PokerStars New Jersey recently made one online poker player a lot wealthier.
Back on January 29, James Piccolo, a 28-year-old resident of Nevada, was back east visiting his family in Bergen County.
The self-described poker professional decided to test his talent on the PokerStars New Jersey platform and sat down at the $10 Sit & Go tables.
After a couple hours of playing the brisk three-handed format, Piccolo was notified that he and two others had landed the prize pool multiplier jackpot. Their combined $30 pot had been multiplied into $120,000, with the winner taking $100,000 and second and third-place finishes receiving $10,000 each.
Roughly 15 minutes later, Piccolo’s bankroll was a cool $100,000 richer. A video filmed by his brother was quickly posted to YouTube showing the monumental win.
“We just won $100,000!” Piccolo told the others in the house. “I just had $590. I now have $100,000. This didn’t just happen.”
But it did happen, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Piccolo was in New Jersey visiting his family before his father underwent surgery relating to an unspecified cancer.
The surgery reportedly went well, and Piccolo’s sister got engaged in what’s become a rather celebratory week.
Piccolo told local reports that he moved to the Silver State in 2015 to pursue a career playing poker professionally. However, it doesn’t appear he’s experienced much success, at least on the live competitive circuit.
According to The Hendon Mob, the online database that tracks poker tournament finishes, Piccolo has just three live cashes during his time living in Las Vegas.
His biggest take came in October when he won $1,843 in a $250 No Limit Hold’em event at The Venetian.
Dating back to 2011, Piccolo’s live tournament career earnings consist of seven cashes for a total win of $8,102.
He’s fared better online, he says, and primarily competes via internet rooms from his home in Las Vegas. He explains that he typically plays five or six hours a day, and is making a decent living.
Overcoming the Odds
The Spin & Go format adds an element of pure luck to the poker table. After three players are seated at the table, a random draw determines the pot multiplier.
Seven percent of the buy-in goes to rake, and the odds of the pot simply being doubled are the strongest at 72.92 percent. Piccolo’s table hit the 12,000-time multiplier at ridiculous odds. Just two in every one million games, or 0.0002 percent, land on the top multiplier.
And as unlikely as it was to win on 0.0002 percent odds, Piccolo didn’t seem to have much chance of winning the $100,000.
The third-place finisher bowed out relatively quickly, but that left Piccolo as a deep short stack against the remaining opponent. After gaining the majority of chips, Piccolo’s opponent took a big risk by shoving all-in with Q-7.
Piccolo called with K-7, and after 3-10-3-4-2 was dealt to the community, he was the champ.