EPT Barcelona: Nuijten drops in

September 06, 2009

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There’s an oft-heard tale in poker circles of a young university student taking up the game in between lectures, qualifying for a major tournament, winning it, deciding that those lectures aren’t necessarily as profitable as what he gets up to in his spare time and so giving them up to turn pro. If we’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it nine times. It’s that common.

What’s more unusual is the story of Julien Nuijten.

Nuijten is a former Magic: The Gathering world champion (the youngest in the game’s history in fact) and a poker pro of some repute. We first met him a couple of years ago in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the first event on the Latin American Poker Tour.

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Julien Nuijten

Nuijten was on a trip around the area with a couple of friends but took a shot at the poker tournament and took it down, effortlessly translating his online game to the live environment, and hatching plans to move to Dublin, Ireland, to play full time.

“It’s not like it wasn’t going well,” Nuijten said of that period as a professional. “But I read a couple of sociology books and thought that was more interesting.”

With that, Nuijten decided to become a college drop in. After a couple of years at the top of the online game, he simply decided that a full time poker career wasn’t necessarily where he was going to find his life’s inspiration, so went to study in Amsterdam. He started degree classes in the past week, but has come to Barcelona for a planned vacation and decided to have a quick return to the poker tables.

Until a huge accident during the last level on day 1a, it was going very well indeed. Nuijten was one of the chip leaders for much of the day, but then discovered that pocket aces were less good than pocket fives when a third five came on the turn. That pegged him back to about 70,000 overnight, which is what he unbagged today.

He’s still definitely a player worth watching though, and is a member of another extremely strong Dutch contingent in Barcelona. Jorn Walthaus and Joep Van Den Bijgaart remain, and are on the same table. And there’s always Noah Boeken, also doing extremely well.

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