Coming out on top of the June 6th running of the UB.com $200,000 Guaranteedwas Pennsylvania native Jim reelhugefishGilbert (pictured). The tournament, which drew 926 entrants for an overlay of $15,000, ended with a heads-up chop between Gilbert and fellow PocketFives member Nick fu_15Maimone, who plays on the USA-friendly CEREUS Network site under the moniker Baxaments15. Maimone offered an even chop of $36,000 each and Gilbert obliged, ending the tournament two-handed.
As has become somewhat commonplace in the $200,000 Guaranteed, the final table was stacked with pros. This time around, the nine players included Alex AWiceWice (pictured), David donkcommitedMiscikowski, and Felipe improvedMontenegro of Costa Rica. On the talent-rich competition at the final table, Gilbert told PocketFives.com, “I play on UB more than most other regulars, so I was surprised to see such a stacked final table.” Gilbert’s stack numbered just 10 big blinds at one point, but he claimed that the “softer field and good structure definitely facilitated my big comeback.”
In March, Gilbert final tabled the PokerStarsSunday Million for nearly $150,000. Back in September, he found the winner’s circle in the Full Tilt Poker$50,000 Guaranteed for another $48,000. He’s in the top 10 in the Sortable Poker Rankings for Pennsylvania at the time of writing and relayed how the UB.com chop stacks up against other cashes he’s recorded: “The Sunday Million was obviously my most rewarding cash, but I would say this ranks right behind my outright win in the $50,000 Guaranteed in September. That victory meant a lot because it nearly tripled my largest cash up to that point in my career and I had a lot of friends over that shared the excitement with me.”
During his sophomore year of high school, Gilbert transferred schools and fell into a poker game with seniors on the soccer team. Despite not being familiar with the game, Gilbert thought it’d be an easy way to make new friends: “I had never played before, but thought it’d be a good opportunity to make some friends. After playing with them two times, I was so bad that out of the kindness of their hearts, they stopped inviting me. A year or so later when I tried playing again, I wasn’t as bad. Growing up, I was always very competitive in sports and I think that really helped me grow as a player.”
He took a semester off from school to close out 2009 and tried going back earlier this year. However, Gilbert admitted that his success in poker, which included the six-figure Sunday Million score and UB.com chop, has him contemplating making the game his full-time career. In mid-February, he came out on top in the Full Tilt Poker $50 Cubed for $23,000 and also owns a final table appearance in the PokerStars Sunday Second Chance for over $21,000.
On success factors to this point, Gilbert remarked, “Running well is definitely the number one key, but other than that, I feel I can exploit worse players better than others. Once I get a big stack, I feel I can really make it tough on the competition. In those bigger tournaments, the money definitely scares a lot of players. Having the ability to force them to make decisions for their tournament life gives you a psychological edge.”
Like many other members of the online poker community, Gilbert improved his game largely by interacting with his peers: “I felt that talking to other players was definitely the biggest key to my improvement. If you ask, ‘Why would you do this?’ rather than simply ‘What to do?’ you can definitely improve faster.” Among the biggest influences on his game have been 99NvrLosez, fireinthekitchen, and foxypham.
The UB.com $200k Guaranteed is the site’s marquee weekly flagship event. Congratulations to Jim for his heads-up chop and best of luck to all PocketFivers who will be participating in the tournament this week!