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Canuck wins WSOP seat at Full Tilt
Jeff Cuthbertson makes his living on the golf green, but his hobby will see him head to the green of the poker table felt to take on some of the world's best poker players this summer at the World Series of Poker.
Cuthbertson, a head golf professional and general manager at a golf club in Morinville, Alberta, won his seat in the 2008 Main Event online through an exclusive freeroll for PokerListings.com players at Full Tilt Poker.
After signing up at Full Tilt Poker through PokerListings.com, all it took for Cuthbertson to qualify for the freeroll was to earn 300 player points during the qualification period before the freeroll.
That wasn't too difficult a feat for Cuthbertson, who said he plays three to five days a week online during the winter months.
"I rarely play in the summer due to the hours required for my job, [and] for the most part, I'm just a recreational player," Cuthbertson said.
Still, the 35-year-old checks in at Full Tilt Poker almost daily, whether he actually plays a hand or not. He likes to head to the site to see what's going on, read the pro tips and watch the pros play online.
"I love the Full Tilt site," he said. "The graphics are great and the action is fantastic. You can always find a game no matter what your limits are."
He also heads to PokerListings.com almost daily to read the blogs and advice as well as to take a look at the Question of the Day.
"It has been very helpful," Cuthbertson said. "I love to read the tips from the different pros as well as read the forum for the discussions on poker."
All the reading up on strategy paid off for Cuthbertson as he took on the 110-person playing field in the Full Tilt Poker WSOP freeroll Sunday.
"The tables I played at, for the most part, seemed like fairly good players," Cuthbertson said of the freeroll playing field. "There were very few times that any one player really went crazy."
The playing field got tougher as play got down to the top 20. Cuthbertson commented that players were well aware of what was at stake at that point. But when play got down to the final table, things sped up.
"It seemed like the first five players to be knocked out of the final table went quickly," he said. "Four-handed, things went back and forth for about 40 to 45 minutes before two players were eliminated and heads-up began."
That's when Cuthbertson, who plays under the name jcmd at Full Tilt Poker, took on Tilt Bluffer for the top prize. Cuthbertson had a small chip lead starting out the heads-up matchup, but it still only took two hands to eliminate Tilt Bluffer.
On the final hand, Cuthbertson was in the small blind with pocket queens and made a minimum raise to make it look like he was trying to steal with a weak hand. Tilt Bluffer re-raised all-in for his remaining $68,000 in chips.
"I made a fairly quick call," Cuthbertson said. "He had Q-T suited. The flop left Tilt Bluffer no flush possibilities, but a three-card straight."
The turn gave Tilt Bluffer a gut-shot straight possibility, drawing to four outs, according to Cuthbertson. But the river blanked, allowing Cuthbertson's pocket queens to hold up.
"It actually left me stunned when we both turned our cards over," Cuthbertson said. "I'm still trying to believe that it happened."
Not only was this his biggest win ever, live or online, Cuthbertson said winning a seat for the World Series of Poker Main Event is like a dream come true. His closest contact with the event so far has been to watch the coverage online and on TV.
"I have always said that someday I will play in the Main Event but never expected it to happen like this," Cuthbertson said. "I am already trying to figure out how to arrange my schedule to take the days off from work."
In the Main Event, Cuthbertson could end up facing some of the game's top pros and legends, something he's very much looking forward to. He said he would be excited to go up against Doyle Brunson just because of who he is and what he has meant to the game of poker.
"I'm also a big fan of Daniel Negreanu and Phil Ivey," Cuthbertson said. "I figure if they bust me at the tables, maybe I can get them out on the golf course. I also hope to see Phil Hellmuth explode in a rant. That would make for a great trip!"
Cuthbertson said he isn't all that nervous about taking on the championship event, however, just excited at the opportunity.
"After all, I'm getting to play for free," he said. "Can it get any better than that? I guess only if I cash."
Of course, winning the event would be even better. The Main Event has made millionaires and now multimillionaires of its winners for years, with the biggest first-place prize going to Jamie Gold when he won $12 million for his 2006 win.
If he won, Cuthbertson said he would first thank PokerListings.com and Full Tilt Poker. But a win would not necessarily send him into a professional poker career.
"That kind of money would allow me to take a chance at playing tour golf for a living," he said. "It would be fun to know that all the bills are paid while trying to work my way up to one of the big tours. Also, the doors that this would open in the poker world would be fun to explore as well. I think almost everyone who takes the game serious[ly] wonders what it would be like to be a professional poker player."
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