ClubWPT Qualifier John Thompson gets second chance at bestbet Scramble

Paul Oresteen
Posted on: November 06, 2023 03:00 PST

John Thompson doesn’t fit the bill when you picture an online poker player.

The Northern Californian retiree doesn’t study preflop charts, he’s on the far right end of the age bell curve, and he spends more time on the golf course each week than he does clicking buttons. But, he finds success on the ClubWPT felt through live event packages. Thanks to them, he is heading to the upcoming WPT bestbet Scramble from November 10-14.

Thompson, 75, feels he’s ready for a WPT Main Event. “I’m prepared, but as an old guy I’ll have to see how much endurance I have,” he said laughing. “It’s all poker but I’d like to make the bubble and move up. I know there are a lot of players better than me, but I think I’m pretty good at managing a stack. That’s probably what I’m best at when I go deep.”

Thompson lives an active retired life

The former accountant has been around the game for decades. He took to poker naturally as a numbers guy, “I was definitely better on the math side than English,” Thompson said. “You know, 40 or 50 years ago I’d go on golf trips and always hit the card rooms. Back then it was all Seven Card Stud until Hold’em took over, but that was all before (playing) online.”

These days Thompson limits his play to ClubWPT. “I only play online; I just enjoy watching golf or football while I’m playing poker,” he said. “It fits perfectly for me.”

He and his wife of 53 years live quietly in a small town of 15,000, “up where the vineyards meet the Redwoods.” They have two adult children, he plays golf three times a week, where he still manages to shoot in the mid-80s, and plays poker about ten hours a week. “I went a couple of years without playing and then I found ClubWPT,” he said. “It’s really great and suits me just fine.”

The ClubWPT package hunter

Last year Thompson won a trip for Thunder Valley’s Rolling Thunder event. He and his wife of 53 years enjoyed the trip. “It was only about an hour away, so I drove my RV over,” he said. “I met Matt Savage at the reception, we had dinner the next night and the cards were great. It was real fun for me, I sure love winning these packages.”

S20 WPT Deepstacks Thunder Valley Enrique Ivan Malfavon

Thompson fell short of the money at Thunder Valley but still targets the live event packages every week, though his wife won’t be joining him in Jacksonville. “About three weeks ago I got sixth on a WPT Cruise package, but I went card dead at the final table,” he said. “If I make a little bit of money in Jacksonville, I might just go on the cruise to make it up to my wife.”

The WPT partnered with Virgin Voyages for a Full Ship Takeover next year from March 31-April 6. The event features a $1,100 Prime event, a $5,000 Main Event, and a $25,000 High Roller.

Thompson was pretty honest when discussing his strategy for his upcoming trip. “I’m not one of those guys that has to be chip leader,” said Thompson. “I’ve found it’s fine to just keep plodding along and it’s better to be lucky late than early.”

Thompson was a realistic optimist when asked successful tournament looks like to him. “I know I’ll have to run hotter than some of the better players to have a chance...but you never know."