Georgia's newest millionaire (Jeff Williams interview)
Some people might start calling Jeff Williams a bully. Marc raised from the small blind and Jeff came over the top all in. Marc didn't like his hand well enough to call and laid it down.
-Narration of final table of EPT Grand Final at PokerStarsblog.com
Jeff Williams is only 19 and can't even enter a U.S. poker room yet, but he's Georgia's latest millionaire as the champion of the European Poker Tour's Grand Final in Monte Carlo, where he won 900,000 euros.
He's back in the Atlanta area, where the late Andy Glazer once sarcastically called a "hotbed of poker" in his write up of 1999 WSOP limit hold'em champion Josh Arieh. Well, add another Atlanta winner to the list of champions!
Q: We talked before you entered the final table about your strategy. What did your strategy turn out to be?
A: I kept being aggressive, I got lucky. I just raised a lot, used all my chips as an advantage.
Q: Were there any particular key hands?
6:10pm--Well, as Mad once told me, some said it would end in tears. In this case, it didn't necessarily end, but I have to think Thierry (Cazals of France) is thinking about crying. It appared the action went: Jeff came in for the standard raise, Thierry re-raised to 190K, Jeff moved all in, and Thierry called. All in pre-flop with AJ suited versus Jeff Williams AQ suited. Thierry failed to improve. His slide from the chip lead continues. Jeff, who had taken some serious hits is back on track.
A: I lost a couple pots and was down to 400,000 chips. I raised with AQ and got reraised with AJ. I went all-in. Lucky for me the guy had AJ. It was a turning point.
Q: Champions such as Chris Moneymaker have said that there's no way you can win a tournament without getting lucky in it. Is this true?
A: There's no way that anyone can win a tournament like that without being lucky. You can't just outskill people. You have to have a couple times where you hit that miracle card.
Q: Were the rest of the people at the final table exasperated by your play? You were all-in nearly every hand.
A: I don't know if they were exasperated -- I think they were a little bit frustrated by my rather unique style of play. I try to run over the table -- that's how I play online. I employ the same strategy.
Q: How significant will AT be for you from now on?
Jeff called Arshad's all in. Arshad (Hussain of the UK) flipped A8o. Jeff celebrated and turned over ATo. The board came out 597/7/3. Jeff wins it.
A: For the rest of my life. It's a magical hand.
Q: When did you feel at the final table you felt like you were likely to win the whole thing? Was it when you became chip leader with a million chips and five players left?
A: It was when I took out Marc (Karam of Canada, eliminated in fourth). I got down to four or three (players left). I had half of the chips in play and really had momentum. I was feeling good, the first time I thought I might be able to win this.
Q: Did you ever think, wow, I could win a million dollars?
A: The money? Never. I never was thinking about the money. I looked at the prize pool, if came in the top 4, I'd be happy with my results.
Q: What will you do with the winnings?
A: I definitely will invest at least half. I haven't decided whether it will be in real estate, stocks... I'll put $100,000 into my poker bankroll and try to increase like that.
Q: Will you be playing higher?
A: I really like $5/10 NL and $200 and $500 Sit N' Gos. I think I can be a consistent winner -- if I went higher, I don't think I can win.
Q: Have you taken shots higher, then?
A: (Laughing). Oh, yes.
Q: What do your parents think of it all? I imagine they were supportive if they flew out to see you on the last day.
A: They're really happy. I won't play as much anymore because i won't need to -- I'll concentrate on experiencing a lot of other stuff. Now there's not as much concern on the money side.
Q: Anything you'll do with the winnings in particular? Any way you'll celebrate?
A: I'll probably look to buy a nice watch. There's nothing that I really wanted.
Q: What did you think of being compared to (WSOP World Champion and now Bellagio executive) Bobby Baldwin?
A: It was pretty funny - Bobby Baldwin was a really good player back in the 70s. I never knew much about him. A lot of people keep telling me about him. I think the comparison is very funny.
Q: Although you can't enter U.S. poker rooms yet, do you look forward to doing so in the future?
A: I think it will be really exciting to play for the World Championship. The World Series is the greatest thrill ever. I can't wait for that time.