As careers go professional poker player is certainly one of the more esoteric, but being a submariner probably just about tops it for wow factor. British navy submariner, sorry, former British navy submariner, James Wilson has to be the only person to have seriously broached both. This isn’t the first time that we’ve met Wilson, who left the navy life in February after three years and nine months. The mild mannered Brit – yes, there are other types – made the money at EPT London finishing 60th for £11,000 and also came close at EPT Barcelona (both times during shore leave). He’s got off on the right foot again here in Madrid, if he’s still suffering from sea legs he’s certainly not showing it having enjoyed an early boost in a three-way pot.
Wilson had opened A♥K♣ and been called by the two players on his left, Ricardo Tavares and Jenya Gavrilovich. Wilson fired 600 into the [k]6♠7♠ flop, Tavares called before Gavrilovich raised it up to 2100. Both called and checked it over to Gavrilovich on the  turn who bet 5000. Again both called and again both checked the next street, a non-flushing [q]. Gavrilovich pushed out one large 11,000 bet. Wilson called with top-top and was good against Q♠9♠ to chip up to around 65,000.
Wilson, who’s now living on dry land in Bath in the West of England, is now grinding fulltime under the name jwilly1984: ‘I’m playing between 50 and 100 $60 sit-and-gos a day to build up my bankroll back up. I don’t want to deposit a load so it’s the grind for me.’
So how are you handling the changes from the military life where you were sardined into a giant torpedo for weeks on end?
‘It’s difficult in different ways. I really enjoyed my time in the navy and at sea but it was time to come back to poker, which is what I had always planned. I like the freedom that it gives me and obviously I didn’t have too much of that in the Navy at all,’ said Wilson, somewhat stating the obvious.
It’s a pretty polarised range. So, using your military expertise and planning what’s the plan for this main event?
‘Just to cash at the moment. Early on that’s my only objective. Once I’m in the money I’ll reassess from there,’ said Wilson, ‘I played EPT Barcelona and found that the Spanish players tend to be a little more aggressive than I’m used to coming across online. Now I’ve got my early chip up I think that I can sit back and pick my spots, value bet and don’t go mad too much.’