Justin Young

The American’s real interest in poker actually developed pre-Moneymaker boom.

For Boulder-born Justin Young, strategy games were effectively in his blood. One of the highlights of his childhood that began at the early age of four was the weekly night of games enjoyed amongst the family – whether it be chess, backgammon, or hearts, Justin was raised to think strategically. By the age of eight, he knew the hand rankings in poker as he took an interest in his dad’s hobby where he’d go and play poker regularly at a local game.

The American’s real interest in poker actually developed pre-Moneymaker boom, as he explained in an interview back in 2011:

‘When Robert Varkonyi won the WSOP Main Event in 2002, I watched that final table over and over again. I was enthralled by how much money was at stake and it inspired me to play more. At the time, I was a cocky 21 year-old and I thought to myself, “I’m better than these guys!”.’

Inspired to prove it, he made a small deposit to PartyPoker and quickly multiplied his bankroll dozens of times over. Graduating from college this same year in 2002 and working briefly as a mechanical engineer, Justin’s side career in online poker was continuing to grow – he was soon playing $25 / $50 online which was the highest stakes going at the time and he would find himself jumping up whenever new tables opened. It wasn’t much longer before Justin decided to commit himself full-time to poker.

Although his roots were in cash games, Young understandably caught the tournament bug after he won the first live one that he ever played – a $1,000 NLH weekly tournament at Bellagio that bagged him $45,396. Since then, Justin has accumulated more than $4,700,000 playing live tournaments consistently against some of the biggest names in the game.

His most significant win came recently at the $3,500 No Limit Hold’em WPT Showdown Championship at the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood. Young earned $669,161 after outlasting over 1,000 other players in a field that was lined with talent including German crushers Rainer Kempe and Marvin Rettenmaier.

This wasn’t Justin’s first WPT win, nor was it his first time beating world-class opponents. Back in 2010, he took down the Doyle Brunsion Five Diamond World Poker Classic $5,000 NLH event in Las Vegas in a ridiculously tough final table featuring Justin Bonomo, Scott Seiver and Cliff Josephy.

In fact, Young has been dominating the WPT circuit for almost a decade. His largest tournament score to date came back in 2008 when he finished runner-up at the $15,000 NLH event at the Doyle Brunson Classic for a huge $936,760 – narrowly missing out on the seven-figure payday enjoyed by the winner David Rheem.

With Justin’s recent positive cashes showing that he’s still able to stay relevant as poker strategy evolves, the American’s earnings across tournaments and cash games are likely to exceed $6,000,000.

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