The January 3rd running of the PokerStarsSunday Warm-Up drew 4,809 entrants. The top spot paid out $150,457 and went to PokerStars member Chris1804. Coming in second was none other than Justin looshle Pechie (pictured at right), who has been a member of the online poker community since late 2005. Pechie hails from Connecticut and earned $112,000 for his runner-up showing. He sat down with us to recap his run through the $215 buy-in event.
When the final table began in the PokerStars Sunday Warm-Up, Pechie had about 20% of the chips in play. He told PocketFives.com, “Everyone was trying to move up, so it was easy for me to min-raise. At one point, it didn’t matter what I had because people were either shoving or folding.” Amassing such a large stack gave him the confidence and the ammunition needed to succeed down the stretch. Pechie explained, “After a couple of orbits, I was 90% to get top three. No one could play back at me; it was never going to happen. I had a stack and there was nothing anyone could do.”
In a two-month stretch in October and November, Pechie won the $100,000 Guaranteed twice on the CEREUS Network for a combined payday of nearly $70,000. He grabbed third in a $2,500 buy-in No Limit Hold’em event during the 2006 World Series of Poker (WSOP) for $206,000 and, one year later, was the runner-up to Cory UGOTPZDCarroll (pictured at left) in the Caesars Palace Circuit Championship for another $260,000. Carroll, by the way, added $515,000 to his bankroll for outlasting the 336-player field.
Given all of his success, Pechie noted that the six-figure payday on the line did not faze him: “I’ve been in spots live for bigger money, so I have experience without having to worry about the money, but it felt good to do this.” After recording a $59,000 cash during the 2007 WSOP, Carroll hasn’t topped $25,000 in a live event since, according to the Hendon Mob database. He explained, “In the beginning of my career, I hit a big score in the WSOP. The money was good, but it wasn’t good for my mental state, where I thought I was the best. It led to a year of me not learning. Lately, I’ve been working on my game. In the past three months, it’s been vindicating to put in a lot of work and do well.”
So how does a rock solid poker player tweak his game when faced with adversity? Is it joining a training site like PokerXFactoror CardRunners? Is it becoming more active on forums like PocketFives.com and TwoPlusTwo? Is it playing more? Pechie revealed how he’s righted the ship in recent months: “I started staking some friends. The fact that I had more people around me growing with me made me realize what you need to do to win. It totally changed my mindset.” Here were the final table results from the January 3rd running of the PokerStars Sunday Warm-Up:
1. Chris1804 – $150,457
2. looshle – $112,050 (looshle)
3. P0ker D0h – $79,349 (P0ker H0)
4. mariano185 – $54,342
5. BFITM17 – $40,877 (bfitm17)
6. Slambamiel – $31,259
7. coroco75 – $21,641
8. WacKyJaxon – $12,023 (WacKyJaxon)
9. Narya77 – $7,694
In 2006, while Pechie was dominating, a flood of new players burst onto the poker scene. The largest WSOP Main Event in history played out at the Rio in Las Vegas that year, attracting nearly 9,000 players and crowning Jamie Gold (pictured at right) as its champion. Now, the competition has become cutthroat. Pechie explained the changes between 2006 and today: “Right now, you have so many people learning. Everyone who is 20 years-old wants to play professionally online. There are so many great players and it’s so easy to get good. Back in 2006, if you were aggressive, you were going to win. A lot of the information out there came from live pros, who gave atrocious advice.” The proof is in the pudding, as Pechie has racked up $328,000 in tournaments that are tracked for the Online Poker Rankings since the beginning of October.
Pechie is not one of the many PocketFives.com members who did battle in the 2010 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA). Instead, he’s braving the elements at home. Last year, Pechie finished 196th in the PCA Main Event for $12,500. He admitted that a trip this year was not in the cards: “I didn’t plan for it that much this year. I went last year and liked it, but got lazy about it.” The 2010 PCA, a veritable festival of poker, runs all the way through January 14th.
Pechie wanted to recognize Mike moneytaker85 Miller, jmuny420, villus, and dragondrake.