Happy Days

It’s been a really happy weekend.

Friday I got back into the cockpit for the first time in 3.5 months and it felt wonderful. That night somebody asked me, “What’s it like for you up there?” The only way I could respond was, “Perfect.”

On our way back from the practice area, entering the traffic pattern downwind for runway two-seven left, I realized that not only was my instructor having me make all the radio calls in the pattern, but I was also doing all of the flying. He wasn’t on the controls. I’m pretty sure he knew that I had only landed once on my own, and that time I didn’t even know that I was on my own, and that time was three and a half months ago.

I tried to make my base turn when I came abeam of the numbers on the downwind. Corrected quickly, from there I did remarkably well, making base and final perfectly, making the runway right on glide path, holding it steady until, “Shit.” Not exactly the most friendly word to come out of a pilot’s mouth when feet above runway in a descending airplane. I managed, in a move taught to me by Rick Fuller, to literally bounce the airplane off the runway back into the air by landing nose wheel first and hard. Whoooops. I recovered nicely though and touched down smoothly almost immediately after and made the intended runway exit.

I’m pretty stoked about flying. I’m making it my goal to have my license finished by the end of the year. Remember the incredible journey to Canada via motorcycle? How sweet would the road trip be via airplane? O man I’m excited :-).

That night I headed to the Bellagio to meet Maria, Christina, and a couple of their girlfriends. Apparently the night before they were at Caramel, and the host told them that he’d comp them a bottle every night they came in. MBN2BEMaria.com. Free upgrades to the presidential suite, free bottles…

… however, the host wasn’t happy. What was once 4 beautiful women was now 4 beautiful women and me. Not a beautiful wo-man. Christina looks at the host, says to him, “You don’t know who that is? That’s Devo, he’s probably the most famous poker player in town.” LOL. I’m obv completely oblivious to this, but that’s the story given to me by giggling girls. The guy is like, “Really? Sweet. I’ll tell the waitress to hook it up.”

Now wtf. People wonder why I don’t like poker – and this is the reason. It’s the effed gambling culture really. The society of people intoxicated with money, fame, and image. Clubs. Etc. Hate it.

It is more fun to be Danny Masterson (whom until recently I’ve signed more autographs as than as myself) anyways. Too bad I don’t have the curls and/or beard to pull that one off anymore.

I left after two drinks, went home, and set my alarm for… uggggghhhh… 7:30am. Officially the earliest I have willingly woken up in Las Vegas. 2.5 years. I got to bed (and slept) by 1:30, and actually made it up and to the MGM by 8:05am. I was there for a WPT boot camp. I’ve been wanting to do these for a long time and finally decided to get the ball rolling. I loved it. I was stoked to be invited, and I loved teaching and speaking so much. I really do think that I’m a better teacher than a player, plus I get way more out of teaching than I do out of playing life-wise. I just thoroughly enjoy working with and helping people.

I left the MGM at 4pm and drove to San Diego. It was a great drive – the desert was beautiful and driving with the sun setting is always amazing. Oh, yeah… when driving from Vegas to or from LA/So-Cal, you should NEVER be passed on the right when it’s a two lane road. If you do, then it means that either you’re going too slow, you’re too ignorant to notice the car coming up faster behind you, or you’re too much of an asshole to care to move over. I’m not a speed freak or anything, I usually cruise at about 10 MPH over the limit, so I was going 80 most of the time. I probably passed 25 cars on their right. So, if you were passed by a green mustang headed south on the 15, I hope you break down 5 miles south of Zzyzx road on your way back to Vegas. /rant.

Saturday night I went to visit a friend of mine and share a bottle of wine. We ended up sitting there and doing nothing but chatting for four and a half hours. A good two and a half longer than I had anticipated being the conceivable maximum. It was amazing. It’s been a really really long time since I’ve done that and I really enjoyed it. I think that we as a culture don’t spend enough time connecting with people and building relationships in conversation. We manage to keep things on the surface and avoid getting intimate, heart to heart, and I bet if people just talked together more that there’d be way more strong relationships.

Sunday, effing Sunday. I made my deepest run in the Sunday Mirrion ever, ended up finishing a really disappointing 64th. I was seriously in the top 20 in chips from like 2000 runners out. I made a retarded mistake by not noticing that the player in the 7 seat was different than the player in that seat 10 hands earlier, and it cost me a bunch. in standard silly tournament fashion it managed to not matter, and then my crippling came in a bvb spot when I shipped it on his open with Q7dd for my first re-steal of the tournament basically, he called with AJ, I turned a Q and he rivered an A. I’ve been thinking about that tournament (and the one I played the next day… get to that in a sec) a lot, and I’ve learned much about the current state of poker and what is optimal, and I definitely think I spewed in those pre-flop spots too much. People simply aren’t folding anymore, nor are they opening light as much anymore.

So, small winning session Sunday, won some in cash games Sunday night, and then played one tourney and some cash games Monday. I 3-tabled 2-4 PLO, made about $500, and made the final table in the tourney. I think I spewed on this one again, re-stealing BvB, in a spot that I just didn’t need to do. What used to be good spots aren’t good spots anymore imo. So I took 6th, but it felt good to make a FT for the first time in literally months.

Last night I drove up to La Jolla for some dinner and got lost on the way. We ended up driving around the hills south of the cove, lost amongst beautiful houses as the sun was setting. We kept making our way down towards the ocean when we popped out at this spot that apparently is the cool place to watch sunsets in San Diego. There were probably 100 people standing on the cliffs watching the sun dip below the horizon. The car in front of us stopped. The lifeguard vehicle behind us stopped. The car going the opposing direction stopped. I wish I had a camera, because as we sat there with the top down, silently watching the last moments of a dying sun, ocean breeze blowing across our cheeks, I watched an old couple on the bench take in the same moment and wondered what they were thinking about in that moment. The image was beautiful.

That night at our 2nd bar we discovered the “World Series of Poker Heads-Up Challenge.” It’s a video game that basically runs a turbo heads up freezeout, and boy is it fun. The interface is excellent and very easy to use and we basically played it for $100 a pop for the rest of the night (Billy is the best). Stumble home, Dave and I stay up latest, and then manage to be first ones up too.

Go Twins today… big game.

I head back to Vegas tomorrow and then start the Festa al Lago prelims at the Bellagio Thursday.

Peace and good luck,

Devo

The Last Page

23 months and a zillion blogs…


In late June of 2006 I came to the World Series of Poker for my third time. This time I had about $5k to my name but had been “staked” $10k by Jared’s father. I was wide eyed with excitement, and you can read my first blog entry here. I was a limit hold-em specialist living in Burnsville, MN. I wasn’t very good. I was married and that was failing. I somehow was able to play the employees event even though I was not a casino employee. I held a Colorado gaming license that had not expired yet and that was good enough. I thought that the $10k stake that I had was sufficient to carry me through a few weeks of WSOP. I was planning on playing five events and a ton of 30-60 LHE. Day one’s play was a 16 hour long grueling affair, and I ran hotter than the sun. I just read my blog from day one and realized how much I sucked. Example – Blinds are 50-100, I have 1100 with starting stacks of $1k, I open to 400, get re-raised all-in, and I wrote in my blog that “I was in a quandry.” LOL at so many aspects of that entry in that trip report…

Regardless, I will never forget that moment. My friend Genaddy had just walked up behind me, I was on my way out the door with him, and then BOOM, eight ball in the river to suck out on aces, and from that hand forward I was off to the races. I held the chip lead for most of the day, and it was that day that I met my favorite hippie journalist, Justin West. At some point between day one and my 2nd place finish in day two Justin had googled me and found my original blog, Campfire Stories. It dates back to 2004 when I ran a high school ministry at a church in Colorado. Justin invited me to blog here at pokerpages.com, and I gladly accepted.

The journey since then has been an awesome one, bringing me to this point that I am at today. I honestly believe that it is due to pokerpages that I have had the last two months that I have had. The exposure that pokerpages gave me were a big influence on my ability to secure backing agreements. I even had a backer for the fall of last year that I to this day have yet to meet.

Today marks the last blog that I will be writing for pokerpages. It is with great sadness that I leave pokerpages and was not a decision that I came to lightly. Thank you Justin for believing in me from the very first second – you were right, buddy. Thanks for being my friend. Thank you Mark and Tina, even though I have never met you, for giving this nobody a shot on your front page. And thank you Konan for making transitions as smooth as possible and for being the good man that you are.

It has truly been an incredible journey. I feel so blessed – thank you pokerpages for being a large part of that.

Peace and good luck,

Devo

From here on forward you can find my blog here and at pokerroad.com.

The Incredible Journey, Days Fifteen, Sixteen, and Epilogue.


Last Thursday Rick Fuller left the hotel room early with out a room key, waking me up as he left, and waking me up again twelve minutes later when he knocked on the door. Fine… I’m up. We actually had a nice morning though looking at the solo seagull flying laps over the parking lot. Guy looked lost. It was a beautiful morning though and it was nice to sit and have a cup of coffee early on a balcony. Then I realized that our vehicles were the last ones left in the parking lot, and a had a quiet laugh to myself about our concepts of “morning”.

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From there we left to take the scenic route. Some locals in town said it was “about the same time” to Reno. Well, after riding West for 45 miles (which was a very beautiful ride), we pulled into this little town called Adin. I didn’t think there was any way that this was a small detour since we needed to go South and East not West. We had to get Rick to the airport by 3pm and I felt like we were going to be cutting it close. I wanted to make sure he got on a plane and couldn’t hang out with us anymore. As we’re slowly cruising through this small town, Gavin says, “I’m thirsty.” We are literally right in front of a general store and immediately stop. As I’m getting off my bike I spot this kissing booth with nobody in it and a sign that reads “Kisses $100 (crossed out) 50 (cent sign).” Before I can say anything, I notice Rick quietly sitting in it, and by the time I get my camera out this happens.

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