Internet forum fans and major tournament junkies were familiar with the name Strassa2 long before Jason Strasse r became old enough to play in his first WSOP this summer. The 21-year old Duke University student had established himself as a force to be reckoned with in internet tournament circles, as well as cashes in tournaments aboard the Party Poker Million V cruise and a cash in the Pokerstars Caribbean Adventure in 2005. But this summer he exploded onto the scene at the World Series of Poker, final-tabling event #37, cashing in two other WSOP events and bringing in nearly $50K for his finish in the Main Event.
So why are we talking about a 21-year-old kid who didn't even make the final table? Here's a little perspective - to finish 169th Strasser outlasted more players than Greg Raymer and Joe Hachem combined. This year's field of 8,773 was by far the largest in history, and unlike some "prodigies" that come out of nowhere with quick success and fade into nothingness, Strasser continues to play and win on the biggest stages of online poker, most notable Pokerstars' World Championship of Online Poker, where he took down $442,440.00 as the winner of Event #10 playing from his dorm room in Durham, NC.
Strasser bested nearly 2,500 opponents in an epic 13+ hour tournament, one of the richest in Pokerstars history. With final table opponents from across the US and around the world including Barny Boatman from the UK, presumably the renowned British tourney pro and Hendon Mob member of the same name, who finished the tournament in 3rd place, netting a nice day's work in $155,345.00. After eliminating Boatman with a rivered Queen to best Boatman's pair of sixes, it took Strasser less than 15 minutes of heads-up play to secure his win and his WCOOP bracelet.
Brad "Otis" Willis on the Pokerstars blog had this to say about Strasser "I think Strasser is an exceptional example for his contemporaries. He represents a lot of what is good about online poker right now. While he's still young, his skill is undeniable. Though he's made major cashes for more than $600,000 this year alone, he is still respectful of the game and his place in it. His demeanor, maturity, and self-deprecating sense of place in poker is laudable. All are traits from which a lot of people, young and old, could learn."
After a WSOP featuring attempts at registering monkeys in the Main Event, young players taunting and throwing things at other players, and some general rudeness on the part of a number of players featured on WSOP broadcasts, it's nice to know that at least in one Duke dorm room, poker can still be a gentleman's game.