It's been a good couple of months for Toby Lewis. Last month he won a FTOPS (Full Tilt Online Poker Series) event for $253,000, last weekend he watched his percentage of Tom "hitthehole" Middleton multiply into an EPT title, and just a couple of days ago Lewis won his second COOP for $189,379, which you can read about here.
Three years ago, Lewis won EPT Vilamoura beating Martin Jaocbson heads-up for €467,835 at a final table which included Sam Trickett, Teddy Sheringham, and EPT winners past and future Rob Hollink and Frederik Jensen. That was his first five-figure live tournament score of five. Add the $2m or so he's won live to the $3.5m odd that he's won online and that's a solid $5.5m in poker winnings. It's little surprise that Lewis is currently number one in the UK rankings on Pocket Fives. There must be a secret.
"I'm always striving to play better and eliminate mistakes but I still make plenty, my aims for now are to keep working hard and play my best," said Lewis. "I just try to play simply and not try to put myself into too many tough spots. Also, I try not to play as much because I've found I play and think better with a (better) life/poker balance."
Less a secret, more a process in action that appears to have suited Lewis well over the last five years or so, turning him from a low-limit live grinder into one of the most successful British players on the live and online circuits.
"In Southampton (where Lewis grew up), there used to be a couple places to play poker but only kind of small stuff; 1/1 or 1/2 cash games and £50 tourneys etc, so when I wanted to move up and play bigger I started travelling around the country following the tours. Ultimately that was the reason I made a move to London when I did, so travelling and playing live cash games in London, which is how I saw my poker going at the time, was easier," he said.
His poker career has turned out quite different from that kind of grind: he cashed in the €10,000 EPT High Roller last week and, so he tells us, we can expect to see him playing even more of those with this new bankroll boost. Not only that but, as PokerStars Head of Blogging Brad Willis points out here, Lewis only needs to take down a Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) title to be the first person to win the Triple-COOP (all three COOPs). Anyone can get lucky in one tournament but winning an EPT and the first ever Triple-COOP? That would be seal Lewis' name in the poker history books.
Rick Dacey is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.