LAPT7 Panama: From Super Tuesday to starting Wednesday, Micka stays on grind

Speaking of getting up early -- as we were last post -- one of the players spotted at the very start was Joel "JMPRODIGY" Micka, the player from Washington state who enjoyed a successful first couple of levels today to increase his 20,000-chip starting stack to about 30,000.

It was interesting to see Micka among the on-timers, given how we knew the Supernova player had been up making a deep run in the Super Tuesday early this morning.

"I bubbled it," he explained with a grin. "I was up real late last night."

Micka had made the money all right, and in fact had gotten a lot further to finish one spot shy of making the final table.

"There were 10 left, so we were five-handed," he explained, telling of the hand that ended his Super Tuesday run. "I opened the button with ace-jack, then roo_400 -- he was playing pretty aggressively -- three-bet me out of the big and I shoved. He had two nines and I lost the race."

"It was good, though, and I just passed out after that," he added, giving the impression that after years' worth of deep tourney runs a near-miss of a final table is not so hard to shrug off. But then he became animated, showing how even with all that experience his drive to win has hardly dimmed.

"I was feeling it, though!" he laughed. "I thought I was going to win it. I thought I was going to start the trip off nicely, you know?"

We continued to talk about the continued popularity of the Super Tuesday -- a weekly $1,050 buy-in tourney that routinely draws fields as big as do some LAPT Main Events -- as well as about the quality of players it tends to attract. That latter point was well evidenced early this morning as Dominik "Bounatirou" Nitsche, Andras "probirs" Nemeth, and Michel "FreeLancerZZ" Dattani were among the five players who ended up taking part in a five-way chop with Dattani winning.

"The cream really rose to the top," said Micka of that group, pointing out how the Super Tuesday tends to bring out regs who don't necessarily play every day, but who stick to Tuesdays and the weekends when game selecting.

Of course, seeing Micka turn up here on the LAPT wasn't that big of a surprise, as he's played -- and enjoyed success -- here before.

"This is probably my fifth one. I got second in Costa Rica a few years ago," he noted, referring to his runner-up in the LAPT2 San Jose Main Event. He also referred to a visit here to Panama two years ago where he managed to final table the High Roller event, a tournament he'll play again this weekend should he not still be in the Main.

Micka's biggest live win came in early 2013 when he finished second to Dimitar Danchev in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event, picking up a cool $1,190,000 for the finish. Since then he's continued to show up at various live events while grinding online, most recently coming off a summer in Las Vegas where he picked up a couple of cashes at the WSOP. As he explained, after being based in Thailand for several years he's now spending most of his time in the U.S., traveling to Mexico when he wants to play online.

"That makes it convenient to come down here for the LAPT, and I enjoy coming down here. Just coming from the Series, you see some of the same people but it's a lot different. The game plays differently down here. It's a little more aggressive and you don't see the same faces at every stop."

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Joel "JMPRODIGY" Micka, rarin' to play

The break coming to an end, we let Micka go, noticing he had PokerStars up on his iPad as we did. Was he playing? Of course, he said.

"Trying to make up for last night!"

Photography from LAPT7 Panama by Carlos Monti. Click here for live updates in Spanish, and here for live updates in Portuguese. Also check out the start-to-finish live streaming coverage (in both Spanish and Portuguese) at

Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.