Joey "jcl" Lawrence is an Australian living in Sydney who specializes in online 6-max cash games. Since making his first $75 deposit four years ago, he has risen up the ranks to be one of the most feared regulars in the high stakes games and was recently signed by CardRunners as a video instructor. We recently caught up with Joey to discuss his poker career to date.
Hey Joey! How's it going? Give the PokerNews readers a little background about yourself and how you got started with poker.
Ok, well I'm a 22-year old law student from Sydney, in my final year this year actually. I started playing after I graduated from high school in 2005. Joe Hachem won the WSOP that year so poker was really starting to pick up in Australia and pub tournaments were everywhere. I played like two of those a week with my friends and then moved to online and deposited $75 on PartyPoker. I started with SNGs but after reading Doyle Brunson's Super System moved to cash games at $25 no-limit. I basically went from there.
Do you play cash games for the most part or are you grinding out tournaments also?
I play cash pretty much exclusively. It's pretty hard to be a tournament player in Australia anyway. The schedules aren't kind in terms of Australian time. I sometimes play the Sunday majors during the holidays though. During school I can't because I have classes on Mondays.
Have you ever considering moving to Vegas or a different country once you are done with college so the tournament schedules are better for you?
No, for one I don't want to be an tournament player. They're frustrating and I hate the feeling of being stuck to your seat. Secondly, I don't even plan on going pro after school.
So I take it poker will be like a hobby or second job for you then? What are your plans after school?
It's a hobby yeah but it's also my sole source of income so I guess it's like a part time job at the moment. I'm not sure what I'm going to do after school. I'm going to apply to a bunch of banks, trading companies and law firms this year and see what happens. I also want to take a year off if possible and travel and play some events on the circuit too.
How important do you feel it is to get an education? At what level of play or limits do you think its ok to say, I am going to play poker full time and not go to school or drop out of school. Give us your thoughts?
I guess it depends on the person mostly. If you're doing a Latin major or something you probably have less to lose than someone doing law or medicine by dropping out. In terms of limits, that also really depends on the lifestyle you want, the lifestyle you have, etc. Most people seem to think $2/$4 no-limit is the lowest level you'd want to be at. But there's plenty of much lower grinders but if you play that low I think you should probably finish your degree. Also college is fun. You meet lots of people and three years fly by. Having a degree at the end of it which you have for life is just a bonus
So you are a Card Runners instructor who plays mainly six-max cash games. What made you decide to become a instructor or how did you get into being a coach?
Last year I posted some good $5/$10 results on my Card Runners blog. After seeing that, one of the Card Runners guys asked me to make some videos and I happily obliged. Card Runners was my first training site and took me from a $50 no-limit player with an $800 bankroll to where I am now so I wanted to give something back.
If you don't have Card Runners I highly recommend you get it. If you play on Full Tilt Poker you can even get it free through the Truly Free Poker Training program. I highly recommend you invest in it as well.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time if you are not playing poker or studying in school?
I would be watching tv, going to cinema, going out with friends, playing cricket, playing playstation, and soccer!
What is your favorite type of drink when you are at the bar or even shot perhaps?
I usually get a Corona or vodka Redbull for beer/spirit respectively.
Good choices sir! If you could meet one person dead or alive who would it be, and why?
I would definitely have to say Shakespeare or Casear. I have no real specific reason, but they would seem to be the most interesting.
Lastly, which high-stakes cash game player do you look up to the most and why?
I would probably have to say Cole South as his videos are amazing. He’s moved to pot-limit Omaha and is crushing the nosebleeds there but he also seems like he's got his life in order. He is enjoying his holidays and doesn’t seem to be too fussed by downswings in his blog. He is also going back to school which I respect a lot!
Joey, thanks for stopping by and we wish you the best of luck!