An alternate in the $1.5k NLH event kicking off Saturday, Jim Meehan laid on the ground munching on pizza. "Not trying to be rude," he said between bites. "I'm just trying to eat a bit."
He was born and raised in Minnesota and splits his time between St. Paul and Las Vegas. "I've been coming out here since 1995," he said. "People played back home, but nothing like this kind of money.
His first cash was a runner-up finish ($115,800) in the 1997 $3k LH event, but 2003 was his big year. He made two Final Tables, taking down the $2k NLH event ($280,100) over a final table that included Kathy Liebert, Mike Sexton, Bruce Van Horn, and young versions of Juha Helppi and Antonio Esfandiari. "I should have won five bracelets that year," he said. "I finished 1st, 3rd, 8th then 19th and 23rd in two events that paid the final two tables. I donked off my chips in the Main Event because I was just exhausted." His secret for making a World Series run like that? "I guess I just needed the money more then."
"It wasn't a fluke though. I made two final tables in 2004 and another in 2005." Jim spends most of his time away from poker now. "I don't play much anymore; I don't really need the money. I spend most of my time doing yard work and playing with the dogs. We got four new whippets around Christmas." That brings the total to six whippets, the small version of greyhound. "They are a bit energetic, but they're a lot of fun."
Jim Meehan's World Series Cashes:
1997 $3k LH (2nd $115,800)
1999 $2.5k LO (3rd $26,000)
2002 $1.5k PLO (12th $5,780)
2003 $1.5k Omaha Hi/Lo (8th $7,220)
2003 $3k LH (3rd $40,880)
2003 $2k NLH (1st $280,100)
2004 $2k LH (5th $31,680)
2004 $1.5k Omaha Hi/Lo (5th $30,960)
2005 $1.5k Omaha Hi/Lo (6th $48,230)
2005 $2k NLH (93rd 2,840)
2005 $1.5k LH Shootout (10th $6,830)
2005 $1k Seniors NLH (52nd $1,800)
2005 $10k NLH Main Event (195th $39,075)
2006 $2k Omaha Hi/Lo (58th $2,439)
2007 $1.5k LH (75th $2,795)
Jim has four boys and has been married for over thirty years. "It takes a special woman to be married to a gambler," Jim said. "I can name ten world champions who are dead broke. The ugly underbelly of poker is that 25% of the people here are stone cold degenerates."
As his alternate table was seated in the Amazon Room, I asked him about his grandchildren. He had said he had two great-grandchildren earlier, but I thought he must have meant grandchildren. "One boy and one girl," he said.
"Grandchildren or great-grandchildren?" I asked.
"Grandchildren!" Jim exclaimed as the table's attention switched from the all-in to our conversation. "How old do you think I am?" Erica Schoenberg grinned from the 9s, and the rest of the table laughed along. And "Minneapolis" Jim Meehan chatted away, playing the role of the wacky eccentric as he left his whippets scamper away from his mind, ready to take chips from these dreamers at Table 417.