The recent wave of major online series in New Jersey from partypokerNJ and PokerStarsNJ resulted in players having the chance to boost their bankrolls by five-figures should they take down the right event. In addition to those series, WSOP.com started running satellites for the World Series of Poker Main Event in March, giving away one $12,000 package each Sunday.
To win five figures or qualify for the Main Event would be a great weekend for anyone but within a two-week span, Joshua ‘jaminonfaces’ Berardi did both. Berardi took down the $50,000 guaranteed $1,060 buy in event on partypokerNJ March 26 for $10,389 and then on April 10, won his seat into the biggest event of the year. Berardi is a New Jersey transplant by way of Las Vegas, and winning the Main Event satellite gives him something great to look forward to when he goes back out west this summer.
“I’m excited for the WSOP as a whole. I have a decent amount of friends in Vegas that I like to catch up with while I’m out there. Winning a Main package two months in advance of the series was pretty sweet. Now, I can plan my summer out, focus on playing poker and enjoying time with friends. My first reaction to winning a seat was, ‘Now, I can finally stop standing.’”
Berardi’s journey to New Jersey came in two stages. He first moved with a friend on a cross-country trip in September 2014 where Berardi was able to stop in Pittsburgh surprise his mother, Deborah, who was battling cancer at the time. That venture only lasted two months for Berardi, who eventually moved back to Las Vegas. Almost a full year later, Berardi moved back to the East Coast. Both WSOP and partypokerNJ were fully operational at the time and PokerStarsNJ was on the verge of opening for business at the time of Berardi’s second arrival.
During this trip, he happened to meet his girlfriend, Jillian, who influenced Berardi’s extended tenure in New Jersey. Rather than go back to Las Vegas and try to maintain a long-distance relationship along with only one site available to play on, Berardi says the decision was a “no-brainer” for him.
As Berardi’s mother battled cancer, she encouraged her son to stay in Las Vegas to continue his career rather than putting it on hiatus to come and support her. She has been free of cancer for over a year now, but Berardi arriving at her door two years ago remains a lifetime highlight.
“That moment when I walked through the door and saw the joy on my mom’s face will be etched in my brain as one of the best moments in my life. My mom was the one that encouraged me to stay in Vegas and play poker instead of coming back to see her go through that horrible process that she had to endure.”
The family that Berardi has worked hard to put together and maintain had a new member join in this year. Keeping with his Pittsburgh roots, Berardi adopted his a dog and name him Malkin (named after the Penguins forward). Berardi admits it has been an adventure trying to train his puppy and he has had to find ways to be creative when playing online and handling his duties with the dog.
“It took a little while to train him. Hence why I would be playing one table and sitting out on another. I wish I could blame it on GEOLocation, but I run really good on internet power. I learned quickly that multi-tabling tournaments on my desktop wasn’t going to work well with him having to go out every two hours. Playing one table on the phone was more efficient during the week. I was kind of restricted to weekends mostly this year, so far. Luckily, he is starting to grow out of his puppy phase, so I’m able to play a little bit more.”
Luckily for Berardi, he won’t have to worry about keeping track of his dog when he plays in the Main Event this summer. If the saying is true that big things come in threes then a deep run in the granddaddy of them all would put a perfect coda on Berardi’s recent success.