By Alison Lightman
In a room full of wily and wildly attractive old pro's as gathered for last night's PokerStars Aussie Millions party, you'd think the wild optimism of youth might be scarce.
But that would be modesty, and that's not poker is it?
"Ma'am, I am going to crush this competition" Jimmy Fricke from Mahomet, Illinois told me. "The play I've seen here so far, this tourney is mine!"
In truth I had wandered over to Jimmy and his posse to gently make sure they were of legal drinking age. They were, in Australia at least, but none of them were old enough to have a beer or gamble at home in the USA.
As I chatted to nineteen year old Jimmy and his buddies, Cameron,19 and Aaron, 18, who should wander past but defending Aussie Millions Champion (and newly-wed) Lee "final table" Nelson, (pictured below with PokerStars host, Sarne Lightman) and 2005 WSOP Champ Joe Hachem, who'd earlier flashed me his Five Diamonds Classic bracelet collected during his stunning victory at the Bellagio.
and more of Australia's famous poker exports, Billy "The Croc" Agyros and Mel Judah.
Las Vegas pro Jesse Jones came for a drink, still celebrating his win in the $3000 Pot Limit Omaha with Rebuys event which netted him $176 ooo.
And PokerStars young gun Emad Tahtouh cuddling best mate Joe Hachem's wife Jeannie is still celebrating his fantastic second place finish in the London Event of our European Poker Tour.
So, daunting company Jimmy? Not in the slightest. "I'm a pro" he said. And a later trawl around the internet showed me that he has cashed more than $40 000 in the past six months, with his most recent result 22nd place in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure No Limit Hold'Em championship last week in the Bahamas.
Jimmy dropped out of Maths and Computer studies at College to focus on his game. "My peers at college probably earn a hundred bucks a week in their part time jobs, I'm making ten times that already."
So what's his strategy for today? "In the beginning, accumulate chips. In the middle game, pick up a lot of pots, and in the end game, I am not going to make a single mistake because that might cost me everything."
Sounds just like a pro. I'll let you know how he does.