WCOOP 2015: "Lawn chair and a laptop". Peter "RcknTheSbrbs" Nigh on win
We're coming up to the one week mark in the World Championship of Online Poker 2015, with a busy weekend for those in pursuit of WCOOP gold. There are still plenty of events to win, but as each one passes comes the sense that time is running out. The longer you leave it the harder it gets. Better to get your win in early and enjoy the run in to the Main Event.
Alright, so it's not that straight forward. But it worked for Peter "RcknTheSbrbs" Nigh, a 26-year-old professional, originally from Missouri, now plying his trade from the comfort of his condo, a stone's throw from the beach, in Costa Rica.
He's experiencing what it's like to win one of online poker's most coveted prizes, having taken down the Championship opener ahead of a field of 17,130 entries for a first prize of $200,352. But while it's easy to think that professionals like Nigh, in the game for nearly ten years, might be a little "meh" about such accomplishments, it turns out the reality is a little different.
"It was one of those tournaments that you always load up and think 'hey, this would be cool to win!' but never really considering the reality to be all that probable," said Nigh. "Obviously I'm absolutely ecstatic to have taken it down. Nothing could have been better."
Event #01 was something new for WCOOP. Winning meant you effectively had to play for three days. Phase 1 came first, then Phase 2 on Sunday, before competing on the final day for money and jewellery. More than 17,000 players took a shot at it, including Nigh who got there on the fourth attempt. The rest, Nigh says, is a blur.
But was it difficult to remain focused with so much at stake? Luckily Nigh had prepared for that.
"If you asked me this a few weeks ago I'd have probably said no but I very recently began working with mental game coach, Elliot Roe, and have drastically increased my levels of focus and calm," he said. "Whether I had the big stack or was grinding five big blinds I maintained the same steady disposition throughout the final table."
This was all the more important when you consider the opposition. Typical of WCOOP, the final table was a tough one, with the tell-tale inverted commas all over the scores, indicating the presence of players known for their real as much as their user name. That included Raphael "tiarc" Wimmer, Adam "Adamyid" Owen, and perhaps the most well-known player at the table, John "Blessed " Duthie.
But Nigh, working on a laptop from what he referred to as his "luxurious standard issue plastic garden chair" and forgetting to eat the food he'd carefully prepared ahead of the final table campaign, triumphed. Duthie settled for second while Nigh bagged his first bracelet, and turning around a year that up to this point had been a tough one.
"I had what felt like an infinite number of close calls without ever sealing the deal," said Nigh. "But all that pain and frustration led me to working on developing a stronger work ethic and mental resiliency so in the end it really wasn't bad anyway.
Well, it paid off. Not bad for someone who as a teenager opened an account to play $5 sit and goes after watching Chris Moneymaker win the World Series Main event (using a favourite Ben Folds album as a username). Nigh can now count himself among a small group of players to experience WCOOP success, and in the process becoming one of those players with inverted commas around their username.
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Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.