A relative newcomer to the world of professional poker, John Gale certainly knew how to make an entrance when he did decide to plunge in.
Already in his 50s and a poker player for more than 30 years, Gale made his big debut in the 2005 World Poker Tour (WPT) PokerStars.com Caribbean Adventure. He won his way in through PokerStars.com and surprised everyone when he went on to dominate and win the tournament.
Proving he wasn’t just a one-hit wonder, Gale went on to cash in even more events in 2005, including a second-place finish in a World Series of Poker (WSOP) event. Although he was eager to prove himself after his WPT victory early in the year, Gale was a gracious loser when Brian Wilson ended up snatching victory from his grasp at the 2005 WSOP event. It was this second-place finish that helped Gale earn the nickname “Gentleman John.”
Play had come down to Gale and Wilson for the US$5,000 Pot-Limit Hold’em event, with Gale the chip leader. He had Wilson down to the felt and drawing slim, and everyone thought he had the bracelet wrapped up. But Wilson outdrew him and proceeded to win a lot of hands where Gale had been the favourite.
When Wilson finally had Gale’s last chips, instead of pouting or throwing a tantrum over his bad beats, Gale extended his hand to the winner and warmly embraced him. He then left the stage to give Wilson his moment of glory.
Gale was celebrated for his admirable demeanour the following year. After winning the US$2,500 Pot-Limit Hold’em event at the 2006 WSOP and his first bracelet, a tournament report by Nolan Dalla was entitled: When Good Things Happen to Nice People.
Those wins, along with other small victories and many other cashes in his first two years on the tournament scene, also paid off financially, adding up to more than US$2 million.
After having so much fun playing poker, going back to the daily grind lost its appeal for Gale, and he decided to give up his consulting business to turn to full-time professional poker playing. The decision wasn’t made lightly, however, for the self-made man who married a woman opposed to gambling, but so far, it has proved to be the right one.
Gale still lives fairly modestly in Bushey, just outside of London, and spends a lot of time on the road playing poker. He prefers international poker games and considers Las Vegas his second home.