Charles Johnson Jr. landed a bracelet and the biggest payday of his poker career when he took down the WSOP Circuit Cherokee Main Event for $272,744 at the weekend, telling reporters afterwards:
“We’re here, man! It’s really a dream!”
The Atlanta contact center manager has only been playing the game for 4 years and reacted to his victory by saying:
“There are a lot of people who’ve been doing this for a lot longer than I have and have never been here. I feel blessed. Like… just blessed.”
The 37-year old sat down on Friday along with 956 other entries to the $1675 flagship event at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino in North Carolina, all with a hopeful eye on the money after the $1million guarantee was boosted almost 50% - a whopping $1,435,000 in the kitty as the player numbers rose.
To find a ‘non-USA’ player among the best part of a thousand poker players was a struggle, but Germany was represented - $6million man Marvin Rettenmaier among them, although his min cash was likely a disappointment for the pro who took down the 2012 WPT Championship for his career best score of $1,196,858.
Around the same time, Charles Johnson Jr was just learning the ropes of the game, admitting:
“Four years ago, I didn’t know what a big blind was. A year ago, I didn’t know what a three-bet was. I had no clue. I had to go and read, study, and all that good stuff. We all gotta come from somewhere.”
From nowhere to somewhere is the dream of many a player, but Johnson told WSOP reporters that he had no plans to change his approach to life or the game of poker.
“I’m going back to work,” said Johnson and added: “I may not be there tomorrow, but I’ll be there this week. I’ve seen a lot of people win a lot of money, and the next thing you know, they’re broke. I’m not trying to do that. I’m not going to do anything stupid."
Having previously run up big stacks and then blown them off, Johnson was determined not to repeat his earlier mistakes.
“I went to Tampa. I was the chip leader late in Day 2. Dumped off my chips. Went to Jacksonville. Ran it up, dumped off my chips. You see the pattern here?”
The Cherokee Main Event would be different however, with Johnson battling all the way to heads-up against James Moon, the fight lasting 50-plus hands until the bracelet’s destination was finally decided…
An all-in preflop saw Moon table 9♠ 9♥ facing Johnson’s J♠ 10♦.
A flop of…
Q♣ 8♠ 5♥
...gave Johnson a gutshot draw but the…
...turn left Moon still ahead. The river…
…however, brought Moon his trips but filled Johnson’s straight and the bracelet was making its way to Atlanta, a well-deserved victory for a man who loves his poker.
Final table results: