SCOOP winner Jan 'JacktShipper' De Smet, an old head on young shoulders

While the likes of Daniel Negreanu, Viktor Blom and George Danzer may have taken the biggest headlines it should not be forgotten that the SCOOP crowned a lot of heroes during its $75 million festival. One hundred and thirty-30 heroes, in fact (two players won two events).

One of those champs was 22-year-old Jan De Smet who won SCOOP Event #5-L ($11+R NLHE turbo). De Smet, playing under the name 'JacktShipper', beat a field of 12,558 (with 22,128 rebuys and 8,014 add-ons) to bank $58,291.29. He may be young but there's plenty of poker experience under the belt of this University student. As well being a heads up coach at the same site as Team PokerStars Online's Kevin 'WizardOfAhhs' Thurman, De Smet has racked up enough FPPs to attain Supernova status so you may recognise his online name if you've been grinding on PokerStars.

"While I don't have any real reservations against seeing my real name used, I'd prefer it if I'd be referred to as jacktheshipper or JTS simply because native English people mispronounce my first name quite wrong and it makes me cringe," said De Smet.

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You want to be known as what?

As someone who has butchered many a poker player's name (mainly Russian and Czech), it's an understandable request but given that these SCOOP winner profiles are about marrying the player behind the avatar, we're calling you De Smet, De Smet. You can't mispronounce in print.

So, De Smet may not be the most well-known SCOOP winner, but he has beaten him before.

"Last year is... where SCOOP became my favourite online poker series of all time. Mainly because I final tabled the low shootout and also because I drew Daniel Negreanu in the first round of the $700 HU-MTT (and won) which was just an awesome feeling. Even though I understand that one game doesn't really hold any significance towards who is the better player, and it's very likely it's Daniel, it just felt great playing someone so well known and winning," said De Smet.

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"You beat me once, kid. Come back when you've won $18m."

You've heard the cliché before, poker is a journey. It's got ups and downs, periods of self-reflection and moments of self-doubt. If you're a part-time player then it's hard to truly grasp this, but if it's your only income, and the only income that you've ever known, that adage really does apply.

"This is going to sound super lame but I really matured a lot as a person (in the last year) and I think anyone around my age going trough that whole maturation process can attest that it's quite interesting. How going from fighting with your parents turns into an appreciation of all the work and effort they do for you. How I now value my girlfriend far more than I did in past relationships, it just feels like all the pieces of the puzzle are slowly coming together, which will eventually lead me to great comfort, I believe. It's like I've found inner peace and clarity and can now be a more reasonable person and see eye-to-eye with my peers. Really quite a good feeling and very odd not more people my age speak about this," said De Smet.

De Smet appears to have an old head on some young shoulders, possibly because of the severe asthma that he had to deal with as a kid. Regular trips to the doctor and a reliance on inhaler machines were all part of De Smet's early years meaning that the usual pastime of running around like a maniac were off the agenda.

"One of my earliest memories is (of course, super cloudy as expected) being in a hospital seeing my parents worry over me and having to do all kinds of tests like breathing into tubes," said De Smet.

This led to a lot of time spent playing cards, chess and chequers, basically anything that wouldn't exacerbate his asthma. What young Jan couldn't have possibly known back then is that the foundations for becoming a successful poker player were being laid well and deep. Calm heads prevail.

"We discussed a deal five-handed but one person was simply not replying. This seemed odd to me because for an $11 tournament there were quite significant price jumps. After a while he busted and we played on. When we were two-handed we discussed another deal, I remember me having around 71million chips, and my opponent having around 73 million or so. It was not a huge difference in chips... and I said I wanted to chop it even despite most likely having 100s of hours of HU experience more than my opponent. I figured it seemed reasonably fair.

It was to be expected that I had a slight edge in a hyper turbo HU SNG structure, that actually being my main game, but I was willing to just cut it down the middle and play for the remaining $5,000. He insisted on wanting $50k and me $43k or so and playing for the rest, which was simply too bad a deal to accept. We talked some more because honestly I really wanted to make a deal, and didn't really want to play a hyper-turbo HU for $20,000. However, we couldn't reach something that was fair, perhaps my opponent knew I really wanted to make a deal and be reasonable and tried to exploit me knowing that. So eventually we agreed no deal and I ended up getting quite lucky when we eventually got it in with my A6o vs his 88 and I hit an ace. Needless to say, I was very happy that ace came, "said De Smet.

Winning $58,291.29 will tend to do that. Remember the names - both De Smet and JacktShipper - they're likely to pop up again.

is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.

Rick Dacey
@PokerStars in SCOOP