Poker Pro Jesse Lonis Getting the Attention He Deserves

4 min read

Jesse Lonis is having such a great year at the poker table, his local newspaper noticed.

Jesse Lonis
Jesse Lonis at the $3,500 WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Championship at Seminole Hard Rock. (Image: WPT)

As a former local newspaper man, it’s always fun for me to see how community papers handle interviewing professional poker players who sprouted from their small towns and got rich and poker famous. Denise Louise Gregorka did a bang-up job in a detailed feature-length profile on Jesse Lonis for My Little Falls, the local paper that covers several towns in New York State.

Lonis is a 28 year-old pro who is a regular on the tournament circuit, most recently on the high stakes tour. According to the Hendon Mob, he’s cashed 58 times in 2023 (58!) and has more than $6 million in winnings. If he destroys at this month’s WPT World Championships, he has a chance to win the GPI Player of the Year (he currently sits in 8th place, about 1,000 points behind leader Bin Weng).

Gregorka caught up with the 2013 Homecoming King over Thanksgiving. Her story starts with Lonis’ childhood, where he says he grew up “on the poorer side,” and has a handful of insightful tidbits like the following:

“If it was luck, then every different day, someone else would win. Eighty or ninety percent of the time, I am going to beat that person. It is a skill game, for sure. There is luck involved in certain spots, but luck is only a short-term thing. The math and the percentages are gonna play out over the long term.

There are so many factors. It’s not just one, two, three things. It’s five hundred different things. There is always a way to get better at the game. Poker is the only game where you are not going against the casino. You are going against other people. It’s the only skill game for gambling.”

There’s also a baby picture and so much more. Check it out here.

Jesse’s incredible 2023

The scary thing — for the tournament grinders who look up to find Lonis at their table yet again — is he’s really just getting started. Athletes talk about putting their results on tape, and that’s exactly what Lonis has done since 2020 when he won his first World Series of Poker Circuit ring in a $400 event at Thunder Valley for $11,000.

It was the first of 101 WSOP cashes that brought him two bracelets and two rings. One of those bracelets also is his best tournament cash, and that happened just this summer in the $50,000 high roller 8-max event he took down for $2.1 million.

While he is making a splash on the high roller circuit, Lonis plays volume and can be found buying in tourneys as low as $600 — especially online, where he won his first WSOP bracelet in March, and in WSOP events all around the country.

But since 2022, he’s turned into a regular on the high stakes trail, where buy-ins pretty much start at $10,000. And he’s rolling.

He started 2023 with his best two cashes up to then: $367,400 for winning the $10,200 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, and $260,175 for a third-place finish in the $25,500 Lucky Hearts Poker Open.

Like usual, he kept his foot on the gas and played in as many events as possible, cashing 36 more times before winning the $50,000 WSOP High Roller in June.

He wasn’t finished there. Lonis got right back to work and made 10 final tables since then, including two wins in $10,400 events on the PokerGO Tour in October and November.

Here’s betting that Lonis finds himself visiting the cage at the Wynn at least a few times in the next several weeks at th WPT World Championships. And is he does, this article — as well as Gregorka’s — might be about a future Player of the Year.

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