Longtime poker standout John Monnette gained the World Series of Poker $10,000 restrict maintain’em championship in early October. It was the California native’s fourth profession bracelet and his seventeenth final-table look on the sequence general.
But this win felt completely different for the 39-year-old high-stakes professional. It was the primary time he gained one of poker’s most prestigious titles as a father. And in contrast to his first three WSOP victories, this one was extra of a crew effort.
Monnette topped the 92-entry discipline for $245,680 and defeated FiveThirtyEight founder Nate Silver heads-up to safe the title. As quickly as the ultimate card hit the felt, and the bracelet was formally his, Monnette was met with a heat embrace from his spouse Diana, who he credited with being an enormous half of his milestone victory.
“I told her that I couldn’t have done this without her,” mentioned Monnette. “She knew what I needed. She’s been so supportive and then even gave more when I asked it of her. I can’t thank her enough for that.”
Diana is not any stranger to the poker world herself and is well-suited to dwelling the poker life. The Oregon native spent years working in poker media, together with for the Card Player Poker Tour, and presently acts because the social media supervisor for PokerGO.
The two have been married for 5 years, however this was the primary WSOP Monnette competed in as a father. And with the COVID-induced layoff of greater than two years, he turned a father to not one, however two youngsters. His daughter, Willa, was born just some months after the 2019 sequence concluded, and his son, Jay, entered the world earlier this 12 months.
The shutdowns centered across the virus in 2020 precipitated many poker gamers rather a lot of ache, however Monnette discovered himself in a state of affairs the place he may take benefit of the time away from the felt and spend time along with his new household.
“I’ve been very fortunate to be in the spot that I’m in to take time off work during COVID and just basically stay at home,” he mentioned. “At first my daughter, and then eventually both of my kids.”
The blended video games crusher discovered himself taking over a brand new function. Instead of specializing in making essentially the most optimum determination in a nosebleed-stakes money sport in Bobby’s Room on the Bellagio, he was ensuring that mouths had been fed, and diapers had been modified.
“I needed to be a dad and a husband, and that’s what I did for most of COVID. And it was awesome,” Monnette admitted. “Spending time with Willa in the beginning of shutdown was really fun. She was just learning to crawl and eat and all that stuff. We would just go to the park, and it was amazing… It was good in a way because it was time that I got to spend with my daughter that I wouldn’t have had if I was focusing more on my career.”
Aside from his household tasks, Monnette used the down time to work on himself as nicely. He started exercising extra typically, consuming more healthy, and getting by means of some books he wished to learn for a while, all in an effort to additional shed his “angry” nickname.
It’s not a moniker that Monnette notably enjoys, however one which caught after spending his early years on the tables incomes a status for a salty perspective. But as Daniel Negreanu identified on his vlog, if John was offended, it was normally for a great cause.
“[Not to sound] cliché, but I didn’t want to be so angry,” he mentioned. “I just wanted to be calmer in life and realize that things that used to upset me so much like a stupid mistake by a dealer or a bad play or whatever… I was just really trying to not let that stuff bother me because I’m at home trying to be a dad and I can’t be like that around the kids. I have to be better. They deserve better than that.”
Eventually, the world began to return to some semblance of normalcy. Poker rooms in Las Vegas began reopening and Monnette wanted to start out clocking into work once more.
“Once I got vaccinated, I started to play a little bit back at Bellagio,” mentioned Monnette. “We were playing some mix and it was a little smaller than I normally played, but it was a good limit with a good group of guys that I like to play with. I wasn’t playing my best. I was definitely tired, and it was hard for me to adjust.”
Monnette’s newfound duties as a father didn’t precisely mesh with the life-style of a high-stakes poker professional. Or not less than the sleep schedule didn’t.
“I was used to waking up with my son at like 5:30 or 6:00 in the morning, which for a poker player isn’t normal,” mentioned Monnette. “I would get to the Bellagio at 2 p.m. to start the game and then by 9 p.m., I would just be exhausted. I was used to going to bed at 10 p.m. So, I would play late, get stuck, and it was just hard adjusting back to those hours. Even my brain wasn’t functioning as it should be because I had real responsibilities. Before, I would be at the poker table and would just be super focused because that’s what I was there to do. Now, I’ve got a million other things on my mind.”
With the high-stakes motion that comes with the WSOP, he knew that enjoying with that degree of attentiveness would come at a heavy price.
The total poker world has public information of the event motion, however what doesn’t normally get reported are the money video games that get away alongside them. For Monnette, who has been a daily in Bobby’s Room at Bellagio for greater than a decade, these video games are sometimes price far more than any event he may win.
“Before the pandemic, we were playing $2,000-$4,000 limit,” he mentioned. “And in the big bet no-limit games, we had a $40,000 cap. There were times when certain players would come to town, we would play $2,500-$5,000 or $3,000-$6,000 with a $150,000 cap and that game played really big.”
Monnette earned practically $250,000 for his fourth bracelet. Despite greater than $3 million in stay event earnings, his career-best event rating stays simply shy of $280,000. If the correct guys had been on the town, the income of a single win may very well be erased simply from shedding two arms throughout a big-bet spherical at Bellagio.
“There are times where first prize can’t even get me unstuck from the night before,” admitted Monnette. “But it’s also just like a challenge to me. I just tell myself that I’m going to play good poker no matter what the situation.”
At least when it’s a event that has a five-figure buy-in, the stakes will be considerably akin to what Monnette may win in some of the smaller money video games he would frequent. But with event buy-ins various so drastically all through the sequence, generally Monnette will discover himself concerned in an occasion the place the buy-in wouldn’t even cowl a small guess in his regular sport.
“A couple years ago I busted the $50,000 Poker Players Championship and I was really disappointed,” mentioned Monnette. “There was a tournament running that afternoon and I jumped in it. A $1,000 no-limit hold’em. I played the best I could and ended up getting fifth. I definitely had an opportunity to win it, too. I got it in good five-handed for most of the chips and if I won the pot, I would’ve been a favorite to win. But I got fifth, and it was for $47,000. It didn’t even cover the buy-in from the previous tournament. But I didn’t care. I just went in there to do my best.”
It’s an perspective that has served him nicely on the WSOP, which makes up practically 85 p.c of his lifetime event earnings.
With a lot on the road, John and Diana labored out a schedule that might work for the whole household.
“She was supportive of that,” he mentioned. “Her mom came to town to help out with the kids and Diana really stepped up. She’s taking care of the kids, working, doing everything, and she wasn’t putting any pressure on me. I’m not waking up as early, I’m sleeping well, and I’ve been really focused on playing. I immediately felt different in my play and my mentality.”
While Diana was selecting up some additional slack, John didn’t fully relieve himself of fatherly tasks. In reality, he determined to carry off on registering for the restrict maintain’em championship till he spent some high quality time along with his household.
Monnette was “frustrated” after effervescent a pair of tournaments and determined to fly out to Los Angeles to observe the Dodgers Wild Card sport with just a few shut buddies from again house. He flew again house the subsequent day, which was additionally the primary day of the event.
“I got back to town, and I could’ve went straight to the Rio to play,” mentioned Monnette. “But I didn’t want to. I went home, hung out with my family, and took my daughter to the park.”
He traded the primary 10 ranges of the occasion for high quality time along with his household and registered as late as potential.
“We had dinner as a family and I put the kids to sleep,” he mentioned. “It was just a normal day and it felt good. And then I registered the tournament. To win after that was pretty cool because [it confirmed to me] that it was a good decision. The best decision was to take the day off and relax a little bit and spend time with my kids. Even though I registered late and came in short [stacked], I played well and had a couple hands go my way. Pretty soon, I was in the money, then at the final table, and then it happened.”
The closing desk was streamed on PokerGO and the additional relaxation allowed Monnette to point out off his abilities in entrance of the digicam. It was the primary of his 4 bracelets that his family and friends had been in a position to watch stay from house. Monnette admitted that there was probably additional social media buzz across the occasion as a result of he defeated Silver, a famous political analyst, heads-up, however nonetheless actually loved what’s a novel expertise for blended sport gamers.
“It was cool for my friends and family to watch me play,” he mentioned. “And the announcers were very complimentary about my play. I never really cared about that stuff, but after winning one on PokerGO, it was cool to have my friends tell me that it was ‘the best sporting event they watched all year.’ They were sitting at home streaming it on their big screen.”
With his most up-to-date bracelet in restrict maintain’em, Monnette now has a bracelet in 4 completely different poker disciplines. He scored his first bracelet in 2011 within the $2,500 eight-game combine, earned a second the next 12 months within the $5,000 seven card stud, and gained his third within the $10,000 no-limit 2-7 single draw championship again in 2017.
He additionally has two runner-up finishes in smaller buy-in no-limit 2-7 single draw occasions. In 2009, Monnette made his first WSOP closing desk within the $2,500 model of the sport. He ended up heads-up with none aside from Phil Ivey for what would’ve been his first WSOP title, however as an alternative, it turned Ivey’s sixth.
“We played two huge pots and he won both of them,” mentioned Monnette about his first heads-up match. “He made a seven both times… It was fun playing, but it was disappointing [to fall short of winning the bracelet].”
Now, he has 4. In phrases of blended sport tournaments, there isn’t a lot left for Monnette to perform. In reality, there’s just one proverbial monkey he’s seeking to get off his again.
“Yes, the $50,000 Poker Players Championship,” mentioned Monnette when requested if there was a selected event he wished to win. “I don’t know why, but I’ve played that tournament 10 or 12 times and I’ve never even cashed the damn thing. And it’s just something that haunts me.”
It’s the one occasion on the event schedule that will get all of the high-stakes execs out of Bobby’s Room and to the Rio.
“That is the tournament that all the best players are showing up for,” mentioned Monnette. “They might not be the best tournament players, but just on a pure poker level or a cash game level, they are the best. That’s what makes the $50K special. When you play a $10K now, the best tournament players are showing up, but the best cash game players aren’t. It’s just not worth it. It’s just not worth taking three days off when first place is going to be $250,000. I love the competition of the $50K and the side bets and different things like that.”
It was extra of the identical for Monnette within the 2021 occasion. He made it to day 3 however busted nicely brief of the cash. And whereas he’ll get one other shot at his white whale in 2022, even when he falls brief, he’ll nonetheless have his smiling youngsters and spouse to go house to. And that’s nothing to be offended about.
Monnette’s WSOP Final Tables
|June 2011||Eight-Game Mix||$2,500||1st||$278,144|
|June 2017||No-Limit 2-7 Single Draw||$10,000||1st||$256,610|
|Oct. 2021||Limit Hold’em||$10,000||1st||$245,680|
|June 2012||Seven Card Stud||$5,000||1st||$190,826|
|June 2016||Dealers Choice||$10,000||third||$135,061|
|June 2012||Seven Card Stud Eight-or-Better||$5,000||third||$109,444|
|June 2009||Omaha Eight-or-Better||$10,000||fifth||$97,422|
|July 2016||Seven Card Stud Eight-or-Better||$1,500||third||$66,601|
|Sept. 2012||WSOP Europe NLH Shootout||E5,000||third||$62,845|
|June 2009||No-Limit 2-7 Single Draw||$2,500||2nd||$59,587|
|June 2016||No-Limit 2-7 Single Draw||$1,500||2nd||$57,061|
|July 2017||Seven Card Stud||$10,000||fifth||$53,621|
|July 2017||No-Limit Hold’em||$1,000||sixth||$46,758|
|June 2014||Seven Card Stud Eight-or-Better||$10,000||eighth||$41,277|
|June 2014||No-Limit 2-7 Single Draw||$10,000||sixth||$35,549|
|June 2013||Omaha Eight-or-Better||$1,500||seventh||$32,798|
|June 2016||Seven Card Stud||$1,500||seventh||$11,878|