Nicknamed "Cowboy", Kenna James is a professional poker player who currently resides in Los Angeles, California.
Born in 1963 in Chicago, Illinois, Kenna studied drama in college and eventually moved to Los Angeles to become an actor. While he had some success and appeared in a few TV shows, he had to support himself by working side jobs. One of these jobs was as a dealer at Hollywood Park Casino in Los Angeles in 1996, which served as his introduction to poker. After a few months he became a tournament director for Hollywood and, in 1999, began directing tournaments internationally. He helped to organize and run the first major poker tournament at the Cosmos Casino Hotel in Moscow, Russia.
During this time as a casino employee, he also started playing low-limit hold’em and was slowly moving up in stakes as a player while also starting to play low buy-in tournaments around southern California. After only a few wins in local events and only a few years of playing low-limit games, he turned pro and took a job as a prop player at Crystal Park Casino in LA in 1999.
Kenna's first WSOP cash came in 2001 and his first major tournament win came in 2002 at $200 Limit Hold'em Grand Slam of Poker for $ 65,740.
In 2003, he won the $2,500 Limit Hold'em event at the Bellagio Five Diamond World Poker Classic, earning $156,168 after being very shortstacked.
In 2004 he finished in 9th place at the 2004 WPT Doyle Brunson North American Poker Championship earning $42,000.His run continued with a final table at the Monte Carlo Millions and the Aussie Millions main events. Earning over a million dollars in consecutive years in 2005-2006 established Kenna as one of the premiere poker pros on tour. Kenna has traveled the world many times over playing and directing poker. Winning over a million dollars in major tournaments around the world.
The years from 2005-2006 were a huge time for James. In July 2005 he finished 44th in the WSOP main event for $ 235,390. In August 2005, he finished in 2nd place at the WPT Legends of Poker $5,000 No Limit hold 'em tournament, earning $588,210. In November 2005 he finished 7th in the Monte Carlo Millions $25,000 no-limit hold 'em event for $100,000. In January 2006 he finished 9th at the Aussie Millions for $ 61,271. In February 2006 he came in 1st by beating Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi at the LA Poker Classic for the $242,000 1st prize. Then he came in 2nd in the Party Poker Million tournament for $700,000.
In 2009 he came in 7th at the WPT Foxwoods World Poker Finals for $132,855.
Kenna James is one of the most well-liked players in the poker world today because of his positive attitude and generous spirit. He donates some of his tournament winnings to charity. While away from the t able, he hosted various poker broadcasts, taught at the World Poker Tour Boot Camps, and done private coaching.
As of 2009, he has 21 WSOP cashes and total live tournament winnings exceed $3,000,000. Kenna is also the resident poker pro at Sun Poker.
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