PokerStars Festival London: Spin it to win it
I don't get out of bed for less than a grand is a phrase that gets used as often as 'I put you on ace-king,' but for John McGlynn, it actually was the case on the afternoon of January 11th.
That's when PokerStars launched Spin and Go qualifiers to the PokerStars Festival London Main Event. McGlynn was the first to qualify via that method and he won his £990 seat from the comfort of his own bed. "I saw an email about the Spin and Go qualifiers. I jumped in and qualified on my third try," he told the PokerStars Blog during a break in play. "I'd been playing poker at the casino the night before. It was late afternoon and I'd just woke up. I was in my bed, I registered and won a seat."
Although McGlynn and two friends (Tom Pearn and Brian Lau) had already agreed to head to London for the festival this was McGlynn's first attempt at qualifying. "I only had £50 in my account, which I deposited to play a Spin and Go," he told us. "I won the first one for £100, lost the second and then won the seat on the third. I'd say it took about 20 minutes in total."
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Spin and Go's are fast-paced, 3-Max Hyper-Turbo Sit & Go tournaments in which each player starts with 500 in chips with blinds at 10/20. In McGlynn's successful Spin and Go, the other two players got all their chips in on the first hand so it meant McGlynn was facing a two to one deficit when heads-up play for the Main Event seat began. "I can't remember exactly how I won it but I know I hit some big hands and got paid," he explains. That's definitely a winning combination when it comes to poker.
Although McGlynn has racked up almost $70,000 in lifetime earnings this is his first PokerStars live tournament (we've some decent advice for anyone in the same boat as the Scotsman here) and on the way to the tournament Pearn, who's also playing today, made sure it's one McGlynn won't forget.
"We were walking to the tournament today and passed a tourist shop and saw this hat," explains McGlynn. As you can see from the picture below, it's not exactly the height of fashion. A bet was soon in the offing. "He offered me fifty quid if I agreed to wear it until I bust and I said deal. He had to pay for the hat too and If you can believe it, it cost £20."
So far Pearn hasn't had to reach into his pocket as McGlynn is very much still alive in the tournament. "I had a slow level, but I'm up to 50K. It was a bad start but then it got better. I was down to about 12,000 in level two, but I've won lots of small pots to climb back up."
The 27-year-old poker professional who lives in Edinburgh, but is originally from Glasgow, is a live cash game grinder, playing live four to five nights a week. However, over the next fortnight, he'll be attempting to school a completely different type of clientele. "I'm in London for the next two weeks teaching," he explains. "I start on Monday, I'm teaching English as a second language to students from China," he tells us. "Temperament and patience are two skills that transfer from poker to helping people learn another language," he adds.
If PokerStars offer Spin and Go qualifiers to future events then we may well see McGlynn at more events in the future. "I'd definitely try and qualify again through Spin and Gos, they're really quick. Really handy if you don't have time to devote hours to trying to qualify. You can literally qualify in ten minutes."
All PSF London feature pieces can be perused here.
Live updates of the High Roller and the Main Event can be accessed via Poker News
The PokerStars Festival London schedule, featuring structures, start times and more information on all 22 events can be accessed here.
All the PokerStars Festival London schedule information is available on the PokerStars LIVE App, which is available on both Android or IOS. Also make sure to follow the @PokerStarsLive Twitter account of event information and announcements.