The vast majority of online poker players dream of winning the PokerStars Sunday Million and its often near $200,000 first place prize. But the nature of the beast means those players will be dreaming for the rest of their careers, but not Christopher Johnson because he is living the dream having won the Sunday Million in June 2014.
Johnson, playing under the alias "MAKKAPAKK," a screen name chosen because of his daughter's love for the children's television series In The Night Garden, navigated his way through a 6,296-player field to get his hands on a career-best cash haul of $191,528.46.
"It was certainly a big buzz to win such a prestigious tournament as the Sunday Million," said Johnson, before adding, "The money wasn't bad, too!"
The all-important money. People will tell you that they play poker for the challenge, which may be true in Johnson's case, but he's definitely in it for the money. With a wife, two children and another on the way, the money side of things is important to Johnson, so the boost he received from his superb win will come in handy.
"There is less pressure on my bankroll now, but for me as a family man, with a wife, two kids and another on the way, the Sunday Million wins gives us more financial security and enables us to move forward in life."
Johnson balances being a father and a husband along with being a professional poker player well, playing around four-or-five nights per week, starting his sessions around 5:00pm and playing between 30 and 55 multi-table tournaments (MTTs) per night.
"A typical day sees me register regular speed MTTs until 9:00p.m. and I'll keep registering for turbo-structured tournaments until around 12:30a.m. depending on how the other MTTs are going.
Since his huge win, Johnson has been on a tear online and seems to be reaching final tables with ease. Is his recent sparking run of form down to variance or does playing with financial freedom and self-confidence help?
"Of course I have been running well, but when you run well you also seem to play better. You make better decisions in key spots."
He is making better decisions, if his list of scores on his PocketFives.com profile page are anything to go by. Some of the highlights since Johnson's Sunday Million victory include:
- Third place in the PokerStars $215 NL Hold'em Turbo for $3,696
- Second in the PokerStars Big $162 for $12,577
- First in the Titan Poker €12,500 GTD Rebuy for $4,238
- Third in the PokerStars $55 NL Hold'em Rebuy for $2,920
- Second in the PokerStars $109 NL Hold'em Turbo for $5,563
- Third in the Full Tilt Poker Friday Night Fight for $2,488
His remarkable run of form has resulted in Johnson climbing to third in the United Kingdom rankings and 21st in the worldwide standings, something he won't have even been able to imagine when he started playing low stakes sit-and-go tournaments eight years ago.
With over $2 million in online winnings, it is surprising not to see Johnson's name splashed all over the various live poker tournaments across the UK and Europe, although that may be set to change in the coming months as he steps into the European Poker Tour arena.
"I do play live, but with a family online is much more practical and live can mean a lot of travelling expenses and time away from home with little or no reward. I also prefer the speed of play online, but that said, I am looking to play some European Poker Tour events in the near future, probably starting with London."
If Johnson does venture out to the EPT London festival he is sure to bump into some of the players who he thinks highly of. When asked who he thought the top five tournament players in the UK are right now, Johsnon said "there are loads of good UK tournament players , but if I were to mix live poker with online I would have to say Chris Moorman, Rick Trigg, Sam Trickett, Toby Lewis and Charlie Combes.
PokerNews will be at EPT London, let's hope we see Christopher "MAKKAPAKK" Johnson there splashing around in pots!