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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

August Starts with a BANG!!!

When I last wrote, I was about to start the $5k Main Event at Venetian, which, given my run of bad luck in July, I decided to sell off to investors. It almost worked out for them. I had a pretty smooth Day One...bagging up an above average stack of 55k, which was one more than my buddy David Nicholson, who ended with 54k. Earlier in the day...Dave texted me, asking me if I wanted to buy 10% of his action. I was concerned about when he would actually arrive to participate, since it was level 2 and he was still in bed. Finally I relented, knowing him to be a good gamble. So I told him to come to my table and I'd give him enough for 5%. He never showed. I saw him on break...him telling me he already sold his last 10%. Great. Maybe I'll be glad. Nope. I wasn't. He finished 5th for $135,000. More July misery. (on a side note, we eventually had a mini-sweat with each other...and I ended up getting $500 from his win...which he quickly wired me the next not a total loss!)

Myself, I got knocked out fairly early in Day Two. I played the first two levels incredibly tentatively...folding a few hands I never should have folded, not re-raising a guy when I should have with AK....then making a call that could have gone either way...a solid player either putting pressure on me to fold because he knew I was the kind of player who COULD fold AK on a flop of K-3-6...or because he actually had a set like the little bird on my shoulder was telling me he had. I'd been folding too much...and was getting too low, and had too much in the pot. I had to hope that he was bluffing me...or had a king with a worse kicker. None of that was right....the little birdie was right. Set of sixes. I was out. 

I then played the last event...a $400 bounty tourney. 233 players started...and when we got close to the money I was sitting at 70k, well above the average stack, and hoping for a strong finish to wrap up my trip. That didn't happen either. I  lost a couple rough hands...then got it all in with 77 vs AQ and was clean til the river...when he hit a queen...busting me 5 from the money. My Vegas trip was over.  I flew home the next day...and on my connecting flight in Atlanta, I decided to do something to try and make me feel better about myself, and gave up my 1st class seat to a young man in military uniform. It did make me feel better. And what a wonderful young man he was...waiting at the gate until I boarded (last because I always wait to get off) to shake my hand and thank me. I really love and respect our military. The flight attendant who I asked via a written note to find me a military person to give my seat to...came back and offered me free drinks in coach, and thanked me...telling me 'almost nobody does that anymore...and it made me so happy to see you do it.' Well...I did it to make myself feel better about I guess you could actually call me selfish! 

When I got home...and walked out to the curb...Squirrel was there waiting for me...and there was Carley...with her window rolled down, and her eyes had this incredible sparkle in them...a smile beaming on her face. I raced over and let her wrap her arms around my head...and she didn't want to to let me go. It made my eyes water. I was so happy to be home. I rode home in the back seat with her...she never stopped staring at me with that big smile on her face. I held her hand the whole way home. It was a fantastic home coming. Since I've been home...I've taken her to the water park about 4 times. We have had all kinds of quality time together. She is at this great age (3+) where almost everything she does is either cute or funny. She is talking so much...but in that broken language where you have to try really hard to interpret what she's saying.

So after being home about 5 days...I get the email from the guy I've been staking most of this year. I  had already told Mike (Bratovich) that I would go ahead and stake him for the events sandwiched around the WSOP National Championship Freeroll that he qualified for, and that I had 50% of. But after my brutal trip to Vegas...I was kind of lamenting having to ship off another $4k for backing. But my word is my I transferred him the  money for  that trip. He started off with a min cash in the first event....not a bad way to start out.

But then he proceeded to brick everything leading up to the Freeroll...which was fine, no big deal. We were both SO excited for the freeroll...and he even took the day off before the event, to spend with his wife and kids and clear his mind of anything negative. I like that strategy a lot! One thing about Mike...he makes the decision to back him really he constantly provides updates, sends me a picture of his registration every time...and plays pretty similar to the way I do. And on top of it...he's just a really nice kid, with a great attitude. 

The Freeroll...that was eventually won by long time circuit player Loni Harwood...was not what we both hoped it would be. He ended up busting out of it about the same place I did when I played it in 2010...middle of the pack. And like my experience, he just couldn't ever seem to catch a break...or get that critical double up when he needed it. It was a bummer, and I'm sure he was just as disappointed (probably more) than I was.

So we had a few more chances to come out of the trip with a profit. Brick....brick....and yet another brick. Damn. We were down to one more event...the $1125. What happened? Well...he bagged 125k on Day One...which put him in the top 5 in chip counts. And when he came back the next day...he had, basically...a cake walk. The only hiccup I think was when he had a big stack and lost AA vs KK to knock him down to 13 BB's. But he quickly recovered...and by the time they were at the Final Table, he had 20% of the chips in play. It was a pretty fast final table...they got down to 3 pretty quickly. Then, when he knocked out 2013 Main Event champion Ryan Reiss...he was heads up for the win...which was good for 81k! Since there were no online updates available, I was sitting at my computer, playing online on Bovada (I would end up with a 2nd in a 45pp sit n go, and two min cashes in $20 tourneys- a smashing success for me on that god forsaken site!) and waiting for updates from him.

They played heads up for about an hour...the structure got steeper...and Mikes lead had eroded away some. He consulted me on chop options...which I also appreciated. When we came up with something we both felt good about, he hatched out a deal with the other guy...with Mike taking 70k and the other guy taking 61k. So, with me having 60% of Mike's action, it translated to a $42,000 night for me! And no...I don't charge Mike makeup on spent buy I didn't charge for the $2000+ buy ins that he bricked. Some of you out there probably think I'm stupid for that...that's okay. I've been called stupid a lot. It's nothing new, I'm used to it!  

As he always has done...Mike was incredibly humble in victory...and went out of his way to thank me for being behind him in his efforts. Again, like I makes a guy really enjoy staking a player when they act like this guy acts. And furthermore...when he races to the bank the next day to  deposit my share...instead of stretching it out for days or weeks like some players in the poker community have been notorious for, that also makes it really easy to stake him! It was nice logging on to my computer yesterday and seeing that little bump to my checking account!

Speaking of payouts...Wild Bill also quickly sent me the check for the investors shares when he returned from Vegas...and I had every single investor paid out within five days. Over 80 of them!!! Yeah...that took some time! Needless to say, all this investing...all of this money entering and  then leaving my account? I am having to make some new alterations to how my accountant does my taxes, so as not to sound off any alarms with the IRS. Fortunately I keep great records of everything! Then on top of have my pools...which I just activated today, incidentally....where I will have $100k+ of other people's money sitting in my checking account all football season from all my various pools and fantasy leagues...until it comes time to pay all the winners. I can only imagine the perplexed look that a future IRS agent might have on their face when looking at the banking history on my accounts!!!

As for me? I am contemplating taking a quick trip down to South Florida next week and playing the $5k Main Event at the Hollywood Hard Rock Poker Open...that has a $5m guarantee. It is one of my favorite tournaments because its got a great structure, is in a great tournament room that is incredibly roomy, and attracts great players...which I always feel I fare better against than these wild, maniacal players that seem like they have a money tree growing in their back yard. Also...they changed it this you are limited  to ONE entry...which means you don't have deep-pocketed players gambling on crazy draws knowing they can go rebuy if they miss. Really makes every play a lot more critical, and I like that too.  As for Mike,  he is really being smart. He is resisting the temptation to play in these bigger tourneys to stick to his plan/strategy of getting the most bang for his buck....a contribution of $3500-$4000 covers him for an entire circuit event...and also gives him a chance to qualify for the National Championship again...which he is very motivated to do. I love it. Smart kid.

I have so many random things I want to write about. But I don't want this post to be too I guess I will save it all for my next post. I just kind of wanted to share Mike's (and my!) great news from the felt, how I went out in Vegas (for anyone who cared) and what I have on my possible plate this month. Since I am leasing my new Tahoe...and the miles are already a little high...I won't drive down to South Florida if I go...choosing instead to fly, rent a car and find somewhere affordable to sleep. If I do decide to go...I will be sure to post about it! As for selling a package for it? Not sure. But probably will buy in and play for 100%, especially given the stroke of good luck from Mike this week!


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