Jules 'Hartwith' Adamson
Monday, 6 July 2009
With over $600,000 in accumulated tournament winnings Jules Adamson is undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with. However, despite being only 23 years old, it has been no silky smooth journey for the lad.
Around three and a half years ago, having just spent a two-hour car journey in both eager anticipation and dread, I arrived at a rather unattractive building beyond the Bristol Downs in search for my university abode. When I finally located my room, or cell as it would be more suitably referred to considering it was about the size of a bath tub, I dumped my bags on the floor and proceeded to snoop around.
My parents, who had driven me down from London, stood in the doorway looking confused over whether to laugh or be angry that they were paying a year’s accommodation fees for me to live in a loo cubicle. Eventually they said their goodbyes; a procedure carried out with a familiar empathy that hinted to years of experience of disposing of their children to new educational establishments, and left me alone to reflect on the next three years of my life as a university student.
Indeed, that day marked the beginning of an entertaining three-year spell. One, I might add, that became a constant struggle to keep a balance between an overriding commitment to getting a good degree and a mild yet controlled newfound poker addiction (not to mention a not-so-controlled Playstation addiction).
Anyhow, one day I was playing an online tournament on Ladbrokes and I got talking to a player sat next to me who went by the name of Hartwith. Within no time we realised that we were both in our first year of study at Bristol Uni and that his halls were only five minutes away from mine. Hartwith turned out to be Jules Adamson and in the months that proceeded I saw him win a number of tournaments online and make several large cashes. Then, after the first year at Bristol, he disappeared and only until recently (three years later), when looking at tournament results online, did I see Hartwith’s name again: popping up for a 2nd place finish in the PokerStars Sunday Million. I decided to catch up with him to see how he was getting along. Turns out the guy has amassed over $600,000 in tournament winnings!
When did you start playing poker online?
I started playing in my gap year after watching my brother in law, who still plays professionally to this day.
He is a cash game grinder and normally plays 8-12 tables ranging between 2/4 and 5/10. I have a lot of respect, not only for his game but for his dedicated attitude that he shows towards poker
Tough game – the cash grind.
You hear about poker 'pros' all the time, but in reality there are very few of them who have the dedication and mindset to win year in year out
Were you a winning player from the beginning?
Not at all, it took until the night before I started Bristol to book a decent win for 12k on Ladbrokes. Up until then I reckon I was perhaps £2k down, which at the time was a lot of money.
Did you spend it all on your first night out in Bristol?
Hahaha. That first term was excellent. I think I won close to $50k that term, but by January I was broke
Oh, bad bank roll management?
Naturally, poker players fall off the map quicker than they get on it as a result of not playing within their bankroll, I confess to being one of them.
When we 'met' online you seemed to have already established yourself as a popular figure on Ladbrokes...how did that come about?
There was a great community on Ladbrokes and I was quickly 'embraced', if u like, as the new young face
Did you meet any of the regulars at live events?
I played a lot live over that 1st year, more so that year than any other since and I met a lot of the community during that time, it was certainly the most educational year - poker wise – as I was able to learn and share a lot with everyone.
So what happened to your studies at university?
As a result of winning so much so fast, I became less interested in studying and more focused on the money. It was a naive stage of my life and one that I am glad I learnt from. As a result I failed uni and was kicked out.
What did you do after that?
I dropped out for an entire year and focussed on poker, went broke several times, it was a dark period of my life. I used to sit around the house, alone and broke, not something anyone should have to experience at the age of 20.
Best not to go into too much detail then...how did you get out of the slump?
My dad convinced me to get a job, so I got a waitering job for 6 months at minimum wage. This was the kick up the backside I needed. I knew then that I needed to buck up my ideas so I enrolled at a new university and am now back on the road to recovery. 2009 has been my best year to date.
You have made some big cashes recently, noticeably in the Sunday Million and the FTOPS Main Event, tell us about those?
2009 started well. I had a couple of $15k cashes before the 1st great moment of the year.
To give this some history, anyone who knows me will tell you I’ve gone deep in the Sunday million on PokerStars more often than anyone without winning it; I was beginning to think I was cursed. Then in February I finished 2nd for $140K
I recall staring at the screen at 9am and just smiling for about 30 minutes. I was in my university halls at the time and I went and woke up everyone that knew about my poker, it was an awesome moment.
So, being Hartwith, I threw a few parties and wasted quite a lot of cash on alcohol in clubs. But tbh, it didn’t matter, I was finally enjoying myself after 2 years of bad times.
Rightly so...no point stashing it away
For the next 2 months I barely played, I was having too much fun until I sat down one Sunday at my friend’s house and came 4th in the FTOP’s Main event.
If anything this was less enjoyable as I found the final table very soft and lost a coin toss when I was 4-handed for 1/2 the chips in play. 1st was 450k. Obviously I wasn’t too downhearted because I won over $130K, but I really felt at the time I should have wrapped that up.
What are your tactics in these large field tournaments?
Early on, I play a lot of hands cheaply, ones that have the possibility of making big pots - a lot of suited connectors etc. I’m very good at accumulating chips early, and once I have a big stack I’m hard to play against because I take an aggressive stance. What I need to improve on is when I have between 15-30bbs, that’s a flaw I’d like to iron out quickly. It’s a very tricky spot that very few players are good at.
Have you made the transition to live play? Was it easy?
If anything I prefer live poker and it’s a shame I haven’t had the chance to play more live. This will be my 1st Vegas experience and I can’t wait. I’ve set myself a budget of $40k so we’ll see how it goes!
What events are you planning on playing and why?
I get there on the 25th and there are 4/5 events I want to play, notably the Main Event, the $5k 6max and the $3k triple chance. I'd love to be able to play a few PLO events but unfortunately my diary didn’t accommodate for any of those, so it'll be all hold’em. My choice of events is unfortunately limited as I only recently finished uni. I would have loved to have gone earlier.
How have you planned your trip considering you have never been before?
I'm staying with a friend who has a house out there and obviously I know a lot of the players already out there, so although I’m nervous, I don’t foresee any major pitfalls ahead.
Who do you know out there?
I am good friends with John Tabatabai and I know a lot of the UK pros, Marc Goodwin etc
Parties, girls, gambling, with a bit of poker on the side or will you be very focused?
Hahahaha, with the crew I’m going there with I think the parties might take precedence. No, but certainly for the Main Event and the 5k 6maxz I’ll be very focussed.
How will you prepare? Bath and an early night?
I need very little sleep, I can go 2/3 days without sleep which is perhaps my greatest benefit for poker, but certainly the night before the ME, I’ll be in bed before midnight.
I’ll try to eat well too. And I smoke a shit load which helps with the stress of poker
Have you got a game plan for the ME?
Yeh smoke at least 2 packs a day for the tournament
So, providing you don't go broke in Vegas...will you be turning to poker when you finish Uni?
I doubt it, I’ve been around the poker scene for enough time now to realise its an unhealthy existence, having said that if I win $10m, who's to say!
What if you get offered sponsorship?
Good question, I'd love to spend a year doing the tournament trail across the world, but I can’t see myself dedicating to it long term.
So...a move into the city maybe?
I think so, I’m very entrepreneurial like my dad, so ideally I’d like to have my own company. I hate the idea of working 9-5 for 40 years in a job that doesn’t interest me
But you will continue to dabble online?
Sure, but I wouldn't let it get in the way of my job like I did in my 1st year at Bristol
So you think it will just remain a hobby?
Don’t get me wrong, I love the game, and id love to win enough to give me financial stability for the rest of my life, but realistically, very few achieve such goals in poker.
I don’t want to have a wife and 3 kids, waiting for next big poker win to pay the mortgage.
Well we wish you all the best of luck in Vegas
Thanks a lot mate