William Tonking is the perfect picture of a young, professional poker player in this day and age. He’s been playing both live and online poker for real money since the moment he reached legal age to do so, and the statistics show exponential progress right from the start. Now 27, the New Jersey native finds himself in the best possible seat his profession has to offer – amid this year’s WSOP November Nine.
Tonking may not have the highest chip stack of the Main Event’s final table, but he’s consistently managed to stay above the elimination waters since the World Series of Poker Main Event first began, and the deeper he goes, the better he seems to get. He holds the 7th largest (aka 3rd smallest) stack of 15,050,000 chips, about 23 million less than the leader, Norwegian poker pro Jorryt van Hoof, and just 3.1 million higher than the low man on the totem pole, Bruno Politano of Brazil. In comment, Will Tonking credited his extensive experience at live cash games for getting him this deep, and while he’s incredibly pleased with his position, the American poker pro did admit that he will miss the anonymity he once had.
Up until the November Nine was formed, there weren’t many aware of who stood behind the online poker monikers “amazin_mets” and “WillTonk21”. He was just another name among the virtual felt – albeit one with 6-figures in cashes dating back to 2007, including a 1st place, $50k win on WSOP NJ just days before the start of the Main Event in Las Vegas. Now, with a minimum $730k guaranteed as a member of the elite November Nine, all who follow the pro poker world will know, and fear, his presence at the live and online poker tables.
Hailing from Flemington, NJ, Tonking’s intellectual supremacy was evident from a young age. Immediately after graduating high school, he attended the University of South Carolina. He was already enjoying success in social poker games, but escalated to live casino cash games and tournaments the moment he turned 21. He’s been tearing up the cash tables throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, as well as online poker rooms, ever since. His largest live tournament cash to date was at the 2012 Sands Deepstack Extravaganza where he finished 5th for $28,000. With a total of $92,885 in major live events, no matter where he finishes in the 2014 WSOP Main Event come November, his career earnings will skyrocket tremendously.
As for his online poker experience, Tonking spent five years competing at sites like Full Tilt Poker. In 2008, he racked up nearly $40k in tournament cashes, more than doubling his annual earnings to $85k in 2010. Before Black Friday in 2011, Tonking was a powerhouse at Full Tilt, finishing in 1st place 21 times before his American citizenship revoked his access to the site’s tables. While the field is much smaller in New Jersey, where online poker is still in its infancy, the American poker pro couldn’t be happier about the opportunity to once more pursue his career in a legal and regulated form over the internet.
2014 WSOP November Nine Players and Chip Counts
|Jorryt van Hoof||38,375,000||Netherlands|