WCOOP 2013: Open wide! Concepcion's root canal pays off

I recall today a young elf at the North Pole. Hermey, he was called, and he wanted to be a dentist. This was a problem, because, as we all know, Hermey was an elf, and elves make toys.

Indeed, I think of Hermey today as I think of young Jonathan Concepcion, a WCOOP bracelet winner who, you guessed it, wanted to be a dentist. We'll speak more on Concepcion in a minute, but first, let's recall Hermey's plight.

And, so, yes. Hermey wanted to be a dentist, and so did the Canary Island's Jonathan Concepcion. Hermey had a problem boss elf, but Concepcion had nothing standing in his way.

Or so he thought.

At age 17, Concepcion traveled to Barcelona and took up the study of dentistry. It was going well--very well, in fact--when a friend at University happened to bring up the subject of poker.

"I was curious," Concepcion said. "I went to the internet to read a little bit about strategy and never looked back."

That's right. With only a few classes left to take before he realized his dream of becoming a dentist, Concepcion dug deeper into what he really wanted and gave himself a career root canal. It was not unlike the man who studied to be a rabbi but became a lawyer. It was not unlike Mike McD who studied to be a lawyer and became a poker player. But this story happened in Spain and it ended in gold.

So, for the past four years, he's been a professional poker player, and just this week Concepcion became a WCOOP champion. He won a gold bracelet, $216,000, and the Event #9 $1,050 NLHE title.

"I was very focused on my game and the other players on the final table and wasn't thinking a lot about the scenario I was in," he said. "When I won, I just realized (I was a champion) and was just really, really happy."


Jonathan "OMGjonyctt" Concepcion

In his four years as a pro, Concepcion has won a Sunday Warm-Up, finished runner-up in the Sunday Million, and made a SCOOP final table, but the $216,000 he won this week is his biggest-ever cash.

In the early years--before he started winning loads of cash--he thought briefly about going back to dentistry. After a while it didn't make sense. He got a sponsorship and went on the road. The decision paid off in more than money.

"I think I'm a really positive person that transmits good feelings to people," he said. "I met a lot of people, something really important for me."

And so now we think back to Hermey the Elf. He wanted to be a dentist, and the boss man said, "You're an elf, and elves make toys!"

Well, Jonathan, you're a poker player. And poker players play poker. Congrats on the bracelet. And if you ever change your mind, you already have a stock of gold for your patients' bling teeth.

Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in WCOOP