Jude Ainsworth, or j.thaddeus, has burst onto the Hold ‘Em tournament scene over the last few years. You’re just about as likely to know him by either name since he has that rare all-around tournament resume: wins in big events both online and live; both massive scores and frequent cashes.
His $2M+ poker career got started in everyman fashion. “Like a lot of people,” says Ainsworth, “I got into the game after watching ‘Late Night Poker.’ I bought a set of chips and started playing maybe once or twice a week with my friends.” Even in humble beginnings, though, he never experienced being in the lower percentiles of the competitive world of poker: “Even when I just started playing, I used to win more than my fair share.”
That was in 2006. Just two years later, he was reaping big rewards. He kicked things off in January by winning the 2008 Irish Poker Championships’ €2,000 buy-in event. The score had significance far beyond the monetary value, as it was a win in his hometown of Galway, Ireland. Then, just a few months after this explosion onto the live poker radar, he received his PhD in biochemistry. With a championship in his hometown, a $212,479 cash in the event alone and a terminal degree in biochemistry all in one year, it was difficult to expect things to go up from there.
But sure enough, the following year brought him his biggest cash to date, winning the 2009 PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker Main Event. The $10,300 buy-in event is one of the most prestigious in all of online poker, and the haul netted him nearly $1M. With the oft-elusive second big win under his belt, it was clear he was no one-and done, and he has been a mainstay of tournament cashes ever since.
Though the dollar amount of his WSOP cash later that year pales in comparison to the rest of his winnings, a top-100 finish in the premiere poker event is always nice for the live résumé.
Ainsworth knows no way but up, so he only sees the ways his reputation and bankroll can continue to improve. “My goals over the next few years are to win an EPT and WSOP title,” he says without a blink, “I hope I can accomplish both of them in my career.”
As a family man, his is not the only fortune he stakes with every buy-in. He’s married with two children, a daughter Mia and a son Kalen.
Of course, even with smarts and ambitions, the cards have their say on how far any player’s career goes. We will see how Jude Ainsworth ends up measuring up to his own expectations, but at the very least, we can know that we will be seeing his name for a long time.