An hour and a half late to work that morning was not going to be good after starting a new job. Ron Mici was glad he had an understanding boss. The 25-year-old from the Bronx, N.Y., wasn’t stuck in traffic early that morning on Sept. 10. And he didn’t oversleep or forget to set his alarm.
On a whim, Mici had jumped in a poker tournament at 10 a.m. the day before and was not just running deep — a chance at winning was in sight. When it was over, Mici split the top prize with one other player for $5,600 each.
His heads-up battle wasn’t quite over, however. The event was part of the Moneymaker Tour, and Mici took home a $30,000 PokerStars Players NL Hold’em Championship (PSPC) Platinum Pass for the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in January. The package includes a $25,000 buy-in to the tournament, six nights’ accommodation at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas, and travel expenses.
“I had actually been taking a break from poker for a little while,” Mici told USPoker. “Some friends asked me to go the tournament at the Foxwoods and I decided to hop back in. I just had a really good feeling, a really good vibe.”
Small buy-in, big score
Those instincts were razor-sharp and it was quite a score in a tournament that featured an $86 buy-in and 1,300 entries. While it was a thrill to come out on top and earn the Platinum Pass, Mici was overtaken by fatigue a bit more than jubilation. Any thoughts of a celebration would certainly have to wait.
“I was so tired honestly, and I had to get work within a couple hours,” he says. “I just couldn’t believe it. It was so cool. You’re always hoping to get far in a tournament and it’s always hard with variance, luck, and everything else against you. I was very patient. I feel like it was my time I guess because I’ve been in so many and been cashing a lot, so it was just an amazing feeling.”
As he battled for the Platinum Pass, friends were “going crazy,” he says, as he battled it out. That exuberance only increased after he won. Even friends, family, and co-workers who knew nothing about poker were blown away by his achievement.
“Everybody’s just been going nuts,” he says. “Everyone’s happy and waiting for January just like me. I really didn’t expect all this.”
Luckily, Mici was also able to hang on to his security job at a Modell’s Sporting Goods warehouse.
“I told him the whole situation – that I play poker, I was in a tournament, there was so much on the line, and that there was no way I could miss it,” he says. “He understood and was very fair about it, thank God. He was excited for me as well. It worked out perfect.”
His boss may have been understanding, but work was definitely a struggle that morning when he finally did make it in.
“I was exhausted,” he says. “I was literally following out of my chair. My eyelids felt like they weighed 10,000 pounds. It was insane.”
No stranger to hard work, Mici also works as a janitor. However, he now has big goals to make some money in poker. The Platinum Pass seems like a perfect opportunity and he’s thrilled with the chance to play on such a big stage.
“I want a career in poker now,” he says. “That’s my goal, that’s been my dream ever since I was a teenager and I saw what you can do with poker – the outcomes, the lifestyle, everything. It’s something anybody would want.”
In high school, Mici enjoyed sports and hanging out with friends. He got into poker right after graduation when he got the chance to attend a game of some friends’ at a small studio apartment in New York. He was reluctant at first, but friends explained the game to him as the group of rounders played for low stakes.
Little by little, Mici began winning some cash here or there as he began to get a feel for the game. He was also having fun and soon hooked on the action.
“I was blown away,” he says of those early years playing the game. “It just clicked right away, even as teenager.”
When not playing poker, Mici likes hitting the gym, dining with friends, and traveling around to different attractions in New York City. But poker is taking up more of his time now after he started playing again.
Poker in paradise
After landing in Nassau, it will be serious business for Mici. This will not just be a vacation of chilling at the beach. He wants to make that Platinum Pass count – and a little luck and positivity could really help too.
“I’ve got my own game plan,” he says. “I’m just really going to try and play my game – not too tight and see as many flops as I can. But at the same time fold as many hands as I need to and hopefully run good. I’m just hoping that momentum is on my side when it comes to the cards.”
As of now, the PCA seems like its taking forever to get here for him. One friend will be heading to the tropics with him to cheer him on. Until then Mici will work on his game a bit — and he’s anxious for those cards to get in the air.
“I can’t wait for that moment to come,” he says. “I’m the up-and-coming kid, the underdog. They better be ready for me – and hopefully I’ll make a big name for myself.”
Images courtesy of PokerStars