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From Knee Deep to $1m Overnight: The Jack Hinchey Experience
If you’re not a professional – or maybe even then – poker tournaments are a lot about the people you meet.
You know, the ones they call “characters.”
On the first day of the main event, I met a man named Jack Hinchey who was having a cigarette outside the Double Tree Hotel.
He tells me he’s from Toronto, Canada, and that he’s won his ticket online at Titan Poker.
Some Are On the Record; Some Not
You wouldn’t think that someone took such a long trip for only one tournament, and you’d be right.
Hinchey’s going from the Irish Open to the 888poker Live Local event in Marbella, Spain, next week. Later in the month he'll also play the UKIPT Nottingham and some other tournaments.
He’s with his friend Rick, and the two have gone on trips together for the last 35 years. This one is going to be a seven-week journey.
“One time we set out from Vancouver in a car with six bucks in our pockets.
"Six weeks later we’d made it to the East Coast, 3000 miles away, only by playing pool.”
So you were pool hustlers, I ask? (And feel strangely reminded of Daniel Negreanu).
“Among other things," replies Rick indifferently. “Some of them are on the record, and others are not.”
As pool hustling is apparently on the record, I don’t inquire any further.
Spanish Castle, Largest Overlay Ever
It also turns out that Jack is the guy who won the World Poker Crown in 2008, a combined online-live event with the final table held in a Spanish castle.
That final table's particular claim to fame is for forking over one of the largest overlays ever in a poker tournament.
“They had 2,300 players and $1,000 buy-in but a $3m guaranteed prize pool," smiles Jack.
"That’s why you don’t hear about that tournament too much anymore.
“Basically, they screwed it up. They also wanted only the last eight to come to Spain for the final table but they ended up with the last 10.”
Such were the times in 2008. Money didn’t really matter.
“I won $1m at that tournament and that kept me going for a while, obviously.”
Knee Deep in the Shit, Literally
I asked him what he did before he went into poker.
“I was a pump mechanic. Three weeks before I won in Spain I was knee deep in the shit. Literally. And a couple of weeks after the event, I was back in it again.”
For how long? “Six months. I’m retired now.”
His family actually is from Ireland.
“My ancestors left Ireland during the 1840s or 1850s. My grandfather was called Flood and I had promised Liam to find out if we are maybe related.
"In fact, I still will do the research while I’m over here.”
Hinchey’s referring to Irish poker icon Liam Flood, of course, one of the very few who managed to win the Irish Open twice – in 1990 and 1996.
Flood passed away last year but he is still very present at the Irish Open. They even dedicated a side event to his memory.
Jack’s buddy Rick played the satellite to the Liam Flood Memorial but his aces got sucked out on by queens that made a flush.