Bayside resident prepares for national poker tournament

THE COURIER/Photo by Benjamin Fang

Michael Golub is going all in, with a prize pool set at an estimated $5 million to be had.

“I’m a fiend for poker, man,” the Bayside resident said soon after finding out that he will be playing in a poker tournament in Los Angeles against hundreds of “heavyweights,” as he puts it.

Golub, 66, won an online poker game on Mother’s Day against thousands of other players in a tournament hosted by an online member site of World Poker Tournament. But since online gambling is illegal in New York, the poker company offers prizes instead and Golub’s was an all-expense paid trip to Los Angeles to play in the Season XIII World Poker Tournament.

“All the big boys will be there,” he said. “But I’m coming back to Bayside with that money, baby.”

Riding a wave of success in the poker syndicate with victories across the poker land, Golub is known by other players as Diamond Mike, a reference to the exorbitant amount of diamonds he wears during live games. The diamonds are accentuated by the all black clothes he often dons. In his left ear, a tiffany diamond hangs.

Golub didn’t always have such valuable jewelry. He grew up in the Bronx and as a child he played poker to make extra money. But it was only in the last five years he began to seriously play and he credits his recent successes on his 22 years of experience with the NYPD.

After several years of working in Bronx as a beat cop and then as a narcotics officer in Brooklyn North, Golub said he was promoted to third grade detective.

“They called me Homicide Mike because my forte was getting confessions out of people,” he said. “And that helps me with poker now to get a read on my opponents.”

Golub was a detective in the 70s and 80s and he and his partner pierced their ears at the time, something that Golub said police members didn’t do at the time. His nickname has changed and the value of the contents in his left ear lobe has gone up. The stakes have changed but he still employs the same set of skills in both fields.

“I’ll get to a game early and listen to the conversations other players are having. Can I exploit him? What’s his image?” he said. “But in the end, I’m just partying my ass off.”