Jonathan “therookieqq9” Plens on PartyPoker Birthday Million Win[ return to main articles page ]
One of the fast risers in the PocketFives.com Worldwide Rankings is Jonathan therookieqq9 Plens. This week, he shot up to #45 on the strength of a mammoth $233,775 win in the PartyPoker Birthday Million, which was held over the weekend. While the majority of the online poker world was competing in Full Tilt Online Poker Series tournaments, Plens was occupied winning the equivalent of a house on PartyPoker. The Toronto, Canada native has become the talk of PocketFives.com. In order to learn a little bit more about the man behind the $233K payday, we sat down with Plens to get his reaction to his rapid rise in the Rankings.
I can only imagine how it must feel to turn a $640 buy-in into $233,775 in one night. That's life-changing money falling right into your lap in a matter of a few hours. Plens remarked, "It was my biggest score ever. Usually, when I'm playing a big tournament, I try to detach myself emotionally from it. I don't think about winning the tournament. I just focus on making it down to four players, then three players, and then heads up. I was just trying to get the job done." I'd say that Plens successfully got the job done. He commented on his mood after the win: "I was obviously very excited. I just get really down with a big loss. A big loss affects me more than a win does."
Plens got into poker in 2003, about the time that the boom started in the United States. However, instead of being an 18 year-old college student, Plens was 25. He noted, "I wasn't playing very seriously, maybe 15 hours per week. Basically, the first three years I played, it was not high volume. In 2006, I made a bit of a transition into no limit." If poker had not been a successful endeavor, today you'd find Plens trading on the floor of a major stock exchange: "My original intention was to do something in the stock market. It's ironic because both trading stocks and playing poker involve educated gambling. You try to get more information than anyone else has and then use it to make money."
Online, Plens won the PokerRoom $100K Guaranteed at the beginning of the month for $30,500. In April, he took down the $100 rebuy on PokerStars for $24,640. In live tournament play, Plens made waves during the 2008 WSOP Main Event, finishing 42nd and taking home $154,400. Playing live poker presents a whole new set of challenges for the Canadian. He told PocketFives, "I really would love to get a big live score under my belt. I really enjoy playing live tournaments. They allow me to focus on one table. I can sit back and absorb all of the information I'm getting from my opponents. Online, I'll sit and play 10-12 tables at a time. When you play that many tables, there is not much room for reads. However, I have to be in a big tournament to justify sitting at one table."
The lack of action in live play, when hands can sometimes take three to five minutes each, is a major hurdle that online players are forced to overcome when making the transition to tournaments like the WSOP. Plens revealed how he deals with the slowness of live play: "Sometimes I'll stand up to stretch and walk away from the table. However, when I have a deep run, I try to absorb everything I can. I don't get a chance to make a deep run in a live event very often. When I finish, I want to be able to say that I did everything I could to give myself the best chance to win."
When I spoke to Plens, he was visiting his parents, who live two hours north of Toronto. It marked the end of a busy summer with the WSOP occupying most of his time and energy. Away from the poker felts, Plens has taken up kick boxing with his friends. He joked, "We felt lazy because of our poker lifestyle."
He got his screen name after his table mates saw Plens return day after day to a poker club in Toronto. Today, Jonathan "therookieqq9" Plens is one of the movers and shakers who is taking the poker world by storm. Congratulations to Plens on his PartyPoker Birthday Million win.