WSOP Main Event: Catching up with the Joneses

by Howard Swains

Yesterday it was Gary, today it's Steve and Iwan. Jones is a common name on the right* side of the Atlantic - and it's a seemingly sure-fire route to PokerStars qualification.

"Are you with PokerStars this year?" I asked. I was checking with Iwan, from Cardiff, Wales.

"Of course. I always am," he replied - and he's right, whether it be for the WSOP or various EPT events, where ijsj2003 has become a serial qualifier.

But my question was legitimate: Iwan Jones is a well-known tournament pro in his own right (ie, away from PokerStars) and last year won the inaugural London Poker Open. That cost him $10,000 to enter. He picked up $750,000. You see, he doesn't necessarily need to qualify for ten bucks.

But Iwan is, indeed, back under the PokerStars banner and there's every chance he'll go deep here. He has two cashes in this year's series to date - and few would bet against him in the main event.

Steve Jones (no relation) is the flipside. Here's a qualifier from the old school (ie, if it wasn't for PokerStars, he would not be here.) Steve took up the game just two years ago, watching friends playing seven-card stud, then joining the action himself, progressing around various online sites before winding up at PokerStars with $215 and a seat in the $1 million guaranteed.

Steve, a property developer from Southport, England, placed 99th for $800, then joined the $100 re-buy the next day. That offered the first taste of a final table, where his seventh place was good for $1,800.

"I like the idea of turning $10 into $15,000," he said. "That's why I entered a $2 re-buy event, then the double shootout and won my place. I've only played live once before, but I won that."

Keeping up with the Jones's is tough enough. First you're going to need to catch them.

(* geographically, that is)

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in World Series of Poker