What's up everyone? Thanks for checking this out. I haven't written in several months. I continue to struggle with writer's block. I'm shaking my head wondering where I got the inspiration to write as often as I did in years past. As I write this, I'm in an apartment in Barcelona, Spain with two of my friends Jonathan Little and Byron Kaverman. We're competing in a European Poker Tour tournament series that's being hosted in this spectacular city. We're preparing for tomorrow's €10300 ($13,600) buy-in highroller tournament that should be a lot of fun.
I once said that of the places I've been, Berlin was my all-time favorite. Barca might get that nod now. Incidentally, I was here in 2006 but was way too young, immature and preoccupied with poker to appreciate the place. When Sunday comes around it is going to be very hard to leave.
Since my post five months ago, life as a whole has been great. My personal poker results in that time have been just okay, but fortunately I've been on the right side of some poker related business. I don't put a ton of stock in the actual results of the tournaments I play, if you can believe that. I of course want to win as much as anyone, but I have adopted the mindset that my job is simply to go to the casino and make the best possible decisions. Then, one hopes to be on the right side of variance. One of the main differences I see between the very top, long-time tournament players versus those aspiring to be there is that the top guys understand this. I'll add that it is quite liberating.
In the Spring, I played a couple live tournament series in Jacksonville, FL and Montreal, Canada with a little success, and then I got crushed playing the online SCOOP (Spring Championship of Online Poker) on Pokerstars before taking some downtime at my condo in Birmingham, AL.
While in the south, my friend Jeff and I attended the NCAA Men's Basketball National Championship in Atlanta which was an out of this world experience.
I spent 50 days in the desert of Las Vegas playing the World Series of Poker. This marked the eighth consecutive summer I've spent in that city. The WSOP is something that every casual poker player must experience at some point in his or her life. Each summer, tens of thousands of people flock there and eat, breathe, and sleep poker for the length of their stay. It has become such a production, and I think that everyone involved in putting it on did a first rate job. The WSOP experiences I've had while living with my best friends in Vegas are easily the most memorable of my career. Poker can be deflating at times, but those times are easy to forget about when you're surrounded by positive-thinking people like the guys I know. Perspective is everything.
(Photo from Osaka, Japan. From left: me, Mike Katz, Adam Geyer, Jesse Yaginuma)
My 2013 WSOP was relatively breakeven despite five cashes including an unofficial final table 7th place finish in the marquee $25,000 six-handed event for what looked on paper to be $130,000. For one of the only handful of times in my career, I sold some action to this tournament. Additionally, I swapped percentages with other individuals. These are both extremely common practices in our world of tournament poker that go almost completely hidden from the public eye. Take these things into consideration plus the mounting buy-ins in tournaments in which I did not cash, that figure starts to be pulled back down to $0. I had the opportunity to play the $111,111 buy-in One Drop event and took a decent percentage of myself. I did not cash in the event.
In the aforementioned $25k event, I was really close to victory and the $1.2 million dollar first prize. In what is kind of the story of my live tournament career, it was another near miss. One of the world's best poker players, Phil Galfond (pictured together below) and I played an unavoidable coinflip for the chiplead and hundreds of thousands of dollars of equity, and I was on the wrong side. The difference between 7th and 1st in that event is obviously a mindboggling amount of money. But at the risk of sounding arrogant, I'm in no position to complain about my luck. Coming so close over and over again can be frustrating, but I am at peace with it. I'm really hungry and focused as I still seek my first major tournament title almost 8 years later.
After the grind of Vegas, I took some much needed downtime in Birmingham. I caught a Braves game in Atlanta, attended my childhood friend Scott's wedding, and went to Destin, FL for a weekend with my mom. While in Birmingham, I was introduced to Bikram Yoga which I cannot recommend more highly. I hope to get back into it when I get some spare time. I also attended my 10 year high school reunion and had a blast with old friends in a night I'll never forget.
So here I am back to traveling. Our Barcelona trip is on the heels of a trip in South Florida where my friends and I played in a huge record-breaking tournament. I finished in the money of that tournament and was eliminated in the money in the Main Event here in Barca earlier today. Both cashes were insignificant, but I like that I'm putting myself in a position to make things happen.
On Sunday, Byron and I are headed up to Stockholm, Sweden where we'll rent an apartment and make home for a little over three weeks while we compete in the World Championship of Online Poker. Due to some changes from a couple years ago, we can no longer play on the major online poker sites in The United States. Hundreds of top American poker players have now relocated full-time outside the country or spend significant time in other countries to work. Byron and I were in the unique situation of choosing anywhere in Europe (barring Spain, France, and Italy for similar reasons) to set up while we await our next live tournament series in London. Having both traveled a lot, we wanted to choose somewhere we hadn't been. After some debate we settled on the Scandinavian city. I'm loving being back living a sort of European lifestyle as this marks my third straight Fall spent on the continent. I simply cannot get enough of it. I'm trying my very best to stay present in order to make the most of each moment.