Jordan Westmorland Interview

Jordan Westmorland Interview

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Wednesday Wildcard.

Jordan Westmorland Interview
Jordan ‘JWPRODIGY’ Westmorland is a seasoned tournament pro, most recently coming 3rd in the EPT Sanremo for a stonking €213,850. He may have fallen at the final hurdle to eventual champion Victoria Coren-Mitchell, but he certainly proved he’s got the goods. We catch up with Westmorland shortly after the dust had settled.

Hey Jordan, how’s it going?

Not bad. We just got into Monaco.

I guess you arrived on a pretty good note!

I would say so, for sure!

So, Sanremo’s your largest live cash by far. How do you feel?

Yeah. I mean, when you have nine million in chips three-handed, you kind of have the whole mindset of, ‘Well, let’s get this trophy.’ So when it didn’t happen, initially it kinda stung. But after having some time to unwind a bit I’m thrilled with the result.

The hand that crippled you against Victoria Coren-Mitchell was a massive cooler [Jordan lost most of his stack with Q-T against Coren-Mitchell’s A-T on a T-T-2 flop]. Was that difficult to reconcile yourself with?

Oh yeah, it was tough. I mean, as a professional who’s been doing this for quite some time now, I really haven’t heard of something that sick – short-handed, with the information that I had going into the hand. It was definitely one of the biggest coolers I’ve ever had.

Tell us a bit more about the information you had going into the hand.

Sure. In a final table setting people are a lot nittier than they’d normally play. People are trying to rise up the pay ladder. We hadn’t seen that many showdowns or people three-betting, so even though we were short-handed I had to go with the assumption that Vicky’s three-betting range was very tight. She didn’t have the best position when I’m opening off the button, she’s out of the big blind – so I put her on a range of Jacks, Queens, Kings, Aces… Tens plus I’d say, with Ace-Queen and above. So when that hand goes down, it’s really hard to put her on a better Ten.

You were chip leader going into the final table, and you said you were pretty happy with your table and seat draws. Were you pretty confident this was going to be your tournament?

Yeah. I tried to block everything out as much as possible, but I started convincing myself like, ‘Wow, this is my time!’ It kind of came over me a little bit, especially when it was three-handed and I was dominating. I then had that mad level, where I went from about nine million to a situation where we were all suddenly middle of the pack. Even then I was still confident that I’d find a way to get it done – but I didn’t. So I tip my cap to Vicky because she played it amazingly.

Was it tough going against such a media personality as Vicky and knowing that the majority of people are rooting against you?

No, not at all. If anything, losing to someone like her actually made it not so painful. I think there was a mutual respect between us, where we didn’t want to knock each other out. We talked about how we only wanted to get heads up and see where it went from there. I have so much respect for her as a player and as a human being. She’s a sweetheart, very witty, and she’s a lot of fun to play with.


Were there any particular mistakes you feel you made?

It wasn’t too big of a mistake, but I opened a hand UTG with Q-8, and I thought it was suited when it wasn’t. In the scheme of things it’s pretty small, but it’s bad that I didn’t look at my cards better. I don’t think I would’ve opened Q-8 off-suit if I’d have known. I also think that level where I started at nine million and then got down to six… [sighs]. Maybe I was playing a few too many hands to try and make up my losses, I don’t know. Overall, I’m pretty happy with how I played this tournament. Maybe flatting Vicky’s three-bet with Q-T, in a vacuum, might not have been the best thing. But at the end of the day we were 50 bigs deep, I was in position, and with Q-T I could get away from a lot of different flops…just not T-T-2! But generally I am really happy with how I played.

Being mainly an online player, was it difficult to adjust to playing in such a huge live event?

No, I wouldn’t say that was really important. A lot of the mistakes I made were to do with the lighting up there on the TV table. I had to squint to look at flops, it was just so bright. You also have to put your cards over the little camera area, and it gets you out of your rhythm a little bit.

You used to live in Thailand, which is a pretty great location if you play online. What’s Australia like?

Australia’s great. The people are amazing, the weather’s really nice. The only reason why I’d probably move away is that it’s probably the most expensive place I’ve ever spent time in. Rent is ridiculous there, and with me potentially travelling so much to play live poker we might find a new base somewhere in 2015.

How much do you tend to travel for live tournaments?

I’ve turned it up a little in the last few years. Previous to this I had a really bad stretch, and I thought, ‘Urgh, maybe I should stick more to online.’ But I think when you have a good score you get the itch to play a bit more.

Could you tell us a bit more about that bad stretch?

Sure. I think people don’t really realise how much higher the variance is in live tournaments compared to online. Online, you can play 50 tournaments a day! Live, you’re playing maybe 4-5 tournaments in a 10-day stretch. Previous to this EPT, I had a huge stack in the Sydney main event – I had probably 15 starting stacks worth, and I didn’t even cash. I was 10 off the money! Then after that I had a really bad Aussie Millions where I didn’t cash in a single event even though I played tons. The opening event was a rapid charge, and I lost the maximum you could lose. I lost six bullets, putting two in each day. So the maximum you could lose was $6k in a $1k tourney, and I managed to do it. It seemed like nothing was working when I needed it to. But you just have to move on, and keep putting your name in the hat.

Was it difficult to keep going?

Yeah. The funny thing about Sanremo was there was a really decent chance I wasn’t even going to come. I kept trying to satellite in online, and ended up stuck $12.5k for a €5k main event. It was just like, ‘Is this even worth it?! But I’m stuck so much, I HAVE to go now!’ Then two days before the event, I was blessed to win both a package and a seat in a 48-hour period. It completely flip-flopped, and maybe that gave me some momentum.

Bet you’re feeling pretty pleased you didn’t give up a few satellites earlier! We’ve talked about variance in live play, but how many tables do you normally play online?

Well, when you’re starting out as an MTTer you can easily overwhelm yourself. You’re looking at the lobby and licking your lips, just like man, I’ve gotta reg for everything! Then you’re on PartyPoker, you’re on 888, you’re on Titan, Stars, Full Tilt… all these sites, and you’re 24-tabling, and it’s just ridiculous. So what I’ve done is just try and find the best tournaments, and play no more than 12 tables. I actually prefer eight, but on Sunday there’s too many good things going on so I extend it a bit.

Could you talk us through a normal day in your life?

A working day in Australia looks like me waking up anywhere between 2am to 5am, and then I’m definitely locked in for at least 6 hours. If things aren’t going well I try to unwind and get out of there within 8 hours. If I’m running deep in something it can go 12-14 hours. Then during that whole thing I’m trying to get some food, so having a wonderful girlfriend and a best friend who do some cooking helps – that keeps you going for sure. You need that. Then, because Australia is such a beautiful place, if I’ve had a bad session or a really good session I like to walk down to the beach and clear my mind a little bit. On days off I try to get out of the house. I love getting out with my friends and hitting the town, maybe having a few drinks.

Did you do much to celebrate after Sanremo?

We went out pretty hard. There was a lot of champagne and shots. Actually, a little too much tequila ended up having me spew in a garbage bin in the restaurant. Later on, my good friend Angelina who won the Women’s event fell in that same garbage bin. It was cool – there were like 12 of us who went out for dinner, and all the people who were on the rail. It was a pretty wild, great night.

Do you have any particular plans for the money?

I don’t know. Everyone says you should do something, like buy a house, do that, do this. I have a friend who says we should take over the city of Seattle. I’m not really sure what that means, but hey. Everyone’s telling you something, but I’m gonna let it come to me. Just keep investing in myself and poker. We have SCOOP coming up; that can be a big hit to anyone’s bankroll really, every day’s a $2k! I might try to invest in the stock market... I mean, I have no idea about any of that stuff, but maybe I could find a guy who does. But my main priority is just investing in myself.

What’s coming up for you at the moment?

We’re going to be in Monaco for the next two days, just chilling out. Then we’re going to get back to Australia for the two weddings I promised I’d attend. I would love to be coming to Monaco and playing the Main Event, but at the end of the day, missing true love would just be a curse. I look forward to getting back and seeing all the guys, and having them give me shit for looking like an idiot on TV.

Have you had many people talk to you about what they saw?

I’m part of some Skype chats, and nobody knew I was online. In one of those some guy said I looked like I had a duck face going for quite a bit, which was nice to hear [laughs]. But I haven’t heard too much. I wanna wait to watch it, because I don’t want it to be not fresh in my mind – I want it to be new when I watch it, so I can look back and think about the hands that happened. So, I’m going to wait a week and then maybe make a drinking game out of it. It’s like nine hours long, so every time I lose a hand we will have to take a shot or something.

That sounds like a fun game – better have some bins at the ready.

Oh yeah, I lost a lot of pots on that final table, so we should be blacked out at the end of it.

Sounds good to us. Good luck in your tournaments coming up!

Tags: Jordan Westmorland, JWPRODIGY, EPT Sanremo, Victoria Coren-Mitchell