How a NJ Poker Player Won $100k in 15 Minutes

February 20th, 2017 Poker Articles

Given that the US regulated online poker market is relatively small, we don’t hear about many big American winners these days. However, James Piccolo changed this narrative after returning to New Jersey to visit his father a day before scheduled surgery.

Piccolo, who moved out to Las Vegas to play poker professionally in 2015, was playing at PokerStarsNJ three weeks ago. Stars entered New Jersey last year, marking their first return to the US since April 15, 2011 (Black Friday).

Playing Spin & Go’s for a short time, he experienced a windfall that most players only dream of.

“I had been playing for a couple of hours when a notification popped up that two other players and I would be playing for $120,000,” said Piccolo, who competed against two other random players for a $100,000 top prize, with the second and third finishers each receiving $10,000.

“My brother and my mom and dad were home, and I let them know,” Piccolo told “My brother shot video of me playing, and he was teasing me and talking to me the whole time. It was pretty distracting, to be honest.”

Despite the distractions from his older brother, Matthew, Piccolo won the Spin & Go and collected the $100k top payout in just 15 minutes.

“I knocked out one guy really quickly, within 10 hands,” he said, noting that this helped calm his nerves after initially being nervous.

Piccolo was at a 4:1 chip disadvantage at one point during the heads-up portion. But Piccolo’s poker skills came into play, and he battled back to defeat his opponent.

“I called my sister and let her know I won, and I think it was just good karma because her boyfriend proposed right after that,” said Piccolo. “It made a great day better.”

Besides his sister’s engagement, Piccolo’s father also had a successful surgery, making this a great time for the New Jersey family.