PokerStars' jcamby33: PokerStars Sunday Million Winners
This week's PokerStars Sunday Million featured a lot of familiar faces competing for a monster prize pool. The winner, James "jcamby33" Campbell, struck a deal heads up and walked away with a monster $180,000. He agreed to tell us a little more about himself and give us a behind-the-scenes look at how he took down the world's biggest weekly tournament.
A lot of people know who you are already. What was your life before poker?
I have lived in Marlboro, MA for my entire life. I am 24 years old and I am a professional poker player now. I lived away at college at Umass-Dartmouth for four years from 2001-2005. After I graduated in 2005, I immediately went into the "real world" and started my career as a financial advisor. It lasted about nine months until I decided to leave work before the WSOP last year and haven't looked back since. When I am not playing poker, I am using hanging out with my fiancee, friends, and family. I spend a great deal of time with all of them and that is really important to me. I also enjoy playing basketball which I played throughout high school and college. I was one of the leading scorers in the state of Massachusetts my senior year of high school, averaging nearly 30 points per game. I went on to play four years of varsity basketball at Umass-Dartmouth where I had a great college experience. I was a jock in high school, playing basketball, baseball, golf, and football throughout high school. I still enjoy getting out on the golf course a couple days a week during the summer.
How did you get started playing poker?
I began playing poker about three years ago when I come home from college for Christmas and I saw my father playing online at PokerStars. He taught me the basics and since then I have been in love with the game. He's still not very good. I started just like anyone else deposited 50 bucks playing $5 sit and go's. I was your typical fish for the first couple months. I finally started to develop a little understanding of the game by that summer and was able to win my first MTT for like 1k. While I was a senior at college, I made enough to live comfortably without having to get a job. After my senior year, I went into the finance field doing financial advising. I decided to leave that job and play poker full time right before the WSOP last year. I have been playing professionally for the last nine months now.
How does this win compare to your already successful poker career?
This is my biggest win by far. I have won 35,000 multiple times. I have won the 100 rebuy and 200 rebuy on Sundays a couple times each for around 35k. I have also won that amount in a couple other tournaments at different sites.
So, what does a guy do with an extra $180,000 in his bankroll?
I plan on using the money to buy myself a Cadillac Escalade that I have always wanted. The money will also make buying a house this summer a little easier. The rest will just go to my bankroll. I have had a good amount of success through poker, so I already have an idea of how to handle money wisely.
Give us an idea what it was like as you took down the Sunday Million
I was actually playing all of the Sunday tournaments at my buddy's house. There were about 6 of us over playing throughout the day, but by the time the final table started there was only 3 of us left. The others all had work early in the am, so ended up watching the rest of the tourney at their houses. The last hour was exciting. Whenever I won a big hand, we were running around the room giving each other high fives.
The first person I called when I left my friends house was my fiance and left her a message telling her how much money I won. By the time I ended up winning the tournament, it was 3am and most of my friends were all sleeping by that point. However, when I got home, both my parents were up and were very excited for me. My father is my biggest fan and is constantly watching me play. My family and fiancee have all been very supportive when dealing with my life as a "professional poker player." Today I have received hundreds of phone calls from friends and other poker players congratulating me on my win.