Bright-Eyed, Bushy-Tailed, And Rich: James Mackey Wins Event 22, $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em

James Mackey
James Mackey wins Event 22, No-Limit Hold'em at the 2007 WSOP

With that cherubic face and strawberry red hair, James Mackey doesn't look like a killer. He doesn't even look 21.

But he is, and he is. After taking out opponent after opponent, Mackey took down the final table of Event 22, $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em. He cruised past 639 other entrants and won heads-up against Stuart Fox with ten-deuce. His payout? $730,740. This is the 21-year-old's first Michael Binger where it was three-handed, and I raised the blind with K-10. He re-raised to $370K, and I re-raised an additional $125K. He made it $375K, and then I shoved all-in, knowing that he was probably bluffing. And that really swung momentum and helped me establish a firm chip-lead.

The day started off a little slow. No one was making any big moves in the first hour - where did you think the day was going?

I picked up some pots early, so I was the chip leader from early on, so I was in pretty good shape. I was good.

James Mackey

Tell me about your winning hand - ten-deuce!

I hit the trips on the turn and river. He only had like $400,000 at a $30,000/$60,000 blind, so I just shoved all-in pre-flop.

That's a big move!

It was just a mathematical point. He didn't have many chips.

Alright, so you're a pretty young guy, what's your life like away from the poker table?

Nothing too special., I live with a couple of friends back home in Columbia [Missouri], and I play poker full-time. I just bought a house with a roommate of mine and he's also a really good poker player.

But you're ahead now, I guess.

I guess so!

Which players do you respect?

Patrick Antonius is pretty great. Phil Ivey's obviously really good. I don't really have any idols though.

What was it like playing in the box? There's a lot of controversy surrounding it. What's your take on it?

I'd rather play outside than in the box. I felt a little cramped, and there's only a little spot for spectators, so I didn't like it too much.

Were your friends in there with you?

Yeah. It was definitely nice having them in there to cheer me on.

What was the energy like at the table? You were the youngest one.

(Laughs.) I got some respect, but not too much. But I had hands in the key situations - I didn't get that much respect though. I think some people were playing a little scared, playing too tight. So I capitalized on that a little bit.

I'm an online player, but poker's poker. There are some differences between live and online play, like in tells and such, but still, it's just poker. I was pretty comfortable.

You were heads up with Stuart Fox. What kind of player do you sense him to be?

Tight. Really tight. He didn't play any hands the entire final table.

So you just kept pushing him?

Yup. I just kept pushing him all-in and eventually had to call. He had K-4, but he was so short he had to call.

James Mackey

So what are you going to do tonight to celebrate? You gotta do something.

I don't even know yet. My friends will think of something. I think they want to go see strippers or something.

Don't spend it all in one place! What are you gonna buy?

I think I'm gonna buy a corvette! And the rest, maybe spend it on poker, or maybe invest some of it.

Congratulations, enjoy your corvette.


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James Mackey thus joins the Jeff Madsens and MrSmoky1s of the poker world. He is now a part of the barely legal poker club, and this Internet wonder is no small potato.

Give him some respect at the poker table, cause he's a nice guy. Maybe he'll give you a ride home in his big bad corvette.

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