October Nine: Jesse Sylvia

July 20, 2012

“I am a huge, huge believer in the idea that the people in your life make you rich. If you have really good people around you and great relationships with those you care about, you just feel good. Everything just becomes more amazing,” says Jesse Sylvia after making the final table at this year’s WSOP Main Event.

Chip leader for the October Nine, Sylvia is only 24 years old and has been playing poker for only three years. He has one previous WSOP cash from last year’s series when he finished 175th place in Event #$10, a $1500 6-Handed NLH event and earned just shy of $3,000. It’s not for lack of trying though that he hasn’t had a better WSOP track record, as this is his 14th WSOP event.

From Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, Sylvia is the son of an engineer on a scientific research vessel and his mom is very creative with clothing design, landscaping, seamstress work, and floristry.

Interestingly, one of Sylvia’s best friends is actually in the 2012 October Nine alongside him. Russell Thomas and Sylvia have been friends for quite some time, and Thomas has even been something of a poker mentor to Sylvia, letting him stay at his house when Sylvia first moved to Vegas and teaching him a lot of things. Thomas, who now has a full-time job outside of poker, tells his friend that Sylvia has moved past him and is now better than him. Sylvia doesn’t agree. In fact, he admits that it’s been a long-running joke between them that they’d someday be in the WSOP, and now here they both are up against each other.

Sylvia also feels a personal connection with the two women who were knocked out in 10th and 11th place, just missing the final table nine. He says he has been teaching his girlfriend to play poker for the past five months and feels compassionate for the opposite sex when it comes to be treated equally at the poker tables.


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