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Jon “luckyfish89” Clark on winning his first WCOOP title: “I got a little bit emotional”

Jon “luckyfish89” Clark on winning his first WCOOP title: “I got a little bit emotional”

Imagine getting heads-up for a World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) title…and then having your internet cut out completely.

That’s what happened to our very own Jon “luckyfish89” Clark last week. The BBZ Poker coach had reached heads-up in the $1,050 buy-in 6-Max PKO event on PokerStars, outlasting 438 players, and held a 3:1 chip lead.

Then out of nowhere, his internet connection dropped harder than a beat at an EDM festival.

You’ll find out what happened in our interview with Clark below, but rest assured: he ended up taking it down for $72,615, including $38,882 in bounties. To get the job done he had to defeat Sweden’s “fierrehuve” heads-up, a player Clark is now mates with.

Here, we speak about what winning his first WCOOP title means to him, how he approaches a series, and what’s next.

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BBZ Blog: Hey Jon, congrats on the win! How has the series been for you overall and how are you feeling now that it’s almost over?

Jon “Luckyfish89” Clark: Thanks. Well, outside of the win, it wasn’t great but overall, I’m feeling very good just from that one result. I’m going on holiday on Saturday for my girlfriend’s birthday so that will be relaxing.

What does your life look like when you’re playing a series? Are you a play every-day guy or do like to pick and choose days and take breaks in between?

Ideally, I play every day. There was no WCOOP on Fridays, so if I was ever going to take a day off, it would be Friday. I did have a few things I couldn’t get away from this month, like my cousin’s wedding, which meant I couldn’t play a proper Thursday because of the Day 2s on Saturday. Then I couldn’t play Saturday because I was at the wedding, and I probably wasn’t in the best shape for Sunday!

Play was paused for an extra day in your event, what happened there?

I had a nightmare. My internet has been absolutely perfect for the past year, since I upgraded and got a booster. I don’t know what happened but about 15 minutes into the heads up it just went off and I couldn’t get it back. I failed to get my hotspot working too.

I was out of action for around 50 minutes with no resolution. Then I got a call from an unknown number and it was someone from PokerStars. Luckily, the guy I was playing heads-up against is a reg with a moral compass so he waited for me. He didn’t want to win the tournament like that! It would have been pretty scummy because he could have literally clicked raise for 10 minutes and won the tournament. But he waited, then we paused it and came back the next day.

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Phew. It probably helps that it was a High buy-in event, and most players who play them know each other, right?

I got in contact with him–I found him via Instagram–and we got chatting. We’re now going to go through some of the hands together, and I’ll get the beers in for him! If it was against some randomer…put it this way, if I was in my early days of poker and I didn’t really think about etiquette, I could imagine myself going against what I think is right today.

Ten years ago, I might have seen myself doing something like that. But it’s obviously very unethical. It’s basically stealing and it will be seen on the video replay that someone won a WCOOP by capitalizing on someone’s serious lack of luck.

If it was an $11 or $109 event I’m sure there would be a lot of people who would have taken advantage, and I doubt there’s anything I could have done. I don’t know what PokerStars would do. At the end of the day, it’s a risk we take. If I had any hair left, I would have pulled it all out!

Deep down I thought he would wait, but there was uncertainty. I had a 3:1 chip lead at that point.

Still, you managed to take it down the next day. It’s obviously great to win a title, but is it extra special to win a High event?

I think just winning any WCOOP would be special, to be honest. Obviously the higher they get, the higher the prize, which is going to be nice. But when you win a tournament there are no regrets. I won this tournament for $72K, but let’s say I had the choice to come second in one for $90K instead, I think a lot of people would take the $72K because of the title. Knowing you’d done it. You couldn’t have done anything differently.

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How important are titles to you in your career?

I would say the vast majority of people would say they’re purely in it for the money. But for me, it’s nice. It’s definitely a big confidence boost and it’s nice to reflect on. I hope I get a trophy as a reminder, both to appreciate what I’ve achieved, and also as a reminder not to rest on previous laurels and always push on.

But yeah, for me, I got a little bit emotional. It was huge to win that title. If I’d won the same amount in a regular Sunday schedule, it wouldn’t have the same impact, I don’t think. The WCOOP title makes a big difference.

I think that’s quite refreshing to hear.

If you’re a professional footballer, you’re making the money regardless, right? But people want to have Premier League and Champions League titles on their CV. No one remembers coming second.

When you finish second, there’s always a bit of “I should have shoved that river” and “I should have called that bluff”. So just to have titles on your CV, in any walk of life, you should be proud and use it as an encouragement to move to the next stage and get the next one.

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You’re obviously well respected and renowned as a coach, but do you ever feel any added pressure to put up big wins to prove yourself?

I wouldn’t say pressure, but it definitely helps. It helps reassure any doubt from my perspective, and if there’s ever any doubt from anyone else. It’s obviously good for BBZ Poker when a coach wins a title.

So many members of the BBZ community have been playing throughout WCOOP. How do you think the community spirit and Discord helps players during big grinds?

I think it’s great. It’s a really great networking opportunity. For people who are just starting out and don’t have many friends in poker yet or anyone to study with, it’s a really good way to seek friendships and study partners and grow together. It’s nice to see people doing well.

After your holiday, what’s next for you?

EPT London is approaching in a few weeks and I don’t live far away, so I’ll be going to that. I think it will be a good event and I know a lot of people going. It’s quite exciting getting to play close to your home.

Brilliant. Best of luck!

Cheers!

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