There aren’t many things more mundane than being stuck in the carriage of an already delayed train that’s stopped moving. For UK rail users, this is, unfortunately, a regular scenario. Some people put their headphones in and daydream. Others drift off entirely and hope they’ve reached their destination by the time they wake up.
Guy “temp0r2k” Taylor decided to play online poker. After all, not only was it a Sunday, but it was the first day of the Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) 2022. A delayed train home wasn’t going to stop him from getting in the mix.
Taylor was heading to his home near Peterborough after a “crap day of live poker” when he decided to fire the Sunday Million SCOOP edition on his iPad. Three bullets later, he had nothing to show for it. But he was still in the SCOOP 07-M: $215 NLHE [7-Max, Turbo, Progressive KO, Sunday Cooldown] and had a big stack and lots of bounties.
“I played the first three hours of it on my iPad stuck on the train in the middle of nowhere,” he says a couple of days after the win. “Then I was playing on my phone in the back of a taxi.”
It was around midnight when he finally made it home and hopped onto his PC to close out the tournament. Then, to throw one more obstacle in his way, his internet cut out.
“I got disconnected when I was down to eight bigs,” he says. “I’d just torched my chip lead and I was 11th of 12 players left. I disconnected and missed my blinds and I must have had a massive bounty on my head relative to the field.”
Still, the Poker Gods seemed to admire the struggle because Taylor managed to fight his way back and take down his first SCOOP title for $39,152 (including bounties).
Got in KK vs QQ & JJ for chiplead of some silly live comp and came last, so got the delayed train home and decided to win my first SCOOP title. Fuck the lot of yous 💩🤠🥇💰 #SCOOP2022 #pokerstars pic.twitter.com/TWUzP6WZ54
— TaylorMadePoker (@taylormadepoker) May 9, 2022
“It’s absolutely ridiculous the things that had to come together to get this win,” he says. “It was completely obscene, completely surreal, you know? I’ve had some big wins in the last couple of years but that was the first time I’ve actually had that moment where it’s like, wait, did that just happen?”
While Taylor has been a professional poker player for the past eight years, he’s actually been making regular money from the game since he was 18, when he first decided to go to university. Seven years later, he graduated with a PhD in psychology but never sought work in that field. He’s been a poker pro ever since.
“I was probably better than I gave myself credit for when I was at uni,” he says. “I probably could have turned pro but I just didn’t. It was a fear of failure, I think. But when I finished my degree I knew I had to give it ago and I’ve never looked back.”
He might not use his degree for work, but it’s certainly helped him throughout his poker career. He says it helps him understand his emotions and his ego, and how these things can be detrimental to his poker game. “I’ve always taken things really slowly in poker,” he says. “I try not to get ahead of myself. My longevity in poker is definitely down to bankroll management.”
He now has $628K in live cashes to date, and once won $220K in the Sunday Million. He’s reached both SCOOP and WCOOP final tables in the past, narrowly missing out on his first SCOOP title back in 2020 when he finished runner-up in a $55 Midweek Freeze event for $46K.
But no other result compares with this SCOOP title.
“This is definitely the most satisfying win of my career,” he says. “I certainly played my best poker in this tournament and I know I’m playing insanely well right now as I’ve been studying stupidly hard in the run-up to SCOOP. It’s infinitely harder to win a SCOOP title than some of the live tournaments I’ve won and it’s much more satisfying to know it’s a product of hard work.”
The only downside to his maiden SCOOP victory is that–because of his tumultuous journey home and the internet issues he faced once he got there–he couldn’t stream it on his Twitch channel: TaylorMadePoker.
Taylor started streaming back in 2016 after a nasty ankle injury left him housebound for two months straight. “People told me they enjoyed it and I found it fun, but to be honest, back then, I didn’t see the long term benefit of Twitch, so I stopped doing it. If only I had kept going, I could be a bloody PokerStars streamer at this point! But it is what it is.”
It wasn’t until the lockdowns came into action in 2020 that he decided to fire up the stream once again.
“It felt like it was going to be a very lonely grind and I knew that if I streamed, I would have to be accountable,” he says. “I knew I would never just punt off on stream. I just needed a way to motivate myself and keep myself focused in these long sessions. I get a lot of motivation from the chat.”
But right now, poker and socialising take priority over Twitch streaming in Taylor’s life. He knows that building a big audience on Twitch takes consistency, and that’s not something he’s able to offer at the moment.
“I play in a lot of big live cash games that run sporadically, and now that everything has opened up again I don’t want to turn down any social opportunities,” he says. “Right now I’m treating Twitch as something I’ll do when I make a big final table.”
But don’t be surprised to see Taylor in the mix should the PokerStars Dare2Stream promotion ever run again.
“I remember seeing the prizes for the last one and thinking wow, that is amazing,” he says. “But the competition ran just as I was in the middle of playing some live games consistently. I know how competitive it is but it’s a major opportunity and if I’m back in the Twitch groove later this year then I’ll be going for it, for sure.”