Thursday, January 17, 2013
Athy professional poker player Jason TompkinsPhoto: Christian Zetzsche

Athy professional poker player Jason Tompkins
Photo: Christian Zetzsche

ON the 12th day of Christmas, there were no drummers drumming but Athy’s poker lord was certainly leaping.

Jason Tompkins scooped $114,195 after finishing third in the Poker Stars Sunday Million tournament on 6 January – otherwise known as Little Christmas, the 12th and final day of the festive period. It wasn’t just the massive prize money that pleased the Athy man as he worked his through a field of 7,613 to reach the final table.

“To come third in that was a pretty nice pay day,” said Tompkins, who was able to play the game from the comfort of his own front room on the Poker Stars website. The tournament runs every Sunday from 7.30pm with players from all over the world paying $215 to enter although many win their way through.

“It’s on every Sunday and there’s a 1 million dollar guaranteed prize pool, although it’s normally 1.5 million,” said Tompkins, who would have won double his prize had he managed to take first place although he had few complaints about the money he collected.

“I came to the final table pretty short (in chips) so I couldn’t have too much expectation. To get third was pretty good.”

Tompkins had to survive a 12-hour poker marathon through the night before facing off against eight other players at the final table.

“You start out a random table of players and as the numbers dwindle down, the tables are re-arranged. You just keep playing and players are moved to your table or else you’ll be moved to another table – it’s all just randomised.”

Although you need plenty of hands to go your way, Tompkins really had to thank his lucky stars at 1am when he managed to pull a massive outside bet. Playing Texas hold-em, Tompkins picked up Ace-Six and put all his chips on the table before the flop – the first three community cards.

Two other players went all-in against only one opponent had Ace-Queen and another had 10-10.

“The flop came Q-9-6 so I’m dead last. Another 9 came on the turn so I’d only a 6 to hit on the river (for a full house) – there was probably only two 6s left in the deck and I hit it. That was really lucky. I don’t think I looked back from that.”

By the time Tompkins reached the final table, he had 4.5 million chips (which left him seventh of nine) compared with the almost insurmountable 40-million belonging to the chip leader. After the chip leader took out three players early on, Tompkins took out another player on a big hand to move into the final four where he eventually bowed out in third to the tune of more than $114k, which will be some €90k once the bank takes an exchange fee.

So how did Tompkins celebrate his latest win, which comes hot on the heels of some €171k he won at a European Poker Tour (EPT) event in Italy last October.

“I went out the next night with my girlfriend and a couple of friends for a Chinese meal and a few drinks in Ngais in Athy.”

Not a bad way to round off Christmas.

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To come third in that was a pretty nice pay day"

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