Two years ago, Jim Collopy came so very close to his first bracelet. Instead, he had to settle for second place while Gus Hansen went on to win his first bracelet in the 2011 WSOP Europe Heads-Up event. After a long battle back and forth, it was simply not Collopy's turn to win a bracelet.
Today, it was his turn. He came into the final table of the $1,650 Pot Limit Omaha event as the chip leader and came out a champion and a bracelet winner. Along the way, he defeated some stiff competition including two of the hottest players in tournament poker, Dan Shak and Marvin Rettenmaier, not to mention a final table that featured five Australian players. He collected $69,662 and bragging rights for defeating a formidable Australian player, Edison Nguyen, heads-up.
While many described this victory as a redemption for the 24 year old from Washington DC, he was quick to dismiss those kinds of narratives.
"They're just tournaments," Collopy said. "They're just tournaments."
While this may have just been a tournament, the glory of the gold WSOP bracelet is not lost on Collopy, who described the feeling of winning his first one as "awesome."
"It is nice to get the token, the trophy."
The win marks the second bracelet for the United States here at the Crown Entertainment Complex in Melbourne and the second time an American defeated an Australian for the victory. Collopy joins fellow American and good friend Bryan Piccioli on the list of winners. Collopy even wore the same Washington Bullets hat his friend wore when winning his bracelet the day prior. Collopy is a DC native and, after seeing his friend find success with the headgear, decided to give it a shot as well and wore his with hopes of running well at the final table.
"It makes it great that we were both able to represent the Washington Bullets. He was the ringer from upstate New York, but you know, basketball fan, American nonetheless. I went to Bullets game as a seven year old." Collopy even went so far as to produce his driver's license, issued by Washington DC, to prove how much more sincere his fandom is than his friend's.
"This is not Maryland, Virginia...this isn't anywhere else but my little lowly population 600,000 nation's capital."
While he grew up in DC, Collopy is now a bit of a world traveller who is currently living in Australia and balancing his time between poker and culinary school. He's also studied abroad and earned a degree in Economics with a minor in Irish Studies. Asked if he might end up an academic, Collopy admitted the schooling is mostly just a way to fill his down time.
"It's restlessness," Collopy explains. "It's not some belief in academics, it is just a really great distraction...If I can spend my time between the weekly Sundays and the occasional live series and do something a little bit more stable or traditional, that is a better equation for me."
Australia is proving to be a better equation for Collopy as well. Between balancing his time between here and Vegas, not only has he turned in a great run of results, he has also managed to avoid the weather.
"Australia is definitely the country where I’ve run best in the world. Skipping the snow and having a three-year endless summer of not ever having to put on socks and shoes is awesome."
Winning a bracelet is pretty awesome too.
The $1,650 Pot Limit Omaha event drew 172 runners, generating a prize pool of $278,000, making it one of the largest Pot Limit Omaha events ever held at the Crown Casino. The top 18 players finished in the money, including Caesars Cup Captain Joe Hachem (17th) and his Team Asia Pacific teammate Jeff Lisandro (14th).The final table included no former bracelet winners, but did include several past WSOP final tablists, including ninth place finisher Marvin Rettenmaier and Dan Shak. There were also several noteworthy Australian players, including longtime pro Tino Lechich (3rd) and ANZPT winner Martin Koslav (8th) Here are the final table results from the $1,650 WSOP APAC event:
1st: Jim Collopy - $69,662
2nd: Edison Nguyen - $43,050
3rd: Tino Lechich - $30,988
4th: Scott Reed - $22,712
5th: Dan Shak - $16,940
6th: Paul Sharbanee - $12,856
7th: Mike Leah - $9,923
8th: Martin Koslav - $7,784
9th: Marvin Rettenmaier - $6,207