Earlier this week Jesse ‘No_Xcape’ Elliott, the #10-ranked online poker player in New Jersey, thought he had put the exclamation point on an impressive run of poker when he took down the first ever PokerStars New Jersey Championship of Online Poker Main Event for $38,380.
Eight days before that he won his first NJCOOP title when he won the $350 buy-in Sunday Special Special Edition for $19,299. Sandwiched in between those two wins were two other NJCOOP final tables; an eighth place finish and a third place that came after a chop. The rarity of putting up two big wins in such a short time span isn’t lost on Elliott.
“What can I say? Back to back? What are the chances of that happening? And in one of the biggest weekends in New Jersey online poker history,” said Elliott. “To win a $100K and a $200K (guarantee) and then chop (another one) and get to play it out with Chris Moneymaker? That doesn’t happen.”
While the two wins were great for the bankroll and a real confidence booster, Elliott looks back at the one he chopped and has some regrets – something he chalks up to not having a killer instinct because of a moral dilemma poker gives him.
“I ended up getting screwed on the deal. I chopped for third place money by like two bucks. I should have won it,” said Elliott. “Sometimes I’m too nice and chop instead, because poker is kind of weird for me because I don’t like taking other people’s money but that’s the nature of what you have to do, to hurt, to beat them. It’s kind of like a Catch 22 for me.”
Now he’s on to Day 3 of the PokerStars Festival New Jersey with just 23 players remaining. He’s got the fifth shortest stack after losing a big pot late on Day 2, but considering it’s an event he almost didn’t play for a couple of reason, having a shot at the $38,220 first place prize money is basically a bonus.
“I almost didn’t come but the two wins and then I told my buddy Justin ‘pocketprofits’ Wong ‘If I win big money (Tuesday night) I have to go. I have to ride it out’ and I chopped the Borgata $10K so here we are,” said Elliott. That’s right, a day after winning nearly $40K in the NJCOOP Main Event he posted another big score online and that’s when he decided to make the one hour drive from his home in Sewell, NJ to play the $1,000 buy-in PokerStars Festival Main Event.
There’s also another reason he almost didn’t bother to come to Atlantic City this week. His three year old daughter, one of three kids, isn’t a big fan of daddy leaving the house to work.
“I almost didn’t even come to this because I hate it when she says ‘Daddy stay”. and I say I gotta go to work. ‘Oh, okay, I’ll go up to work with you in the office”’, because she’ll lay on the floor while i’m playing online,” said Elliott. “Me and her are inseparable because I had a really rough upbringing with my father, so I try to over the top with stuff like that.”
The NJCOOP Main Event win almost didn’t happen for a couple of reasons. The two-day event started on Sunday, the same day as partypoker was having massive geolocation issues right at the height of its Garden State Super Series Main Event. Elliott was playing that too but just like a number of players that kept getting disconnected from the party software.
“Because of what was going on with Party/Borgata that day, I was actually blinding out of the (PokerStars) Main because I kept restarting my computer, thinking that the geo-problem was on my end,” said Elliott. “And I thought it was weird because it wasn’t happening on Stars but it was happening on Party, so I kept restarting. I restarted twice and I lost like 7,000 in the Main on Stars.”
That was on his second entry in the event, which also almost didn’t happen.
“I actually satellited twice, thankfully, into the Main through PokerStars. If I didn’t get that second satellite win and have the 500 tournament dollars sitting there, I don’t know if I would have re-bought,” said Elliott. “I do this for a living, I know it’s a huge prizepool, but I have a mortgage. You have to protect your money or you’re going to be gone. You hear horror stories of a lot of these guys going busto. I have three kids. But thank god I won that second one or that would have been a $38,000 mistake.”