Jesse Sylvia: November Nine Experience is “Absolutely Unreal”

Jesse Sylvia
Jesse Sylvia

The 2014 WSOP Main Event final table in November is fast approaching and Jesse Sylvia is one of the select players that knows exactly what that experience is like.

Sylvia was one of the popular players at the 2012 WSOP Main Event and ended up finishing second to Greg Merson to earn $5.2 million.

Since then Sylvia has represented 888poker around the globe while adding eight more cashes at the WSOP.

The Massachusetts native gave PokerListings his thoughts on the upcoming WSOP final table, which will award $10 million to the eventual winner.

PokerListings: Do you have a bit of advice to the upcoming members of the November Nine month out from final table?

Jesse Sylvia
Jesse Sylvia at the 2012 WSOP Main Event final table.

Jesse Sylvia: Probably to get all your T-shirts for your friends that are coming and your sponsorship gear ordered well ahead of time! [laughs] Because you don’t want to be worrying about things like that with a week left. That’s what happened with me.

PL: What about advice about small things people might think about, like the television production or media requirements on the day?

That’s a good point, little things could definitely trip you up like that. I didn’t realise there would be commercial breaks every 15 minutes.

I don’t think that really affected me at all, but the less things like that that surprises you the less chance you might be slightly out of your element and then make like the wrong call in a small spot.

You need to be as in your element as you can, because if you make even a big blind wrong call, that’s going to be thousands and thousands of dollars in equity. It’s pretty ridiculous.

In the 14th hour into our final table on Day 2, Jake limped the button. It was the first time he had limped the button. I thought he raised and I folded the big blind. I was talking to my friends later, I probably gave up $40,000 in equity by folding that big blind.

PL: Do you remember how you felt one month before your November Nine final table?

It was so cool.

The whole experience was just absolutely unreal. Leading up to it was just like a dream. You know those dreams where you're back in college and your friends are there, but they are friends who didn’t go to college with you?

It was like that, but it was final tables. I would be playing like what I thought were low stakes games then all of a sudden it was the final table with all these different people and I would be like, “What!”

I was just having really weird dreams. I just think that’s a good sign you are excited about something.

PL: What’s been the biggest challenge in the two years since your FT?

Jesse Sylvia
Jesse Sylvia

I think adjusting to how people play against me has been a big thing. Also kind of working out how to push myself f to play a lot. Because it's easy to be happy with a big score and relax.

Im not really happy with myself when im not progressing at something. So when im playing poker, but not putting a lot of time into progressing my game, then I feel really crappy. Just trying to push yourself after a big score is really hard. It’s easy too sit back and relax and just be proud of something.

PL: Have you maintained friendships with people you went through November Nine experience with?

Yeah, actually I’m really good friends with lots of the people I went through the November Nine with. I don’t know how the other November Niners are, but I’ve been told they aren’t as close as our are.

I already had Greg’s, Jeremy’s and Russell’s numbers in my phone before we made the final table, so I already knew those guys. Me and Russell lived together. So it was almost like we were destined to be at that final table. I definitely think we were lucky to have such an awesome group of people.

I think the only person I haven’t seen since the final table is Mike Esposito. I might have seen him once actually, but I really want to see that guy again, he was awesome.

PL: Is there a moment from the final table that still stands out as memorable two years on?

A cool moment is when we made the final three. Because going in, I knew in my mind, if I locked up final three and after I paid back my investors and taxes and everything, I would have enough money to live every comfortably and buy my mum a house.

That was a big goal I had my whole life. So when we got down to the final three I got to go into the stands and hug my mum and say, "You’re not going to have to pay rent anymore." That was really cool. That was probably the best moment I’ve ever had in my life.

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