James Akenhead might be getting all the attention in the UK right now, but the UK have enjoyed their best year ever at the World Series of Poker with 3 bracelets already in the bag. The young man that kicked that off was none other than John Paul Kelly, who won the $1500 Pot Limit Hold'em event for $194,434.
Pokernews: You are now back in the UK....has it sunk in yet?
JP Kelly: It was really weird actually, because I won the bracelet towards the start of the series, it now seems like a really long time ago. I've been following James Akenhead like everybody else has and that makes it seem like ages ago. I had a night out the day I won, then I collected the bracelet at the ceremony the next day and then I played again that same day.
PN: Did playing as a bracelet winner feel at all different at the tables?
JP Kelly: Not really, I had a deep run in a PLO event but other than that I didn't play that well after the win, I felt I was making really good decisions in the event I won but I didn't feel like that in the ones after it. I pushed things a bit too hard; I rushed things, towards the end it was like I was trying to just see out the end of the series. I should have had more time off, I shouldn't have played some of the events I did.
PN: Was the bracelet the be all and end all of your trip to Vegas before you went?
JP Kelly: I always felt I had a chance, if you are going to go out there you have to play with the expectation you can win. I decided this year to study my tournament game a lot more and when I got deep I felt like I had a big edge.
PN: All eyes are on James Akenhead right now, would you swap places with him? Give up your bracelet for a short stack at the main event final?
JP Kelly: It's funny, I wonder what he would say if you asked him the same question, I know how gutted he was to miss out on a bracelet last year in such a harsh way. It's a different sort of achievement, his is definitely more high profile, but I wouldn't swap with him. I remember being really excited when I got deep in the main event last year; I remember asking Jon Kalmar how it exciting it was to make the final table when I was in the last 300. But I am very proud of what I have achieved and James should be too.
PN: Pot Limit Hold'em is considered a British Game (Hence two bracelets in it for the UK this year) do you wish there were more games readily available in this format?
JP Kelly: Pot Limit Hold'em is fun for me because it doesn't get played all that much. I still like No Limit, there is so much drama in that game, but pot limit is a lot slower. A lot of players don't realise how different the two forms are, I'd like to see more pot limit events, but not all the time.
PN: You are a young man but you have been on the circuit a long time, do you still consider yourself one of the young guys?
JP Kelly: I still feel young, I still play mainly online and I don't play live that much in the UK, so I think I am still one of the young online kids. I will be playing a few more live events but I will keep a level head about things, online poker is convenient, live poker is expensive and time consuming. You can play for 2 days and still not cash in a live event, which is all time you could have been winning online. Plus I hate going anywhere for just one tournament, that's why I like Vegas, like this year, you really feel part of a group when you are out there with all the other Brits.
PN: You are well known for being a modest and humble guy on the circuit, how do you stay level headed with all this success?
JP Kelly: I have a big family and group of friends that keep me grounded, I am sure they are pretty bored of hearing about poker so we all very much treat it like we would any other job. They know that the bracelet was big, I explained to them the significance of it and they were very happy for me.
PN: So whats next for you, is bracelet 2 already in the sights?
JP Kelly: I certainly want to win something else, get a big pay day, I am already eyeing up bracelet number 2. Anyone can win one tournament but I want to prove to myself I can win another one.