Picture Perfect

Scott Sommerdorf, better known to his fellow Warriors in chat as 66_QQQJJ, is a man who views the world through a positive lens. And there is a very good reason for that: he's been a professional photojournalist for the last 38 years.

Sommerdorf has been a fan of Jason's for a long time, going back almost four years. "I was just noodling around Google and I saw some of his early YouTube things," he said. "From there I picked up the thread and found him on Twitch. I loved his positive energy; it was so amazing to find a top pro who could, without editing, tell you what his thought process is. That's priceless."

Scott Sommerdorf, aka 66_QQQJJ, battling in the Mix-Max.

Scott Sommerdorf, aka 66_QQQJJ, battling in the Mix-Max.

Sommerdorf has played poker for a long time, but not until he became a Warrior did he really take it seriously. "The enjoyment of poker was before I found Jason, but I'm not sure the passion or the seriousness was there. I played with coworkers in the 70s and whatnot, but I didn't pursue it. I don't like doing the things I do badly, so when I decided to get more serious I started studying and soon after that I found Jason. For those of us who aren't great with books, Jason is a huge boon."

Sommerdorf's life experience is fascinating, having worked as the director of photography for the San Francisco Chronicle previous to his current position as a photojournalist for the Salt Lake City Tribune. One of the most interesting stories he has involves a unique moment he had with former president Ronald Reagan.

"Ronald Reagan spit on me one time! When I was a young photographer I was covering a speech of then-Governor Reagan's in Sacramento. There was this beautiful moment where we had this connection where he was speaking and back-lit, and i was in the pit right underneath his podium. I saw the spittle coming. And he saw it happening too! I don't think anyone else saw it. It landed on my shoulder... and he just had to keep going. It was hilarious, but for that one second we were connected."

Over his nearly four decade career, Sommerdorf has focused mostly on sports: he has covered five Super Bowls, several Olympic Games, and dozens of MLB World Series events. But it was a World Series of a different kind that struck a nerve.

"In 2005, we [The Salt Lake City Tribune] were doing a story on a local poker player. He was doing well in the Main Event, so we pestered management to send [me and a writer] to Vegas to cover it. The paper didn't really consider it that serious of a sporting event, but we convinced them to let us go. So we went.

"And just even walking into that main room, hearing the chips clack like rain on a tin roof, from that point on I was hooked again. I resolved at that point, kind of as a bucket list thing, that I'd play in the World Series of Poker. My first WSOP event, I played in the WSOP Seniors' event and I cashed it and that kind of buoyed me to go further. This past year I played in the Bounty event. I finished 53rd out of something like 2,100 people. And I credit a lot of that to what I learned from Jason."

Scott's life as a photographer and poker player intersects on his Twitter account, where you can see his work and his antics at twitter.com/scottsommerdorf. And he will be here at Run it Up Reno all week, continuing to explore his passion for poker as a part of the RIU family.