Jens Kyllönen is one of the greatest online poker players of all time. But the Finnish grinder is calling it quits so that he can pursue other endeavors.
Speaking with the Finnish tabloid Iltalehti, Kyllönen was actually thinking of retiring from work altogether thanks to his poker success and financial security. But the 27 year old has reconsidered and is instead studying towards a career in economics.
“Recently, the idea that I’ve been doing this [poker] for ten years, has risen to more ideas,” he said. “Life is, after all, quite short. It would be nice to try something else. It also one of the reasons why I decided to apply for the school.”
Other reasons for Kyllönen calling it quits include tougher players, less high stakes action, and the fact that he must play at night to participate in the best games. The latter cut into his time with his girlfriend, Nora.
Given that he’s stepping away from poker, let’s look back at 7 of Kyllönen’s noteworthy moments.
1. Dominating High Stakes Online Poker
Our first moment isn’t a single event, but rather a compilation of Kyllönen’s career dating back to 2010, when he was first spotted on the high stakes tables. The Finn has absolutely crushed online poker games, netting $5.2 million in PokerStars profits under the name ‘Jeans89’. Before Full Tilt disbanded their high stakes tables, he’d earned another $222k under ‘Ingenious89’. What stands out about Kyllönen’s career is that he’s never had a serious lull, as can be seen from his HighStakesDB graph. He won $4.3 million from January 2011 to July 2013, and, even with the game getting tougher, added $1 million more to his career profits since then.
2. Winning the 2016 WSOP $25k PLO High Roller
Kyllönen carved his career out in Pot-Limit Omaha games, winning an average of $8.22 per hand in PLO since HighStakesDB began tracking his high stakes action in 2011. Facing off against 183 of the world’s finest PLO players, the Finn navigated his way through the tricky field and towards the $1,127,035 top payout. In the end, he faced off against Tommy Le (2nd, $696,558) and took him down to earn a WSOP gold bracelet. The prize boosted his career live tournament winnings to $2,822,256, which doesn’t look to increase any time soon.
3. Buying into the 2012 WSOP Big One for One Drop with His Own Money
The 2012 WSOP Big One for One Drop was a chance for well-funded pros to chase the biggest poker prizes in history. Of course, with a $1 million buy-in, pretty much every poker pro looked for backing/investors to avoid risking the full amount themselves. Confident in his abilities, Kyllönen was the only player who paid the entire $1 million buy-in with his own money. This turned out to be a bad move in hindsight, considering that he was the third player to bust out. But it was still a memorable moment, and the single most that a player has paid by themselves to enter a tourney.
4. Paying $200,000 for an Outer-Space Trip
Kyllönen’s bank account was quite large in 2012, given that he also signed up for the Virgin Atlantic outer-space trip in ‘12. He paid $200,000 to be among the 400 people who reserved their spot, but it was an experience that he couldn’t pass up. According to Kyllönen, the flights were supposed to take off in 2016, but there was a crash and a pilot died. As the 400th person on the waiting list, he’s scheduled to take off later this year.
5. Winning 2009 EPT Copenhagen
We include Kyllönen’s EPT Copenhagen victory on this list because it’s the win that accelerated what would be one of the finest online poker careers in history. Just 19 years old at the time, he fought through a 462-player tournament field to win the first-place prize of $1,120,815. This not only made Kyllönen one of the youngest-ever EPT champions, but also gave him the funds to move up the internet poker ladder, where he made his name.
6. Somebody Breaking Into Kyllönen’s Hotel Room and Hacking His Laptop
This isn’t one of the fondest memories of the Finn’s poker career, but one worth discussing nonetheless. In 2013, Kyllönen had a spooky incident where somebody broke into his hotel room during the 2013 EPT Barcelona event. Based on the fact that his laptop was missing when he entered the room, then returned when he came back with hotel security, Kyllönen deduced that somebody was hiding in his room the first time. The perpetrators keylogged his computer in an attempt to steal banking information. Luckily, Kyllönen took his computer to an expert who notified him of the problem before he used the computer.
7. Winning $1 Million in One Night of Online Poker
While most of Kyllönen’s winnings came via PokerStars, he also had a $1 million night on Full Tilt’s $300/$600 tables. “There was this big fish playing and I basically got to keep him to myself and I just ran really well,” he said. “That’s something I won’t forget. It was post Black Friday, so it was stressful to see if I could get the money off Full Tilt. But luckily the money got into my bank account.”
It appears that the poker memories end here for Jens Kyllönen. But seeing as how some players have come back after retiring, it’s possible that we may see him playing poker again. But for now, his sights are set on a budding finance career.