Online Poker Pro: James Mackey –

james-mackeyPlayer Profile: James Mackey

Name: James Mackey
Age: 23
Gender: Male
Country: USA (Missouri)

James Mackey’s appearance is deceptive. He’s skinny, and his fine bone structure gives him a delicate look that makes you think he’s even younger than he actually is. He wears his hair in a trademark pudding bowl trim, its flaming red colour the only warning of the danger you’re in.

Because despite his youth, James Mackey is one of the deadliest poker players you could have the misfortune to come up against, the the poker graveyard is filled with the headstones of players who thought they could intimidate a kid.

Calling Doctor Drop Out

Like so many pro poker players, Mackey isn’t stupid. Far from it. Before he turned to a career at the felt (which he has done exceptionally well out of), he was enrolled at the University of Missouri, where he was studying to become a doctor. You can imagine that if you were his parents, you wouldn’t be thrilled about your son dropping out of college to play cards – it’s right up there as one of every parent’s worst nightmares. But then Mackey isn’t just any kid.

His natural ability and talent at the game have placed him firmly on the path to success, and he’s already earned more money playing professional poker than most doctors would have in the time period.

Internet Launches a Career

His career kicks off in 2005, at the age of 19. While most real world American casinos won’t allow anyone under 21 in through the front door, the Internet is a different place. Since most of the online poker sites are based offshore, they obey the local laws of the jurisdictions they’re hosted in – and in most cases, this means that someone as young as 18 is typically allowed to play.

Mackey plays online under the handle “”. He made his first online poker deposit of just $75, and within a short time had managed to turn this into a serious bankroll exceeding $20,000. Once he’d reached this milestone, he realised he had a shot at making it as a pro poker player.

2007 WSOP Win

Almost as soon as he’d turned 21, Mackey hit the poker scene, and caused a huge upset when he strolled into first place at the 2007 WSOP Event 22, a $5,000 buy in event. What most people write about is the fact that he won the tourney holding 10-2 off-suit, also known as Doyle Brunson’s hand.

It’s an extremely ballsy call considering his opponent held K-4 off-suit. Neither player hit the flop, but the turn and river both brought 10s, giving Mackey a $730,740 first place cash. Not bad for a 21 year old playing his first live tournament.

This was just the start of what has been a glowing career for James Mackey. Although his initial win remains his largest (so far), he has cashed another 4 times at WSOP events, and also at the World Poker Tour.

Successes Live and Online

He continues to play online poker, too. In 2007 he took down the PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP), cashing almost $600,000 from a buy in of just $1,000 + $50. At the time, this was the third biggest prize the site had ever paid out.

Mackey continues to play a profitable pro poker game today, with tournament earnings in excess of $1.7 million, not including what he wins in cash games. Definitely one to watch.