It's a fact of life that poker has exploded onto the scene in the last five years or so. Poker tournaments the world over are experiencing exponential growth in the number of players. This can be attributed to televised poker tournaments, celebrity poker shows and online poker rooms. Everything has culminated into a poker phenomenon. Along the way, though, the face of poker has changed. The majority of the players are conversing, wearing baseball caps and appearing to be barely out of high school. Not Paul McKinney. Paul McKinney is an archetypal "old school" poker player. He is the guy people picture when they think of back room poker games, filled with sullen, old men who stare down their opponents and may shoot someone if they lose.
At 81 years old, McKinney has been playing the game longer than most of the participants at the WSOP have been alive. Appropriate, then, that he should win the 34th event of the 2005 World Series of Poker: the senior game. Relegated to players over 50, this game was filled with a number of poker legends. At the end of it all, McKinney walked away with not only a large amount of money at his disposal, but the golden bracelet as well. Aside from being a well-deserved win, McKinney also made the record books by being the oldest person to win a World Series of Poker event. Perhaps one of the greatest mantras ever uttered was spoken by the West Virginian McKinney when asked about his feelings after winning the event: "I like moonshine whisky, big cigars and young women." Paul McKinney may not be the most popular name in the poker world, he may not be the youngest by any stretch of the imagination, but there is one thing that no one is going to change anytime soon: he is by far the coolest player to currently sit at a poker table.