournaments in 2011 and wear HPT branding any time he plays poker throughout the year. The relationship is a first-of-its-kind deal for the nationally-televised poker tour which has never sought to brand players before.
Moon gained fame in 2009 as the underdog of the November Nine, a casual player who won his main event seat through a $130 satellite tournament near his Maryland home. In a rags-to-riches story that could have been scripted in Hollywood, he went on to finish second against Joe Cada for $5.18 million.
Shunning publicity, Moon won over fans for his refusal to accept lucrative sponsorship dollars, saying “I don’t want a boss. I’ve come this far on my own; I don’t want to answer to anybody now.”
Known for his self-deprecating demeanor and working-stiff persona, Moon runs a small logging company in Maryland and plays poker at his local Elks Lodge as a non-member. “He’s only allowed in the basement. You can’t go upstairs if you’re not a member” his wife, Wendy, explained of her husband who still shies away from the privileges of fame. His run at the WSOP in 2009 was his first trip to Las Vegas and his first time on a commercial airplane. Since his multi-million dollar payday, Moon made sound investments and continues to live frugally.
The only unsponsored November Nine player in recent history, he opted to wear an NFL Saints cap at the final table making him a hero in New Orleans. “I started wearing a Saints hat years ago because I don’t like talking about football,” Moon has said, “I figured nobody would try to talk football with a Saints fan.” The Moons were invited guests for the team’s 2010 Super Bowl win and for the entire Saints’ playoff run, receiving a standing ovation at Louisiana Superdome. “I always cheer for the underdog,” he added.
“Darvin is our kind of guy,” said HPT President Todd Anderson, “He’s worked hard his entire life and now lives the dream that attracts so many to the game.” Since its creation in 2005, HPT itself has been an underdog in the world of poker. Most events take place far from the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas, instead serving casual players like Moon in America’s heartland.
Moon became a fan favorite among HPT’s loyal tour regulars when he declined an invitation for the November Nine taping in 2010 to play an HPT stop in Iowa. A last minute replacement for an ill Scotty Nguyen, Moon bonded with HPT’s crew and players.
“In a short period of time, he’s become a close friend,” said HPT Executive Producer Greg Lang, “Like most of our players, Darvin enjoys the lively atmosphere of our tour,” adding HPT events are known to be less-stressful than other high-profile tournaments.
Darvin adds, “I’m very comfortable with the HPT folks. They’re like family.” Known in Maryland for his benevolent generosity, he says, “I also love the work they do for veterans.” HPT donates a portion of every prize pool to the nonprofit Disabled American Veterans and hosts charity tournaments throughout the year.
Since playing HPT in Iowa, Moon has not missed a stop on the tour, cashing 37th in Vegas in January and doing well playing cash games. He plans to play two televised HPT events next month in Iowa and Colorado, while wearing HPT patches on his infamous Saints cap. Darvin is also now a card-carrying member of the Elks Lodge in Fargo, North Dakota, where HPT is headquartered.