Remember the time Charlie Carrel took down the 2017 WCOOP Main Event playing from a cafe? Well Richard “Girlyjack” Preston might have one-upped him.
Preston took down his Spring Championship of Online Poker title — Event #30-L: $11 Sunday Kickoff for $11,760 by outlasting a massive 14,345 players — on Sunday, whilst also playing at a cafe.
His own cafe. And he won it whilst working a shift.
Preston lives in Bridlington, home of 2017 World Series of Poker breakout star John Hesp (who Preston knows personally), on the UK’s Yorkshire coast, where he runs Richie’s Cafe-Bar on the South Beach. We caught up with the SCOOP champion to find out how his title came to be, how he juggles life between work and poker, and more.
PokerStars Blog: Congratulations on your SCOOP victory Richard. How does it feel to win a SCOOP title?
Richard Preston: Pretty amazing to be fair. I played Day 1 at home but my wife and I own and run Richie’s Cafe-Bar on Bridlington’s South Beach and I was covering at work, so I had to play Day 2 on a tablet whilst sat at the bar. There was a lot of interest with people wishing me well whilst they received updates as the game went on.
It sounds like an exciting run. The field was enormous. At what point did you start to think you were in a with a good shot?
I started to do well in the latter part of Day 1 but I was in two games. I came ninth in the $44 Bounty Builder that night, so I was concentrating on both games and not on where I was in the grand scheme of things. At the end of Day 1 I was 20th of 48 and I was fairly confident of a final table finish at that stage.
Day 2 started but I had been at work in the kitchen until five mins before so I hadn’t even got settled and lost 1M in chips, but I was fine once I started to feel comfortable. I hit the final table second bottom in chips I think, but soon ran 10M up to 40M with running hands that hit or held up. I knocked a couple of people out and found myself in the chip lead with 80M while “SV(nmgn)EV” had 79M.
I raised with pocket aces and was re-raised by SV. My instant thought was: “Please have pocket kings!” and I threw it all in. He tanked a bit and I started to question my play. It’s only really going to work if he has pocket kings or pocket queens, and then he called with pocket kings. The second card was a king and the third card was an ace. It didn’t give me time for a heart-stopping moment. I was the chip leader with four left and I had nearly two-thirds of the chips in play. Needless to say, I was a little bit confident after that.
Are there any other key hands that you remember on your way to the win?
I was supremely lucky towards the end of Day 1 when I called an all in with pocket tens and they flipped over pocket queens. I’m not sure where the ten hit the board, but destiny supplied it!
Is this the biggest win of your poker career? If not, what was?
My biggest win was $15,000 when I came fifth in the Sunday Warm-Up two years ago. I’ve had several wins over $5,000 but because I’m still a Cafe-Bar proprietor I’ve not had the time to pursue poker as a career. I would love to head off to Vegas with John Hesp and co from Bridlington for the WSOP Main Event, but it’s a long way to go for it not to go well and I would still have to be in touch with everyone at work to make sure that all is well there too. It’s a busy time of the year for us.
What does this win mean for you going forward?
I play all kinds of events online, but I’m always squeezing them in with work. Walking away from the computer at 7am and getting ready for work for 8am isn’t helpful to either venture. I generally play up to $215 event online but will play larger ones live.
How did you discover poker?
When I was younger, my friends and I used to play cards, Gin Rummy, 3 Card Brag, Blackjack and straight poker. When poker started being shown on the TV it perked up my interest. I had been reading about online poker but I hadn’t given much thought to it. It was before the Moneymaker effect when I first started dipping my toe in online poker.
It took about two months to get my first win. It was a £2 MTT and probably paid £200. A month or two later I won my first £1,000, and then I won a few £50 tournaments for £3,000. I then started to look at PokerStars. I prefer MTTs to STTs and the PokerStars games looked awesome. My first big win on Stars was in the $11 rebuy about ten years ago. I think I won $11,000 or thereabouts. I was now a PokerStars player.
Do you think you would ever make the leap to becoming a poker professional?
I would love to take this up professionally and I am placing more responsibility on my staff now to help me achieve this. We employ a lot of people so any decision must be the right decision for everyone.
I live in Bridlington with my wife Jackie (she plays poker too), and my Daughter Bryoni lives just outside Pontefract. She is getting married in two weeks and they have a son, my Grandson, who is one year old in October. I’m in the middle of a very proud 12 months as I turn 50 this year.
Up to 2019 I have generally worked 12-16 hour days, seven days a week for eight months of the year, and have done so for the past 20 years. I am currently trying to step back from these hours, easing myself away from the day-to-day running of the business and letting others take control for me.
What do you like to do outside of work at the cafe and poker?
We have a house in Tenerife and when we want to relax and get away from everything this is where we run to.
As for today, I’ve opted for the late shift. It’s Bank Holiday Weekend coming up and I have my other job to do.
Best wishes from Bridlington’s South Beach. Be lucky everyone!
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