Nick Marchington had a few years of playing poker online under his belt before he turned 21 and got the chance to travel from England to play in the World Series of Poker for the first time. Before he hopped into the $10,000 Main Event, he had some on-the-job training for live poker, learning and improving as he went until he was good and ready for the big one.
His only live tournament cash came last month in the $800 8-Handed Deepstack, where he finished in 19th place for $12,415 — not a big score by any stretch, but a nice boost going into the Main Event. Now, he has a chance to become the youngest Main Event champ ever, as he would be a few months younger than Joe Cada was when he won it in 2009 in the delayed final table setup.
Running so deep in his first shot in the Main Event is a dream come true for Marchington, who has been playing poker professionally for just a year.
"I wish I could say that I worked hard for the chips, but they just sort of came to me."
"It's amazing. It feels like I've been playing the Main Event for about a month," Marchington said during a break on Day 7. "I'm loving it - so exciting."
As an online no-limit hold'em cash player who has only recently been getting into tournaments, Marchington may not have the live poker experience that many of his opponents do, but he didn't let that stop him from heading to Vegas to give it a go.
His learning on the job approach seems to be working well for Marchington, who has been honing his live poker skills for the past six weeks, getting comfortable just in time for the most important tournament of his young poker career. He admitted his first WSOP wasn't going as he had hoped, that is, until the Main Event.
"I think I definitely underestimated how important the live aspect of the game is," Marchington said. "Especially for the first couple weeks I was here, I think I played pretty bad - against the player types and not adjusting enough to the live aspect and maybe having some tells, but I think I've been kind of learning on the job...I think I'm a much better player now than I was at the start - still have a lot to improve on though."
"I think I'm a much better player now than I was at the start - still have a lot to improve on though."
Marchington has had a rather smooth Main Event trajectory, bagging a healthy stack at the end of every day through Day 6, when he bagged the chip lead with 35 players left. After coming into that day with the sixth largest stack with 10,835,000 Marchington had a bit of a rollercoaster of a day that ended quite well for the 21-year-old.
"The first level was pretty rough. I was down to about 4 million at one point. And then in the last three hours of the night, I just went on an incredible run. I wish I could say that I worked hard for the chips, but they just sort of came to me." He continued: "I tried to be aggressive when I could and tried to make some tough laydowns when I thought it was right to, and the other chips just came my way, which is always nice."
How He Got Here
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What to Watch For
Playing in his first Main Event across the pond, the young online player has had the full support of his family and friends at home who have been following along since the beginning.
"The reaction has been insane," said Marchington. "When I got in the money and deeper in the money, they were really really happy for me and sending me loads of messages."
"If I bust in 27th, then so be it but I'm gonna go for it for sure."
With Marchington bagging the Day 6 chip lead, he had his mom apply for the travel Visa so he can book her on a flight over to watch if he makes the final table.
Despite his lack of live experience, Marchington has been making the most of his once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and playing for the win.
"It would mean everything; it would be amazing to win, but I'm just taking every hand as it comes. If I bust in 27th, then so be it but I'm gonna go for it for sure."
Marchington did not bust in 27th, and continues to march on toward the final table of the WSOP Main Event.