Jonathan Odogwu: Most Dangerous Man at EPT Grand Final?

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He’s erratic, talkative and has tricks up his sleeve that can put a scare into any regular, button-clicking poker expert.

He's also on the ultimate freeroll.

And that makes him the exact kind of player that makes major poker tournaments like the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo® Casino EPT Grand Final Main Event so unpredictable - and so much fun.

Refreshing Asset to EPT

London's Jonathan Odogwu might be new to a European Poker Tour main event but he is definitely an asset.

In a time when some tables at a major poker event look and feel like an assembly of sunglasses-wearing monks at a funeral, it's very refreshing to meet someone like Odogwu.

He is entertaining his table continuously with comments and anecdotes, and he does it in a way that nobody (or almost nobody) can get mad at him.

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Just the right guy to liven up your table.

PokerListings Live Tournament reporter Dirk Oetzmann spoke with him quickly during a break, and as he found him on crutches the first question is obvious.

“I hurt my Achilles playing badminton," he says lightly. “I trained that and (did some) swimming for the EPT.”

How is badminton and swimming an EPT preparation?

“Because I’m a swimmer and badminton player,” Odogwu says matter of factly.

"I Can Call With a Lot of Hands"

Odogwu makes moves at the table that you probably won’t find in Super/System. On Day 1B, some player whom he had easily covered went all-in on him.

Before checking his cards he announced he would call “if one card is higher than a deuce."

He found K-J against his opponent's J-J, hit a king on the turn and sent him packing.

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"The gentleman in the number 4 seat had one lovely cigar, and when I pointed that out, he gave me one."

“I just wanted to make a statement that I can call with a lot of hands," he told us on Day 2. “Of course, I wouldn’t have called with something like A-2.”

Odogwu’s father was a diplomat from Nigeria, but he grew up in London. “I am a cockney," he says with a big smile.

Next to his stack he sports a cigar and a card protector with the number “50” on it. What do they mean?

“Well, the gentleman in the number 4 seat had one lovely cigar, and when I pointed that out, he gave me one. I’m gonna smoke it when I have more time.

£1/£1 Reg on the Freeroll of a Lifetime

"The card protector was given out at the 50th birthday of the Vic," Odogwu continued, "where I usually play at the £1/£1 tables.

"By the way, I was playing the day Vicky Coren won in San Remo. She called in and ordered free champagne for everyone in the casino. I was behind at the time and then I won my money back, so Vicky brings me luck.”

How does a low stakes player get into the EPT Grand Final? “Tell you what, I came in for the bare minimum. You know what that is?”


“Exactly. I won the online steps freeroll against roughly 15,000 players on PokerStars. There are only a couple of hundred here, so it must be easier to win here, right?” And there is that smile again.

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Soon-to-be EPT regular?

Is he not intimidated by the line-ups at the tables here?

“Actually, €10,000 is a lot of money. I can’t even tell my misses about my £50 pound downswings, so I guess she would have preferred me to spend the money in a different way.

"But I’m here now, so I’m playing to win. You can’t win if you are intimidated.”

So, will we see Odogwu become a regular at EPT events?

“I want to be," he says. “And if I win here, I will be in Barcelona. If not, I probably won’t.”

Follow Odogwu's progress and all the Day 2 action live streaming from the floor in Monte Carlo right here on PokerListings.

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