EPT8 Berlin: Breaking bad with JP Kelly


You would think that JP Kelly had bagged more than $1,664,168 in live tournament winnings. We're not saying that total is small, it is seven figures after all, but when someone has two WSOP bracelets and come second in another you'd imagine that total may be a little higher.

Kelly, whose biggest score was his 26th place finish in the WSOP main event last year for $302,005, has bagged another million in tournaments online but if anything is better known for his cash game play, particularly Omaha, and, well, for being a thoroughly nice bloke.

The Brit has doubled his stack so far today from 152,000 to 320,000 and is certainly looking like one of the most relaxed players left in the field. He's been there, done it, but can't really be bothered to wear the t-shirt.

"I take it hand for hand," said Kelly nonchalantly at the break, "but ideally I want to be at 100 big blinds. Sometimes that's just not possible, and actually I haven't been on that for a while. What is it now? Three-six? Yeah, I've got 50 big blinds."

Kelly is certainly on one of the tougher tables left. He has Taylor Paur on his right with Season 8 high roller terminator Phillip 'philbort' Gruissem and previous EPT Berlin winner Kevin MacPhee filling two of the other seats.

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JP Kelly

"It's the next to break so I'm taking it easy. I'm staying away from tough spots because there's no need to get involved really."

When you're at a tough table and you know it's going to be one of the next to break do you alter your play accordingly? Would you play differently if you knew you'd be there for several levels?

"Yeah, I think so. Obviously you can't let people run you over so you have to fight. I've made a couple of marginal folds, actually hands that I'd never fold normally (if the table wasn't next to break). I had six-seven of spades and folded under-the-gun in that big pot which I would have won. I can't remember the last time I did that. It's a bit annoying but it does save me getting in tough spots when there are good players involved late on."

Kelly has just got back from Vienna where he was playing in a 48-hour cash game where he finished up as one of the bigger winners, about €40,000 up. Not bad for a couple of days work but he could be blowing that out of the water should the cards break nicely for him here in Berlin. First prize is €825,000.

Moments after this was posted Kelly made a big call for stacks against Andrey Zaichenko with J♥9♥ on a 9♣8♠6♠Q♦ board and was good against the drawing A♠K♠. Unfortunately for Kelly the 4♠ hit the river to send the 600,000 pot the other way. Kelly out in 70th for €11,000.

Tournament snapshot
Level 18: blinds 3,000-6,000, ante 500
Players: 70 of 745
Average stack: 319,500
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Rick Dacey
@PokerStars in Berlin