Jim got his start playing poker in sleazy, smokey, backroom games while in high school. Jim was the high school chess champ and enjoyed playing five challengers at the same time. Poker was a natural fit for his skills. The games he enjoyed the most were 7 Card Stud and 3 Card Guts. "The guys running the game were always cheating. They would constantly switch the decks. It actually made me a better player, because I had to keep an eye on everything going on around me."
While in college, Jim continued playing poker and making nice money on the side. However, an event took place that caused him to give up poker for 30 years. "I was playing in a friendly home game and I had just wiped out a husband and his wife. I didn't think anything about because it wasn't a lot of money. However, I went to the rest room and saw them embracing each other and crying in the adjacent room. I felt so guilty, that I took all the money I had won, tossed it on the kitchen table and left." That was the end of Jim's poker days.
Thirty-two years later, Jim had just undergone simultaneous shoulder and knee surgery. It was his fourth shoulder surgery, but this time they added a second knee surgery. As a competitor Jim had always pushed his body hard to compete, but this time he decided he needed a different way to fulfill his competitive nature.
Jim mobility was limited so he began playing online poker. The thrill was back. Shortly thereafter, Jim began driving to Oklahoma to play at the Winstar. He didn't care much for the cash games and rarely plays them today, but he fell in love with the Friday tournaments.
In 2008 Jim entered the Winstar River Poker Tournament. Jim beat out 1494 other players to win the grand prize of $700,000.00. Poker Player Newspaper describes Jim this way, "throughout the final table, Jim Carroll had been the comedian in the group. He chatted and joked with the announcer, pulled a few pranks, and brushed off the final table intensity with lighthearted jokes and comments while portraying the image of a passive, conservative player. When heads-up play began, Jim flawlessly switched gears and became the aggressor, retaining his affable facade all the while."
Jim believes that God is with him at every poker table. Just like he believe God is with him at all walks at life. While Jim was going through his divorce, he won the $700,000.00. Half of the money went to his Ex, but Jim didn't mind. "I feel like God favored me during the poker tournament allowed me to win." Jim shares his experiences playing poker from a Christian perspective. "Poker can be one of the greatest learning experiences in life. It's a great place for hard life lessons."
Jim calls his style of play, blind donkey style. It is a very baffling for other players observing as it is based on big rewards for strategically small risks and gutsy bluffs. The playing style doesn't get much respect among players, and Jim isn't going to explain to them, but the results are unquestioningly successful with 1.3 million in winnings.