Jordan Westmorland has a pretty good life. You might even go so far as to describe him as a walking embodiment of the opportunities available for young people who happen to be good at poker.
Although he was forced to leave his native United States in the months after Black Friday, Westmorland took the misfortune as a chance to travel the world, washing up in whichever country he felt like for a few months, playing poker and then moving on. He made his home in Phucket, Thailand, for a couple of years, and now his permanent base is on the Gold Coast in Australia, which is every bit as golden as it sounds.
I first encountered Westmorland in Macau in June 2012, where he was playing the Macau Poker Cup: Red Dragon event at the PokerStars Live card-room. He wore a basketball jersey and flip-flops most of the week, played with a style as relaxed as his outfit and eased his way to the final table.
The wise-cracking Danny McDonagh took particular delight in giving Westmorland the occasional rub-down over the tournament-room microphone. Westmorland chuckled along and took his $20,000 for seventh (he got a bit of a shocking cooler at the final, if I recall correctly), which went back into building the bankroll.
Since then, we’ve crossed paths at the PCA and back in Macau, and Westmorland has been on a final tables at the ANZPT Snowfest stop in New Zealand, and an ACOP event in Taipei. He cheered his friend Joel Micka, also a Red Dragon winner, to second place in the Main Event on Paradise Island, and has also won the Super Tuesday in September for himself. (Westmorland goes by JWPRODIGY online.)
Until this week, he had not, however, ever visited the EPT, despite a repeated invitation whenever we met. Having honed his live game among the notoriously loosey-goosey Asian players, I always felt Westmorland would do well in either Sanremo or Deauville, where the reputation of the locals is something similar.
I was delighted, therefore, to see he finally accepted the invitation this week and came to Italy. And as he peered down over about 450,000 chips this afternoon, Westmorland agreed that the trip had been worth it.
“We had a long journey, but it’s been fun so far,” he said.
Sitting at the Sanremo tables has offered Westmorland the chance to take a much closer examination of the locals’ playing style than we can ever manage from the rail. “They’re more aggressive pre-flop here,” Westmorland said. “And they never fold post (flop). You can get into their heads more. Asian players are just way more random — they’re crazy — and you can’t always know what’s going on.”
As the field thins, it is getting tougher and Westmorland is today sitting next to the British player Tom Alner (who has also won a Red Dragon tournament in Macau) and Raul Mestre, the Spanish shark. It at least gives Westmorland someone to talk to, even if he would maybe have preferred some easier targets.
Westmorland is one of the game’s natural talkers, and remains good friends with two players he met at the ANZPT in New Zealand that time: the eventual champion Dave Allan and Matt Wakeman, who finished seventh. (Westmorland came third.) Indeed, it’s the fault of Allan and Wakeman that Westmorland won’t be able to extend this visit to the EPT for the Grand Final in Monaco next week. They are each getting married on consecutive Saturdays back in Oz.
Westmorland is a required presence for his friends’ big days, and with €476,100 available for the winner here, and JWPRODIGY looking calm, confident and well-chipped, the wedding parties should be ones to remember–and the gifts enormous.
Full coverage of EPT Sanremo is on the main EPT Sanremo page. There’s hand-by-hand coverage in the panel at the top and feature pieces below.