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The PokerNews Profile: Isaac “westmenloAA” Baron

Isaac Baron

The PokerStars Sunday Million. The Full Tilt $750,000 Guarantee. The Super Tuesday. The Sunday Mulligan. SCOOP and FTOPS titles. When it comes to online majors, Isaac Baron has won them all, and he did it all before playing in a Single World Series of Poker event. Though Baron can already boast a formidable record on the World Poker Tour and the European Poker Tour, having amassed over $1.1 million in live tournament earnings, he did not turn 21 in time to play in last summer’s WSOP, as his 21st birthday fell only days after the Main Event commenced. This summer, Baron has his sights set on earning his first WSOP bracelet and it will be no surprise if he enters the Amazon Room at the end of this month and earns poker’s equivalent of a walk-off home run.

Isaac Baron was born on July 10, 1987 and grew up in Menlo Park, CA. His hometown later becoming the root of his online handles, “westmenloAA” and “mr. menlo.” He discovered WSOP when it started airing on television in 2003. After watching episodes of the WSOP with his friends, their collective fascination with what they saw drove them to organize a home game. The game grew progressively more competitive as they learned strategy and a few of his friends ended up opening online poker accounts. Baron got a transfer from one of his buddies on PokerStars and started playing tournaments. He made an early score, taking down a $22 buy-in tournament for about $4,000, which became the seed money for his bankroll. Though he enrolled in college to study journalism, Baron soon abandoned higher learning for life as a full-time online player.

Baron played both no-limit hold’em cash games and tournaments while constantly working on his skills by reading and posting in strategy forums. In 2006 he earned his first five-figure online tournament score in the notoriously tough PokerStars $109 Rebuy, where he took down over $11,000 for first place. Baron went on to win the $109 rebuy three more times that year and made a runner-up finish in the even tougher Stars $215 Rebuy. Baron also played in several overseas events in ’06, notching his first major live cashes with a 35th-place finish in the 2006 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure and an 18th-place finish in the WPT North American Poker Championships in Niagara Falls.

2007, however, was truly Baron’s breakout year. Baron won a $530 buy-in edition of the PokerStars Sunday Million on January 23, 2007, earning $254,518. Later that year, he won Full Tilt Poker’s Sunday major, the $750,000 Guaranteed, for $132,787. He won the Stars $109 Rebuy at least three more times in ’07 and also took down the $215 Rebuy for a nearly $58,000 score. Baron cashed the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure again in 2007, and nearly made his first World Poker Tour final table in Turks & Caicos, where he finished in ninth place.

In 2008, Baron continued to dominate online tournaments, winning the Full Tilt Sunday Mulligan, the Full Tilt $55,000 Guaranteed, and the PokerStars Super Tuesday. He also expanded his live tournament schedule, making an extended trip to Europe in the spring for the European Poker Tour events in San Remo and Monte Carlo. It was quite a profitable journey. After finishing in 11th place at the EPT San Remo, pocketing $45,421, Baron made the final table of the EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo where he finished fourth and took home a career-high score of €589,000 (about $932,000 USD). Then, only weeks after returning home, he won the first event of Full Tilt Poker’s FTOPS VIII, $216 No-Limit Hold’em, for over $158,000, making it officially a million-dollar month for the 20-year-old.

Baron has proven that his game is in terrific shape for the WSOP, winning the $55 6-Max NLHE event during PokerStars’ Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) only last month for a nearly $98,000 score. Baron is also an instructor for CardRunners and a red pro on Full Tilt Poker, where these days he can be found playing $50/100 and up pot-limit Omaha in addition to all the major online tournaments. He still calls Menlo Park, CA home and thanks to his poker winnings, is the proud owner of a Maserati.

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