Chris "GoMukYaSelf" Sparks - Sunday Million Winner Profile
Chris Sparks has played as GoMukYaSelf on PokerStars since 2004, and logged an impressive 46 final table finishes in that time, in everything from $11 MTTs all the way up to his win in this week’s Sunday Million for $135,334.75. Chris took a little time out from his summer to talk with us about his game, his plans for the future, and how he has translated online skill into live success.
Like many college students, Chris started playing small tournaments in his dorm at Ohio State University with his friends, then made his first deposit onto PokerStars in 2004. His first major success came in 2005 when he parlayed the last $11 in his PokerStars account into a $1,400 win in a multi-table tournament. From there, he began to move up levels and perfect his tournament game, eventually taking down the Nightly Hundred Grand in November 2007 for his largest cash at the time. He looks forward to continued success in online tournaments, remarking “With the WCOOP coming up soon, hopefully I will be able to top this finish.”
Nowadays, Chris plays mainly cash games, transitioning his focus to the mid-stakes no limit hold’em cash tables on PokerStars. He can be seen multi-tabling up to 24 tables at a time and he believes that while “there is nothing like the thrill of playing in a large tournament, but I feel like the long term earning potential for a skilled cash game player is much higher on average.”
Chris plays mainly no limit hold’em, but has been branching out into Omaha to broaden his horizons. With five wins in his first 60 Omaha tournaments, we’d have to say that he has a bright future in multiple games! Another transition for Chris this year was into the live arena. He recently made his first trip to Las Vegas following his 21st birthday, and celebrated in style by winning one of the Caesar’s Deep Stack tournaments for a $28,000 first prize! His first major live tournament was the LAPT Rio, which he enjoyed greatly and has plans to play more live events as his schedule allows.
What the future holds for Chris is undecided so far. He graduated with a degree from Ohio State University this June with a degree in Marketing and Psychology, and has a job lined up with a Fortune 50 company in September. That is, if he doesn’t go pro. According to Chris, “The plan was that this summer was going to be a "trial period" where I give the professional poker lifestyle a shot for a few months. Worst case scenario, if things did not go well, I would just start earning a steady paycheck in a great job for a great company. Obviously, the summer is off to a pretty decent so far, but I still haven't made up my mind either way yet.” It’s great to have options like that in front of you!
On his way to first place in the Sunday Million, Chris outlasted a field of 6,520 other players and played top-notch poker for over ten hours. When asked about his success in that event, Chris said “It is no secret that to win a tournament of this size you have to both play at the top of your game and get a little bit lucky. I was fortunate to have both happen on Sunday as I was able to be selectively aggressive while staying patient and minimizing mistakes. At the same time, I was able to win a couple of key coin flips along the way; which helped me accumulate chips.”
When the field reached the final three, Chris suggested a three-way chop that locked up $105,000 for each player and left $30,000 remaining for the winner. He said “I thought that chopping would give me a psychological advantage. From my observation of previous Sunday Million final tables, I saw that many players would play somewhat careless after the chop even though there was still $30,000 on the line. Also, one of the other players mentioned that he was also playing [another final table], so I thought that if he had already locked up $100k in this tournament that he would probably shift his focus more towards the other tournament. From the way that the final two hands went down, I think that my strategy worked.”
Chris’ psychological strategy left him with a $30,000 edge over his remaining foes, and put him on the road to great success in the future, no matter if he decides to go pro, or take a great job and remain a recreational player. Congrats to Chris “GoMukYaSelf” Sparks, and the best of luck with whatever the future holds!