Newly-minted millionaire Josh Remitio keeps his feet on the ground

Simon Young
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Posted on: November 23, 2021 10:44 am EST

Just 24 hours after winning $2.3 million in the WSOP Main Event, the last place you might expect to find Josh Remitio is grinding a $1-$3 cash game at Caesars Palace. Yet there he was, trying to teach his big brother how to play poker and losing $500 in the process.

“I didn’t do too well, and I was annoyed. I hate losing,” Josh said. “But it was fine, really. The staff at Caesars knew me and were congratulating me on my WSOP run. Strangers came up and said how much they had enjoyed watching me. It was a bit surreal, to be honest.”

Josh, 27, admits he sold 50% of his Main Event action, leaving him with over a million dollars in winnings for finishing fourth, and he intends to look after his wealth. A pro cash game player, he knows from experience that money should never be taken for granted. “I’ve nearly been broke and have learned to be sensible. The WSOP won’t change me; I’ll maybe buy a house and a new car, but I’ll still play my regular $5-$10 game at the Bellagio, sometimes $10-$20.”

The WSOP fairy tale nearly never happened for Josh, who comes from Gilbert in Arizona. After leaving college, where he studied finance, his love and fascination with poker led to him becoming a cash game pro. The move to Las Vegas six months ago took his game to another level as he picked up tips from some of the best players in the city.

‘You have to crush’

“I’m a good cash game player, but I still have a lot to learn. I simply didn’t have time for tournies, but I was becoming interested in the challenge of learning and improving. Tournaments have different dynamics – in cash, you just need to win a little; in tournies, you must win everything. You have to crush.”

His tournament record suggested it might be a long road because his previous biggest score was $650 in a $200 buy-in event in Scottsdale, Arizona. Josh didn’t hold out too much hope when he entered three tournaments at the start of the WSOP schedule.

“Things did not go well,” he said. “And I was prepared to pack tournaments in. But my buddy persuaded me to enter the $10,000 Main Event. He said the structure would suit me, and the experience would do me good.

“I wasn’t so sure. I wanted to sell 70% of my action, but my buddy persuaded me to stick at 50% – he argued that I could afford it and that the amount of time I’d need to invest in playing warranted it. So that’s what I did.

“Selling part of my action was sensible because the variance in these big field tournaments is way too high.”

Moneymaker Mark II

The decision to register was clearly a good one. During the first five days of the Main Event, much of the attention was on the run-good of Chris Moneymaker, who famously won the tournament in 2003 with no track record of note. While that was happening, no one paid any attention to just another unknown player, with total tournament winnings of just $1,809 to his name, who was quietly ripping up the 6,650 field.

Josh’s Day 1 was okay, he had a slightly better Day 2, ending up 99th/1,440, and things went stellar on Day 3 when he bagged up third out of 1,000. Day 4 was a grind, Day 5 an improvement, ending 42nd out of 96, and on Day 6, he finished 3rd out of 34.

Josh sat down at the final table fourth out of the nine remaining players, all of them guaranteed at least a million bucks.

A member of the Americas Cardroom poker site (which, incidentally, has Moneymaker as an ambassador), Josh was pleased to wear the ACR badge at the final table.

“I would have been happy finishing ninth in all honesty,” Josh said. “The money would already have been life-changing for me.”

But his assault on the big $8 million first prize, won in the end by Koray Aldemir (“a worthy champion”), came to an abrupt end just before play stopped for the night on Tuesday. Josh lost a chunk of his stack in a three-way pot to Jack Oliver. That put him as the short-stack, and soon after, Oliver dealt the final blow.

“The schedule said we would have stopped for the night four-handed, but they kept playing, and I bust. But at the end of the day, I’m fine with it. I might have come back the next day and busted after 15 minutes, and that wouldn’t have been much fun for my rail. It was a little frustrating to play that extra hour, but I understand why it happened.”

Support on the rail

The Remitio rail was a noisy feature of the final table, with friends and family flying in from Arizona and California to support Josh.

“They were amazing,” he said. “It has taken a day or two to sink in. Aside from playing that $1-$3 game at Caesars with my brother, Jax, we waited until Saturday night to really party. Those celebrations lasted until around 8am on Sunday morning. It was great.”

Six hours on, and Josh is talking to with what sounds like a remarkably clear head.

So, what’s next for the new fan of poker tournaments? “Oh, I’ll probably be back in the gym and at the Bellagio playing $5-$10 tomorrow,” he said. “But I do plan to play more tournaments, too.”

With such a sensible head on young shoulders, you shouldn’t bet against hearing a lot more about Josh on the tournament circuit.