October 9 Spotlight: Russell Thomas

by | Published: Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Despite only being a part-time poker player Russell Thomas is definitely on the radar of his October 9 opposition.

The twenty-four-year-old is incredibly well known in poker circles and enhanced his reputation further with his dominate performance in the 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event thus far.

Thomas was the chip-leader heading into the final twenty of the tournament and knocked out a host of top players on his way to the final table.

This is very impressive for a man who spends his day working on ObamaCare.

“I work on healthcare reform-type work for Aetna,” Thomas said.

“There are some regulations mandating insurance companies to pay back all of their members if we don’t pay enough out for medical claims for how much premiums we take in, so I forecast the amount for Aetna on a monthly basis.”

Thomas admits that it isn’t as glamorous as playing poker professionally but is happy with the choice he has made.

“I could have gone pro after college but I had a good career lined up. Poker does not give me any structure in my life. I don’t want to wake up at noon every day. I need structure in my life where I feel it,” Thomas said.

However, it didn’t take long to convince Thomas that he would almost have to give up his day job and start playing more poker if he is successful when the Main Event resumes in the last week of October.

“If I got out in ninth place I would definitely go back to my job, because I don’t think $750,000 is enough and because I don’t have a 100 percent of myself anyways. But If I got third or something I would quit for sure and just play poker,” the Temple University graduate said.

Thomas has taken advantage of the hiatus between the tournament proper and the final table by training with professional poker player Jason Somerville who has significant World Series of Poker final table experience.

“I chose Jason because I thought he had a lot of good ideas of how to prepare for the final table,” Thomas said.

“He’s a good player and has had a lot of good results. After talking to him, I thought we’d get along. I knew I needed a coach because I didn’t play much before the year prior. I’m not a tournament player, and final tables play out differently than a cash game and so I needed three months of coaching to prepare

“I’m definitely in better shape now than I was then.”

The World Series of Poker Main Event final table will resume on October 28 and you can follow all the action at Poker.com.

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