PROFile: Pro poker status keeps journalism alum Ryan Hagerty in Garden State – The Whit Online

Ryan Hagerty at Borgata Atlantic City. – Photo courtesy of Hagerty

Poker and money isn’t the combination that made Ryan Hagerty fall in love with the game.

“It’s a misconception that people think I’m playing poker for money,” said 24-year-old Hagerty. “I can make money doing other things. I play poker because I love it.”

A former journalist and sports editor of The Whit, Rowan alumni Hagerty juggled poker into his life no matter how hard it was. He is now one of the best online players in New Jersey: at press time, he ranks 18th best in the state and 25th in the country, according to His goal is to climb the ranks to number one in the state. 

Even if Hagerty wasn’t playing for a living, he would still be playing.

“I told my parents I have a opportunity right now that not many people have in their lives. I see it every day,” he said. “I see people working jobs that they hate just to make money and I get why people have to. For their families, bills, to eat. But I have a chance to do something I love for a living. That’s why I really want to make it work.”

It all started in Hagerty’s high school parking lot during his senior year. His buddy asked him if he wanted to play poker and he nonchalantly agreed. He was terrible, but he wanted to go back and keep playing anyway. He started to research everything about poker.

He began studying journalism at Rowan University upon graduating high school. Before he turned 21, he made trips to a casino on an Indian reservation in New York called Turning Stone that welcomed 18-year-old players.

When Hagerty turned 21, there was a comeback of online poker in New Jersey,

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