The saying may go that nice guys finish last, but John Thompson has completely dispelled that rumour by taking home first place and the title of 2018 Sydney Championships $5k Challenge Champion and $195,000 in prize money here in the Star Poker Room.
John is a regular in the Star Poker Room and is commonly referred to as 'Gentleman John' due to his friendly disposition, positive outlook on life and true gratitude for those around him. It is an unquestionable fact to say that not one member of the Star Poker Community will be unhappy to hear that John has won this prestigious title.
Winning this title was no small feat, with some of the best players in the country all saddling up to take part in the tournament, the final table itself was stacked with some of Australia's best poker talent including Andy Lee, who is a specialist in these large buy-in Sydney tournaments with over $1,000,000 in tournament prize money, Corey Kempson who has more than $2,000,000 in combined live and online tournament prize earnings and Matthew Wakeman, who many consider Australia's premier poker player with over $7,000,000 in combined live and online tournament winnings.
In fact, many people expected these three players to be the ones to fight this tournament out and at many times throughout the final table it looked like that might be the case, however, John Thompson managed to keep his calm and remain composed throughout the day ensuring he was there at the finish.
"I felt very relaxed through the whole tournament," Thompson told the Star Poker Live Reporting Team. "I felt calm and focussed on what I was doing. I also didn't feel tired, we have been playing a long time and I was surprised at how good I felt. I have been playing poker for many years, I guess all that experience pays off in the end."
Pay off it did, with Thompson going into heads-up play with a commanding chip lead, holding more than 3,000,000 of the 3,600,000 chips in play. The only thing that was possibly greater than Thompson's chip lead was the cheers coming from the family and friends who were on hand to support him. It seemed that several generations of the Thompson Clan were on board to support Gentleman John.
Amazingly, despite the final table being packed with internet whiz kids, it was another Star Poker Room regular, Zhi Hong Ma, who would be the last man standing to take on Thompson in heads-up play.
This added an extra nice touch for the two men, who after seeing each other daily in the Star Poker Room, have been firm friends for many years. It was a nice moment to see two local regs get the result here in one of the biggest tournaments of the year.
So it just goes to show that nice guys do finish first which perhaps we should all keep in mind when living our lives. Sure it is a good thing to do but more importantly, it might make us better poker players.