Every year in my professional career I’ve gone on an almost to busto land downswing in the first several months of every year. Then something really bummer-ish happens, and then something good directly related to that bummer-ish happening happens and I run hot for a while after that.
In 2004 I went bust, got a job as an armed security guard. They gave me a duty belt containing a .357 magnum, 2 sets of handcuffs, a telescopic baton, OC spray, quick reloaders for the revolver, and a cell phone. Then they gave me an Impala with a light bar on the roof, alley lights, and a forward spotlights. I spent several months driving around Colorado Springs from 9pm to 7am patrolling everything from apartment complexes to one of Lockheed’s research facilities. We specialized in alarm response and held the DOD contracts for everything private in the Springs, and were mandated by law to respond to all DOD alarms within 15 minutes. Those were fun.
One weekend my buddies were going to go climb La Plata, I always went on these trips, but since I had a graveyard job I couldn’t go. They started an avalanche on their descent, the guy in front died, the guy in the middle rode the thing, and the guy in back watched. I most certainly would have been the dude in the front.
The next week I got a job as a prop in Cripple Creek, CO, got my start, and got my gaming license which would come in handy later.
In 2006 I went pretty close to going broke, then my (ex)wife told me that she hated me, I left for the 2006 WSOP (not a tournament player) specifically for a time of separation and space, and take 2nd in my first ever WSOP event, #1 the $500 buy-in employees event which they let me in because I had a current gaming license.
In 2007 after tearing things up for months in 2006 I found myself playing almost broke playing 15-30 LHE grinding one April afternoon at the Wynn. I noticed a 100-200 mix going, didn’t recognize anybody, and called my buddy in to play. He got there 20 mins later, and 15 mins after that he texts me saying he’s freerolling me in the game for 20%. In this game I meet Jason Gladden. He’s itching to put somebody in the $25k WPT Championship, saying things like, “Lets all high card $5k and the winner plays, everybody else gets a big chunk.” I basically say y’all suck at tourneys put me in. The game breaks, I win a rack, and Jason asks me, “How much will you play for if I put you in?” I respond with 20%, completely willing to take 1%, and he decides that he only wants to put up half. He has no idea who I am.
I can’t raise the other half, so he decides to give it some satellite shots on Saturday day 1a. We get 4 shots with 12k.
2 single tables, 2 megas. First single table I bust 10th within ten minutes. LOL. I walk back to him all jovial, he asks, “When’s it start?” I say, “It’s over already. Got a yellow?” He had to be hating life.
2nd single table I get heads up with Kevin Song, we’re ahead 150-100. Deals are talked, I just sit back and say whatever, Kevin ends up getting the $4k from 2nd place and $7k from Jason’s pocket, we get the $25,500 seat.
I take a disappointing 64th place for $47k. Disappointing because it took these hands to bust me:
1) EP shoves at 3-6k for 30k, CK Hua flats, I make it 100 on the button with QQ, CK makes it 300, I fold, CK has AA.
2) Same orbit. I open AQo UTG. Old guy on btn calls. Flop 335 one suit we have no draw. I c-bet, he shoves like 7x and had > average chips before hand, I call based on a sick live tell (held breath as I stacked chips plus pounding a pounding carotid artery), he has A9o and turns a 9.
3) My SB, still above average. I raise 98hh. Shaun Buchanan calls. Flop 975hh. I bet he calls. Turn 3, I bet he calls. River brick I check/fold, he shows 77.
4) Button, folds to me, I find Ax and stuff 13bb’s, lose to KK.
He then ends up backing me into the series, I take 2nd in that O8ament, and things went well for a while.
But, the Thursday before that Friday when I met Jason, Jared, Danny and I were at the lake. It was a really good day on the lake. This was before we knew that days could be this good that we just end up staying til morning. Nowadays we always have enough beer to last us til at least 3am even if we plan on coming back at sunset, because on days like this, you just don’t want to leave the lake.
So, we had zero desire to move. We were on the Arizona side sitting on this rock:
Image above is what we know our view is going to be in a bout 3 hours. It’s 4pm, we’re short on beer, have no firewood, are supposed to be home by six but say screw it, and we’re going to find some way to stay til that view at least. I get a hold of Emma who gets a hold of her friend who gets a hold of her friend, one will bring ice and beer, another will bring firewood, and Emma will bring food, and they’ll meet us at the dock around 6pm. Are you ****ing kidding? 3 hot chicks with food, beer, and wood? And all we have to do is take a booze cruise across the lake to pick them up?
Life is good, we’re sitting in 3 Bass Pro Shop fold up chairs, beers in hand, and the only cell phone between three of us in the chair pocket. Gentle to gusty wind blowing in off the lake.
I stand up, stretch, step to the right, and THAT fast the wind changed directions 180 degrees to blow right down the canyon behind us the strongest gust of the day, and my chair does a Peter Pan from 15′ up on this rock into 15′ of standing water below us.
At this point we didn’t realize what a bummer it was. I was like, wtf damnit, it’s April that water is still cold, the sun is setting, and I don’t have any towels but have to get this damn chair. So I jumped in, got the chair, got out, and then realized that the cellphone was in the pocket of the chair so basically slowrolled the hell out of our little trio. It was the biggest buzz kill ever, especially because we only had 4 beers left.
We went home, sulked, I took apart my phone on the poker table, and we all slept. The next morning was Friday, I put my phone together, it worked, I went to the Wynn, saw the game, and was able to call my buddy.
Last year I struggled through the winter and by the time I got to Reno I was on my last Pindlings. Probably had like $5k to name, less than $2k cash. All week during the prelims I get killed in everything, especially the Russian Poker that Deeb, Carter, Evan and I played for $10-20 a point while grinding online. They beat me up bad, Carter slowrolled the shit out of me… Russian Poker is Chinese Poker, except each hand is played for a separate sidepot, then bonuses added. So, Instead of taking my QQA up top against Shaun, Carter, and Evan, we all “ante” one point and the best hand takes the pot. It makes playing/scorekeeping much easier when you’re spread out, not around a table, or perhaps in a float plane in Alaska.
So, I basically lose three for like two hours straight, I finally make Aces Full on the bottom, and Carter waits about two minutes to announce his quads. So instead of winning one, I lose three + three more for the quads. Phelps’ mother wouldn’t be proud if she knew he hung around a sly bastard like that (but really it was the most epic slowroll ever).
So they beat me out of more money than I can afford to lose, then the night before the main event we ALL go out to steak dinner, I somehow lose the to-this-day biggest credit card roulette of my life, spend enough money on my Gold card to leave $29 in the account, and go into the main event pretty discouraged.
18 left we play the TT hand where I retire and un-retire in. I open button with TT, both blinds call. Flop T96 45k in middle, SB bets 15k, BB shoves 105k, I shove 200k, SB calls 180k total all-in. SB has 67, bb has 55, turn 8 F your Sister F your Mother F your Aunt F your Grandmother F (for all those out there like Auntie Chris or Lars who read this blog and may not be familiar with Eugene Todd “Bro” or Will “the Thrill” Failla, do yourself a favor and download the 11/6/2008 episode of PokerRoad Radio. You can find it on the site or in a podcast. The interview starts with about 29 min left. It’s a two drink minimum!) I quit poker, river 8! TY ONE FN TIME, we go on to take 2nd again. But now this time we feel like we have real cash, driving across the Nevada desert with over a quarter million cash on the floorboard of an old Ford truck.
This year I got cursed in Biloxi. After losing some 8k pot run twice with top set vs. the same wrap twice… two players… in PLO, I haven’t been doing much of winning. Low on dough I go to Coachella and lose my wallet with over $500 in it. On Friday I got a package in the mail from GoldenVoice (Coachella promoters), and inside was my wallet wrapped in bubble wrap. Everything was in there, and I counted $628 in cash inside. Wow.
Sunday I had a winning day online, winning the Stars $200 O8 with an epic battle vs. Chino Rheem heads up for over 100 hands. Jon my roomie won the Mulligan, so we had a good reason to celebrate, and went out to meet everybody at Half Shell.
In a heater check I stick $100 into a multi-card keno machine, play 4 .25 5spot cards a round with my, Jon’s, Shelley’s, and Jenny’s numbers. I get down to like $50 left and decide I’m playing to $40, get to $40.50 bet two, win 6, bet 4, hit 5/5 on my numbers for $202.50. Ship :).
Then I go to the restroom, walk past the claw lobster tank , and decide I’m going to win that too. I get me dinner on my 4th of 5 attempts. He was delicious.
I’ve got my WSOP schedule in, over 25 events, lots of small mix events, I’m psyched. Playing well, really into the game right now, getting a little bit of bracelet fever in me.
Peace and good luck,
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