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WSOP Gold -- Law Student Credits Balance in Life for His Poker Success (Latest News About Casino, Poker, Baccarat in Philippines)

WSOP Gold -- Law Student Credits Balance in Life for His Poker Success
Article ID 00043457
Author Stephen A. Murphy
Date JULY 27 2022
In a lot of ways, Jeffrey Papola looks like your typical online pro. With shaggy hair and an unshaven face, he wears sandals and listens to his iPod at the table. But that’s just about where the similarities end. While most of his peers are completely immersed in the game, Papola has managed to find a unique balance between poker and his day-to-day life. At 25, he is married and in law school, paying his way through poker profits. “That’s one of thing it takes to get really good at this game — getting consumed in it and playing 80 hours a week, which is definitely something I did in college at times,” Papola remembers. “As I started to become more of a professional though, I realized that to play my best, I needed to have balance. I needed to take some time away…I wouldn’t play my best if I didn’t take a break from time to time.” That’s part of the reason why he continues to go to school, despite making a good living playing poker online. And that’s also why for the first time since he’s been coming out here for the World Series , Papola decided not to spend the entire summer in Las Vegas, scheduling regular flights home back to New York. “It’s so easy for your head to get messed up if you’ve been running bad for a while,” said Papola. “There’s such high variance [in World Series events]. You just need to keep your mind fresh. When I take a week off, I usually forget about what happened and I’m just focused on playing well and I’m confident I know what I’m doing.” With the approach of “less is more,” Papola has easily had his most successful summer to date. He came in second place in the $2,500 six-handed event for $391,068 before winning the $5,000 six-handed event for $667,443, beating a final table that included Men Nguyen and Erick Lindgren . Falling Short, and Then Closing it Out Papola talked to Card Player about the disappointment of coming so close just to watch your first chance at a bracelet disappear. “I was really disappointed just because I could see the bracelet, and I was really confident in my tournament game and my short-handed game,” Papola said of his first final table of the summer. “But after the dust settled, I was happy with the score. It was weird when it ended. I was kind of depressed, it was quiet, it was just a weird feeling.” Still, the six-figure score gave him renewed confidence, so the very next day, he signed up for the $5,000 no-limit hold’em event, a tournament he wasn’t even sure he was going to play before his big payday. He said the biggest break he caught was Lindgren getting coolered and busting out in sixth place. “That was the luckiest I got at the final table, him busting in sixth. The only hand for him to bust early on is for him to get coolered, because he’s really good and he was playing really well,” said Papola. “He was two to my left, and he was probably going to be really tough for me all day. After that, it was a perfect scenario.” Papola wound up getting heads-up with the seven-time bracelet winner Nguyen, but then ran into difficulty putting him away. “I had him short three times and he doubled. I was trying not to think about second place, but it’s impossible not to think about it. I was just thinking, ‘Don’t let this slip away.’” Papola admitted that he went into heads-up feeling confident about his chances. “Men probably doesn’t have much heads-up experience because he’s a live player and where do you really play heads-up live, so I felt like my chances were like 75% or 80% to win. If that had slipped away, I would’ve been really, really upset.” Sure enough, Papola’s experience saw him through as he denied Nguyen his eighth bracelet while securing his first. “I always knew I could make some money at this game,” said Papola. “I didn’t know back then that I would win a bracelet, that’s just unreal.” A Poker-Playing Law Student Originally from New Jersey, Papola now lives in Manhattan with his wife and at 25, has already found himself in a fairly regular routine. “If it’s during the school year, I wake up, feed my dog Ace, and take him out for a walk. Then he passes out for the day,” he said. “If I have school, I go to school. Usually that’s about three hours. Then I would come home, my wife would be coming home around then, so we’d eat dinner, and then I’d play poker for probably six to eight hours.” In the last year, he has been making his living at heads-up cash games, but he still plays all the major online tournaments, such as WCOOP , SCOOP , FTOPS , and the Sunday majors. Papola admits that the worlds of professional poker player and law student don’t always go hand in hand. “Sometimes I tell people I’m a student, depending who I’m talking to, and sometimes I tell them I’m a poker player,” Papola says with a laugh. To allow himself to excel at both poker and school, Papola is only taking law school part-time. Still, he is more than halfway toward his degree. While many successful poker pros frivolously spend their winnings, Papola has spent a lot of it on tuition. Sounding like a poker player, he says he sees it as a good investment. “They say that a license to practice law is worth at least a million lifetime,” said Papola. “But I probably have saved enough money on my taxes because of what I’ve learned already to make up for it.” He says he couldn’t help but be fascinated by tax law. “I just really like tax law. It kind of reminds me of poker. You’re trying to beat the game, and my opponent is the IRS . I was the only one who was actually interested and passionate about tax law in my class. That’s a dreadful subject for most people in law school, but I loved it. I was so happy to take the class,” said Papola. In the next few years, Papola hopes to continue to earn a healthy living at the poker tables, and he also hopes to pay as little of that back in taxes as possible.

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