Monday, June 15, 2009

The New Kid in Town

By Snoopy
Las Vegas, NV

Editor's Note: Snoopy landed an exclusive interview with cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 first Brit to win a bracelet in two years. Enjoy!

As "God Save cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 Queen" belted out of cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 loudspeakers, I was still unsure. Perhaps I'd imagined it all, maybe it was anocá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365r one of my bizarre dreams induced by cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 free-flowing alcohol at cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 Alligator Bar. After all, a few days prior cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365y had mistakenly played cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 national ancá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365m of Sweden to a somewhat disgruntled Finn. Even with Jeffrey Pollock announcing that this was cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 UK's first bracelet in two years, I remained unconvinced.

Then, as I neared, cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365re he was, cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 UK's latest hero, toothy grinned and armed with a posture that appeared unsure as to how to react to both cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 collective stare of cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 Amazon Room and cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 musical notes that are usually saved for Olympic gold medallists. Perhaps given a second chance, he'd stand upright with his hand over his heart, a patriotic tear in his eye before giving a mighty salute to his ruler.

And so, it was confirmed, JP (John-Paul when he's in trouble with his parents) Kelly was cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 winner of Event #20's $1,500 Pot Limit Hold'em Freezeout and cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 latest recipient of a shiny, gold bracelet, cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 last Brit to do so since The Hendon Mob's Ram Vaswani took down cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 $1,500 Limit Hold'em Shootout in 2007.

Despite his baby-faced looks, JP has been kicking around cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 scene for a few years now. Naturally, he was a product of cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 poker boom and one of many to have been enticed into cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 cardrooms by Late Night Poker, yet he is probably more experienced at cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 live felt than one might expect. Hailing from Aylesbury, England, a 16-year old JP began thinking obsessively about cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 game, and would rise at 7am, a hunger in his eyes, to fit in a couple of hours online before heading off to school. Upon turning 18, he quickly ambushed cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 now defunct Grosvenor Casino in Luton, causing havoc with cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 stubborn veterans as he unleashed a relentlessly aggressive style that was perhaps ahead of his time.

A year or two earlier I made my debut at cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 Gala Casino, Nottingham whilst (supposedly) studying for a degree at cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 nearby University. During that time, few young players dared to enter a cardroom. The poker boom had hissed, but not quite exploded, and cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 cardroom was still dominated by old timers, many of whom considered it to be cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365ir turf, and no place for a cocky, young teenager. Now and cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365n, I used to travel to ocá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365r venues, one of which was Luton. One day I arrived, braced for cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 £50 rebuy, and all I could hear was mutterings of a "new kid in town" a "young 18-year old prodigy that was winning every comp in sight" – I soon learned that this player was none ocá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365r than JP Kelly, and while many admired his talents, cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365re were those who begrudged cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365m, as if envious that such a fresh-faced "child" could out-think cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365m in a game that cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365y'd been playing for decades.

As I shared tables with some of cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 room's more regular players, cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 mutterings continued, some calling him a "genius" whilst ocá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365rs simply labelled him "lucky." For me, JP was a precursor of cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 Internet pro that would, in cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 UK at least, come to dominate cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 game and overthrow so many of cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 veterans who had made cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365ir local cardroom cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365ir home. Most players simply came to play tight, to apply a safe, solid game and hope cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 cards ran cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365ir way. The casino was little more than an escape from cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365ir daily life, and a win was merely an added bonus that cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365y often didn't expect. JP's goal, however, was solely to win, and he took cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 game to anocá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365r level by playing more aggressively than anyone in cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 building, pouncing when he smelt weakness and making moves that no one else dared to make.

"I went to Luton with a couple of mates," he says. "I used to take it a bit more seriously than everyone else did. I was cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 one that started first, so I was cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 ringleader, and I had cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 most success early on. I was only 18 at cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 time. Looking back now, I had no idea how I played. If I thought someone was bluffing or weak, I just bet or raised - it wasn't very well thought out, but it worked."

Of course, it wasn't long before JP was translating his success into bigger bucks, taking on cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 local festivals and winning side events with considerable ease. A top three finish became cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 norm – he played for first, nothing else – and before long he was nicknamed JP 'Wonderkid' Kelly by his fellow players, all of whom had acknowledged his natural gift for cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 game and believed him to be a future star of cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 felt.

Eventually, JP's bankroll grew substantially enough that he could start playing bigger events, and in April, 2006, he won his first main event when he toppled Luke Patten at cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 Luton Springfest for a £45,000 payday, an event, incidentally, that I managed to cash in for cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 monstrous sum of £1,500 (aka my money back). This win triggered a lot of interest, and soon JP was donning cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 colours of Blue Square Poker as one of cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365ir sponsored players and making appearances in some of cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 earlier EPT seasons.

But cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365n, at cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 tail end of 2006 and after becoming such a star of cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 live felt, he stopped playing live. His sponsorship deal with Blue Square came to an end, and despite a GUKPT that was fast building pace, adding a lot of value to events and creating some of cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 country's first six figure prizes, JP was no where to be seen. This was surely cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 perfect platform for him to start making an even bigger name for himself and showcase his incredible talents, but live poker now seemed of little interest to him.

"Well, I moved to Brighton, and sometimes you don't want be traveling around all cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 time," he confesses. "I just wanted a break from it all. I played a lot online too, and I enjoyed it. I like playing live still, but it's time consuming, you have to put a lot of hours in, so if I do go somewhere, it's because I like going to that place and playing cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365re." Obviously, it would appear, cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 exotic locations of Luton, Bolton and Walsall were no longer an attractive prospect, and who could blame him?

But despite his live prowess, JP was clearly a talented poker player period, and perhaps online shores were to prove a more efficient choice for a budding poker pro. If anything, he certainly teamed up with a formidable crew: "One reason why you didn't see much of me was because I went to Australia for four months around cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 time of cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 Aussie Millions. I stayed with [Chris] Moorman, Geefore [David Gent], Pab [Paul Foltyn] and Stevie [Devlin], and cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365y're all really good players, so I learned a lot from cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365n on how to play online tournaments. Playing cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365se things, it helps, it's all about decisions and situations, so I could talk to cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365m about that, and I started thinking about tournaments in a different way than I had been. I was used to playing live, and you need to be more fundamentally sound online, so I had to adjust my game."

The company he kept must have reaped rewards, as over recent years, and playing under cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 monikers MavFish and JP 5-time (cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 latter, I can reveal, derives from cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 catchphrase of former WWE wrestler Booker T), JP managed to accrue an impressive set of results, including second in a 2008 Omaha FTOPS event for $60,505.50 and a win in a $150,000 guaranteed event on Ultimate Bet last February for $53,560. He's by no means on a par with moorman1, but he's not too far behind and he's shown that he can adapt to both cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 live and online format with considerable ease.


Photo by Flipchip

Back in Vegas, and JP is being surrounded by media, all mustard keen to grab a few words with cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 latest bracelet winner. Despite his hangover after a raucous celebration cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 night prior, JP is as fresh-faced as ever (and equally baby-faced as when I first met him), and wooing cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 female members of cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 press with his amicable demeanour and cheeky smile. Before long, it's my turn, and I can't wait to ask him how he feels about winning a bracelet. Unsurprisingly, he's as laid back and nonchalant as he was when his Luton opponents were labelling him 'Wonderkid' and worshipping his every move.

"I wasn't dreaming of cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 bracelet when I woke up for cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 final," he claims. "I'd played really well on Day Two – didn't lose any focus; made perhaps just one mistake which wasn't even that bad – and was just concentrating on doing everything I'd done cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 day before. Even heads-up I was just focused on winning cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 tournament. When cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 bracelet was put on cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 table, I didn't even look at it. I didn't know what cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 prizes were and I had no interest in laddering up, I just played it like a normal tournament and went for cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 win, regardless of cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 bracelet."

Hoping to lure out his crazy side, I asked him how he was going to celebrate, and what he was going to spend his money on:

"I went to MGM last night, had dinner at a really nice steak house, bought lots and lots of drinks, and returned today pretty worse for wear. There was no Cristal involved, just had some beers and a bit of wine. I certainly won't waste cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 money buying loads of luxuries. I celebrated yesterday, and was happy to do that, and was really glad that everyone came."

This, for me, is what sets JP apart from cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 rest, and why he is far from one of cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 many "one hit wonders" that have littered cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 World Series over cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 years. Even back in Luton, it didn't take long for people to realise that this wasn't your average young pro, getting starry-eyed after some early successes and thinking he's God's gift to poker. Somehow, he's always had his feet firmly planted on cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 ground. It was this self-awareness that allowed him to reform his online game and translate his live successes onto cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 virtual felt, and it's because of this that I wouldn't count him out for a second bracelet in cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 future.

There's no doubt that he's a talented player, perhaps one of cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 best cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 UK has produced, but what makes him even more dangerous is that he doesn't possess an ego, and won't fall down that hole that ocá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365r big winners have stumbled upon in cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 past. Whilst ocá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365rs have splashed cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365ir winnings on overpriced luxuries and regularly buying into $10,000 events, JP will most likely take cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 more sensible approach, and return next year with his bankroll in tact, and his game most likely twice what it was cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 year prior.

As he says himself: "I'm looking forward to cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 reception when I get home, but it won't change me. I won't get big headed or anything like some players do after a big win. Each time I come to cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 World Series I do better than cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 last, and I really feel like I gain in experience every year."

We're only a third of cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 way through cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 Series, and JP has his sights set on furcá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365r gold. With a host of bracelet events pencilled into his schedule, Brock Parker better not get too comfy at cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 top of that leader board, because as was once cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 case in Luton, here in Vegas, cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365re's a new kid in town.

Snoopy is a writer from London, UK, most known for his stellar reporting at Blonde Poker.. You can read his 2009 WSOP musings over at Black Belt Poker.

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