When Paul Newey started playing tournament poker, he didn’t dip his toe in the pool to test the water. No, the man who sold Ocean Finance for about £200 million in 2006 dove right in, flying to Las Vegas in 2012 to buy into the $1 Million Big One for One Drop.
“It was my first proper tournament,” Newey says, smiling. “It was a little bit silly to invest $1 million, but I wanted to be a piece of history. There was a charity element as well.”
Newey reached Day 2 of the Big One for One Drop, but was eliminated by the eventual champion, Antonio Esfandiari, when Esfandiari flopped a set of nines against Newey’s pocket aces. The money went in on the turn, but the Brit was unable to spike an ace on the river.
“I enjoyed it,” Newey says about the One Drop. “And I look to improve on that [finish] this year... It’s a totally different animal. I suppose that it’s a little bit easier than the super high rollers I play in. I do think that, with the buy-in being so big, some of the pros felt the pressure a little bit more.”
Ironically, here at the 2014 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, it was an unlucky ace that crippled him in the $100,000 Super High Roller. On Day 2, Newey was all in and at risk with the against the of Mike McDonald who had fewer chips than Newey, and the of Matt Glantz, who had more. The flop produced all low cards, but the spiked on the turn, giving McDonald the lead. The Canadian tripled up when the river bricked off, and Newey was left with 20 big blinds.
Had Newey’s kings held up, he would’ve ascended to second in chips behind only Vanessa Selbst. Instead, he was eliminated on the bubble, failing to cash in yet another big buy-in event.
“It’s a matter of time,” Newey says, determined hit a big score. “The luck will come my way. I’ve still got a lot to learn — a lot of these guys have more experience than me in tournaments.”
For Newey, it’s not about the money — it’s about the competition and the camaraderie. At festivals like the PCA, he gets to vacation with his friends and compete with some of the best players in the world.
“It’s the crowd, too,” Newey says. “They’re all a great bunch of people, and it’s good fun to see the same old faces at these things.”
Newey prefers cash games to tournament poker, but he also prefers playing £100/£200 to £1/£2. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to find a game that large, unless he’s in Macau or Las Vegas. Even on the tournament circuit, he says he rarely sees anything larger than $25/$50.
As for tournament poker, Newey is fully aware of his barren Hendon Mob page — it only features a single $4,400 cash in a side event at the 2013 PCA — but he is very pleased with the progress he is making.
“If you look at my results, it actually looks very poor, but in the last four high rollers I finished 12th, 12th, 12th, and ninth out of a field of 40 to 50 [players],” he says. “I think that’s pretty good considering how long I’ve been playing. I feel I am definitely making progress. I sincerely believe that it is a matter of time before I start creeping into some cash positions...Oh, and I knocked out Ryan Riess.”
Still, Newey really wanted to lock up a min-cash.
“I wanted to have a min-cash,” he says. “It would’ve been nice to increase [my earnings] by 55 times, but it wasn’t destined to happen.”
Completely self-taught, Newey will have plenty of opportunities to add to his poker résumé in 2014. After the PCA, he plans to play in the Aussie Millions, PokerStars and Monte-Carlo® Casino EPT Grand Final, and the World Series of Poker.
“I’m hoping to get to the WSOP for the whole six weeks,” says Newey, who skipped most of the 2013 WSOP because his daughter celebrated her 18th birthday on July 4.