The PokerNews Profile: Jon 'Pearljammer' Turner
At the dawn of the poker boom, Jon Turner was studying computer science at the University of North Carolina - Raleigh. Like so many of us, he was introduced to no-limit hold'em while watching ESPN's broadcast of the 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event, where Chris Moneymaker came out of nowhere to win the bracelet and $2.5 million. Turner hopped online and starting with freeroll tournaments and play-money tables, began teaching himself how to play. In short order he decided to make a small deposit and graduated to low-limit sit-'n'-goes, tournaments, and cash games. Turner started grinding up a bankroll online and sought out live games in his local area. Raleigh not being a metropolis renowned for its proximity to casinos, Turner started off playing in home games and eventually started sitting in larger underground cash games and tournaments.
Within about a year, Turner was making enough money playing poker that he kissed his day job at Circuit City goodbye. The local games he played in were constantly growing more lucrative and Turner started to hit his stride as a no-limit cash game player. After his 21st birthday, he began taking regular trips to Atlantic City and continued to rack up results and grow his bankroll. In 2005, Turner arrived at the conclusion that he could play for a living and left Raleigh behind for the lights of Las Vegas.
Jon Turner made his first run at the WSOP in the summer of 2005 and notched his first major live cash, an 18th-place finish in the $3,000 No-Limit Hold'em event, for $19,515. He played live tournaments in his newly adopted hometown throughout that summer and fall, making two final tables in Bellagio events and three cashes at the WSOP-Circuit stop at Bally's Las Vegas including a third-place finish in the $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em event ultimately won by Men "The Master" Nguyen. That finish earned him nearly $26,000. With his bankroll at a new level thanks to his success in live events, Turner began playing higher buy-in tournaments online and saw both his skill level and his results climb to a whole new level.
Employing a tight-aggressive style that flew in the face of the increasingly loose-aggressive nature of online tournament play, Jon Turner developed into one of the most successful online tournament specialists in the world. He has won the Poker Stars $109 Rebuy tournament four times for nearly $130,000 in combined winnings. He also took down Full Tilt Poker's $1K Monday tournament for over $44,000, has won the $162 buy-in Nightly Hundred Grand on Poker Stars for nearly $34,000, topped the Bodog $100,000 guarantee for a $25,000 payday and has won Full Tilt's nightly $163 buy-in tournament five times. His largest online scores, though have come from his victory in the $1,050 buy-in Super Tuesday on Poker Stars for $71,280, and his runner-up finish in the Poker Stars Sunday Million, where he won a cool $100,000 in September, 2007. Over the three years he's been playing online MTTs, Turner has been ranked at or near the top of a number of online player ranking systems. It's estimated that Turner has made over $1.6 million online.
Though Turner found tremendous success at the virtual tables, he continued to pursue live tournament play, often winning his seats in major events via satellites. On Full Tilt alone, Turner has won seats to the WSOP Main Event, the WSOP-Europe Main Event, the Aussie Millions, and numerous WPT events. He's also won live satellites to the $25,000 buy-in WPT Championships, the Mirage Poker Showdown, the $15,000 buy-in Bellagio Five-Diamond Classic. In January 2007, he turned one of those satellite wins into a 12th-place finish at the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open where he notched a $72,000 score—his largest live win to date. Turner cashed four times at the 2007 WSOP, all in hold'em events, including a final-table appearance at the $1,500 Mixed Hold'em Event where he finished eighth.
Most recently, Turner cashed the 2008 WSOP Main Event, finishing in 225th place for $38,600. He's still grinding online tournaments as much as ever, recently winning the $55 Rebuy Pot-Limit Omaha tournament on Poker Stars. Turner is also an instructor for PokerXFactor and the co-author of the tournament strategy book Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time: Volume I with Eric "Rizen" Lynch and Jon "Apestyles" Van Fleet. When he's not on the felt or traveling the circuit, Turner lives in Henderson, NV with his girlfriend Tracey "xTraCey" Nguyen—an online tournament force in her own right. He's also—you guessed it—a huge Pearl Jam fan.