This is stupid...hey, I won $82,000!
It was getting late, past the hour where smart decisions are usually found, and way past the point at which sound decisions on money rarely occur.
There sat a 22-year-old guy in Helsinki, a graduate student on summer break, a man who will soon be...wait for it...a financial manager.
And he was about to make a decision he knew wasn't the right one.
The MicroMillions Main Event was in its final moments of re-entry eligibility, and due to things not going so well in the early stages, this seemingly otherwise smart guy was no longer playing on his first bullet. Also, he didn't feel like giving up yet. So, he made the decision and actually said, "This has gotta be the stupidest re-entry for a while. I've got only around 13 big blinds."
Fortune favors the brave and, apparently, wanna-be financial managers without a sense of quit in them.
Cue the money shot.
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The guy who will only reveal himself as JiiJay still needs to complete an internship before he gets his fanancial management degree. For now, he's on summer break, and he's doing what he loves.
JiiJay started playing on PokerStars as soon as he turned 18 years old. Before that, he and his friends had already built a homemade poker table in his parents' house where they had been playing live games for a few years.
It was at this table that he and a couple of his closest friends were grinding the Sunday tournaments on MicroMillions 12's Main Event Sunday.
"We have a routine to play Sundays and cheer each other. This Sunday was not exception," he said.
So, he made his decision and went to work. Along the way, he knew the odds were stacked against him.
"This was just unbelievable when you look at the field of the tournament. You just have to win a enormous amount of flips, so obviously luck played a big part here."
His friends weren't as lucky. As the Finland night turned dark and quiet, JiiJay was the last one sitting there at that homemade poker table. He'd managed to turn his "stupid" 13 big blind re-entry into a stack worth playing.
"My other friends busted out earlier and went to sleep. When they woke up the tournament was pretty deep, and they were just as excited as I was," he said. "They cheered and railed me for about last two hours or so, and when it was all over we were just like 'What the hell just happened?'"
What had happened was as exciting as it was unlikely. JiiJay had turned 13 big blinds into the winning stack, one worth more than $82,000, and one that handed him his biggest win ever.
"I didn't think about the money, even at the final table. I realized the money I won hours later when it was finished," he said. "I just tried to keep myself calm and think of it just another tourney."
No matter what he thought, this was not just another tourney or another win. It would give him his first big title and enough money to do the things he's wanted and needed to do for a while. He's going to pay off his student loans, set aside enough for a good bankroll, and use another big chunk to pay for his future studies so he doesn't have to go into debt again. He also has his sights set on some travel.
"Oh, and I'm going to take my closest friends on a little trip," he said.
So, stupid or not, the re-entry decision turned out right for the man from Finland. Upon reflection, he's less concerned with the idea of whether it was the right decision and more focused on thanking his friends and mom who have helped him stay motivated to play. Now, he has the rest of the year to see if he can keep the...er...good decisions going. It seems to have worked out so far.
"Lets just say the year turned from good to excellent," he said.
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Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging. Follow him on Twitter: @BradWillis.