Monday, 31 October 2016

If These Guys Can Do It, So Can You!

There’s some serious money to be won at a big tournament like this, and that attracts lots of professional players, like “Homeless Millionaire” Faraz Jaka, Twitch poker wiz Doug Polk and Josh Beckley, the second place finisher in the 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event.  But since so many players won their trip to Punta Cana in online satellite tournaments, there’s a lot more recreational players living the dream at their very first live tournament.  I talked to a few of them at the beach party Saturday night.

“It’s been great, you can’t beat it!” said a tournament newbie Scott McKenzie from California.  “For just $50 I won a $4900 package playing The Beast tournament one Sunday night.  I cashed out my buy-in and hit forty-first place, so it’s just been a great overall experience."

"This is my first big tournament so I was really nervous.  Everyone told me I was playing way too tight  -- but I think that’s a great thing to hear from the best in the world!”

 “Anyone can do it! If I’m here, I’m living proof. It’s a great time – you’ve got to come!”

This was also a first for John and Raquel from Pittsburgh.

“I played a tournament, The Beast” said John. “Every Sunday, for $50, you’ve got a chance to win it. I figured, let’s give it a shot!”

“This is a once in a lifetime experience. I’ve always wanted to go somewhere to play a big tournament like this.  I wasn’t thinking here though! I was thinking maybe Denver or somewhere like that.  This is just out of the world for me!”

“I actually got into the Caribbean ocean!” said Raquel.  “All the way up to my chin – that’s a first for me!

Congrats to the winners -- hasta la vista!

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Faraz Jaka on His Life as the Homeless Millionaire

One of the most interesting players we've met at the Punta Cana Poker Classic is Faraz Jaka, nicknamed the Homeless Millionaire by CNN.  He's a professional poker player who's really living the dream.  He’s travelling the world from tournament to tournament so much that he gave up his home entirely years ago. Now, even with more that $8 million in career earnings, he lives from a suitcase with just the essentials: a few pieces of clothing and a laptop.

Sounds great. But is there's got to be a catch, doesn't there?

“I’ve just been playing all week. There’s a high roller event here today too so I haven’t even got to the beach, haven’t been in the pool.  I’m on tour hardcore for the rest of the season – I’m going to Macau, I’m going to Prague… where else… oh ya, I’m going to Florida…  I’ve got a lot of poker in front of me so I need a beach day. I might make that a priority today!”

“I obviously love being on the road. That’s why I do it, but there’s definitely some things that you wish you had. It can get frustrating sometimes."

“Even just, you know, I do a lot of my shopping on Amazon, just everyday shaving needs, all the right organic products I need, and sometimes it’s really hard to do that when you’re abroad and don’t have an address for them to deliver too!”

“On my way to Macau I have eighteen hours in Chicago. So I’m, like, messaging my Chicago friends – hey, want to meet for dinner? And can I send like five Amazon deliveries to your place? And can you bring them to dinner!?”

I asked him what advice he’d give a some he said to just be careful about getting caught up in the jet set poker lifestyle. First class flights… fancy restaurants… five star hotels… If you want to last, better to stay grounded.

Apparently Twitch poker guru Doug Polk hadn’t heard that advice! After indulging in the lifestyle the night before he slept through the first three levels of Day 2!

Neither of these pros made it to the Final Table, but they’ll be there to cheer them on and  to see who walks away with nearly $150 grand.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Tyler from Missouri is Living the Dream at the Punta Cana Poker Classic!

If ever we've met someone who’s living the dream, it’s Tyler, a young player from Missouri that we met outside the tournament hall yesterday.  Tyler won his way to the Caribbean in an online tournament and, after Day 1, he’s got over 70,000 chips and is in the Top 20 heading into Day 2.

Tyler’s never played an action packed live tournament like the Punta Cana Poker Classic. In fact, he’d never even been on a plane before!

“If I just place, that’s good enough for me.  But if I win I guess I’ll buy some stuff for my car,” said Tyler.  “Folks back home won’t be surprised to hear that!  I guess I’d invest a lot of it – and set some aside to go to the WSOP and try my luck in Las Vegas!”

Tyler’s got to be about the youngest player here in Punta Cana.

“I guess if I start to feel too intimidated I’ll just put on my sunglasses,” he laughed.

“This next day could be a little difficult, since the antes and the big blinds… But as long as I play good – not too tight and not too aggressive – I should be fine.

Good luck Tyler! Hope your dream comes true!

UPDATE: Tyler ended up placing 41st in a field of over 160 players, winning about $4500. He returned to Missouri a very happy guy -- already planning to win another one of Americas Cardroom's Sunday "The Beast" tournaments come back to Punta Cana next year and win it! Great hanging out with you Tyler. See you again soon!

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Better than the Hard Rock -- the Punta Cana Poker Classic Off to Great Start

Online poker players living the dream at the Punta Cana Poker Classic agree: the move to the new location was a good idea!  Better food… closer to the beach… and the new Poker 2.0 game rocks!

We arrived yesterday afternoon just as the players were sitting down to the Main Event, Day 1a – everyone excited and hoping they’ll be the one take home the big prize. Like Luis Yepez did last year. He took home more than $185k!

This year the Punta Cana Poker Classic moved from the Hard Rock to the Melia Caribe Tropicale – a wise move, according to a couple of regulars. “I never thought we could do better than the Hard Rock, but this place is really nice,” said Steven Schillenberg, who’s been playing this event for eight or nine years, since it began in Costa Rica.

“The new game that they have, the 2.0, it’s actually really, really good,” said Steve Lets, another player from the trusted US poker room who’s been coming to this event for many years.  “I’m really getting into it! I think the more you play it you’ll enjoy it even more.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Back to the Caribbean for the Punta Cana Poker Classic -- New Videos Begin October 27th

We’re on our way to the Caribbean again with another group of online poker players for the action packed Punta Cana Poker Classic. We’ll be there with video cameras so you can see what it’s like to win your way to a big money live tournament. Check back October 27th for our first video from Punta Cana.

We’ll be hanging out with online players and chatting with them in our videos.  Twitch poker guru Doug Polk will be with us so we’ll have comments from him on the tournament as well. Faraz Jaka, the Homeless Millionaire, will also be with the our entourage!  (CNN gave him that nickname when they found out he’s won millions in poker tournaments all over the world – but doesn’t have a home and lives out of a backpack.)

Monday, 17 October 2016

4 Online Champions are on Their Way to $500K PPC Aruba

Four players that won online satellite tournaments at Intertops Poker and Juicy Stakes Poker this summer are on their way to the Caribbean for the PPC Aruba World Championship.

One member of the team, Joan Sandoval, placed 6th in the $5000 GTD at PPC Aruba last year and is looking forward to playing the Main Event this year.

“I know a lot of my competition in Aruba, actually. I know it is going to be a tough crowd with a lot of good professional players” said Joan from her home in Wisconsin.  “My strategy in any bigger tournament is to play one hand at a time and concentrate on just my table and not so much everyone around me. I like to just study the people and limit big pots in the beginning and try to play premium hands...try to get a solid image on the table so I can make my occasional bluff.”

Joan will be joined by Tim O’Keefe and John Curcuru, both professional poker players.

When he’s not grinding online, Tim plays mostly in casinos in Texas where he lives and in nearby Oklahoma. He also travels to Foxwoods a few times a year.  This is the third time that Tim, who only recently quit his day job and turned pro, has won his way to a major live tournament like this.

No stranger to the casinos of Las Vegas where he lives, this is the second Caribbean junket for John.  Also an avid chess player, John joined the Living the Dream team at the TKPT tournament in St Maarten this spring.

“It’s great travelling with a group like this,” said John.  “The camaraderie really helps you cope with the pressure of the tournament.  They took very good care of us last time so I’m really looking forward to joining them again!”

The fourth member of the team is Texas poker mom Ashley Hine. Ashley works with her father building luxury custom homes but hits the casino several times a week.  PPC Aruba will be her fourth live tourney.

“I expect the players to be a smart, tight group, everyone hoping to make money and make a name for themselves.  I think it’ll take massive determination and discipline.  I always say it’s not the hands you, play but the folds you make that can make you a great player.”

All four online satellite tournament champions won $5000 prize packages that include $2,400 buy-in to the Main Event (November 4th – 7th) and accommodation on Palm Beach at the Hilton or Hyatt Resort. Their prize packages also include travel expenses, one $200 tournament buy-in and one $300 buy-in.

The PPC Aruba World Championship is one of the most exotic stops on the Poker Players Championships circuit, now in its fourth season, which includes high stakes events all over America.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Winstar River Series!

We have made it full circle! Back to the Winstar River series and back to where it all began! It was this series last year that started it all and set me off on this amazing adventure! I came in fourth place in the massive kick off event for this series last year that boosted my roll and my confidence to lead me to finally chasing the dream and playing poker professionally. So needless to say, I had high hopes going in to this one! Winstar is only about 45 minutes from my home in Ft Worth, so its my "home" casino now. It's a pretty insane casino actually, it says in the advertisements that its the biggest casino in the world! I'm not sure if that's true, but seeing as it literally takes about 10 minutes to walk through the casino from the hotel to the poker room, I'd have to agree with them! lol
So I didn't waste anytime after getting home for Foxwoods and the next day I hit a mega satellite for a main event seat! I was off to a slow start, but hit some big hands when it mattered late in the tourney. So as long as nothing crazy happened, I had enough chips at that point to basically coast to a seat!  I hung to my stack and got a $2500 lammer(chip) to use for either the main event or other tourneys throughout the series! So great start to the series and the next day I fired a "free" bullet at the first event, the $400 buy in, 300k GTD! I was off to a slow start and couldn't get much traction to get a run going all day. I had some decent hands here and there, but just stayed about average or a little below average all day.  Things then went south a late in the day, I lost big hand that would have set me up for a good run. With blind levels at 400/800 w 50 ante, I opened to 1800 from middle position with Ace Ten of diamonds. Everyone folded to the big blind who had just come over to our table about ten minutes ago and brought a Big stack of chips with him.  The flop came King, King, 3 with two diamonds. He checked and I bet about half pot. It was obvious this guy was a recreational player and figured a small cbet would just take it down right there and if not, I still had the nut flush draw going for me. He made a puzzled face before making the call, which made it very obvious he had a King in his hand! lol dammit! I told myself it was over, until I saw the beautiful 4 of diamonds hit the turn!! He checked to me and I decided to be sneaky and check it back. I thought maybe he could have been drawing to a smaller flush and I could get him to bet into me on the river so I could potentially stack him. Unfortunately, the 3 of clubs hits the river and he instantly leads out with a 1/2 size bet! Ugh!! I convinced myself there was a good possibility he was bad enough to bet a worse flush there and begrudgingly made the call. He showed the full house and my stack was cut in half! I was then moved tables and got grinded down by blinds and antes until I only had about 5 big blinds left! I got very lucky when I jammed King Ten of clubs into pocket Queens, and hit a king right on the flop to double! I managed to run it back to a decent stack somehow and cruising along for a while, just to run my Ace King into Ace Queen in an all in situation and watch a Queen hit the flop and send me home! Gross!!


#2fat2fold! lol
I fired another bullet at the 300k GTD, but this time it didn't feel "Free" lol. I ran pretty recent again, going deep but nothing special til the very end. I had a friend move to my table and I told the table " well this is who I'm gonna bust to, I might as well just give her the money now! " It got a good laugh from everyone, but I clearly jinxed myself as literally the next hand I was knocked out by her! OOPs! lol I was pretty card dead and the blinds were getting really high, when I shoved pocket jacks over her middle position open. She actually thought about folding before finally making the call with  Ace King off suit. It was a pretty standard spot and was happy to have the chance to double up via coin flip there. The jinx was real though and an Ace and a King hit the board and I was out of the event. So no repeat performance for me this year, but I was happy with my play and I was basically free rolling it, so can't complain too much. I took a day or two off and then went right back to it, to play a couple more mega satellites! I struggled in the first one but at least made it all the way to the end to creep into the last place that got paid.  It wasn't another lammer but enough to make a small profit and pay for the next mega satty I immediately jumped into after lol! This tourney went great right from the start! After a few early big pots, I had knocked out a few players and by about the 3rd level I knew I was in a position to go on cruise control til payday! It worked out and I was officially two for two on mega sattys and $2500 lammers! So I took the the next day off to give my poker brain a break and enjoy some relaxation by the pool. Life's rough ;)
AK vs AQ! and I lose! again!
The main event started out a little scary when I clearly had one of the worst table draws I could imagine. I was sandwiched between two big dog circuit grinders, one who was just off a final table in the main event at the WSOP circuit in foxwoods that I had just come from! Yikes! They did not disappoint as the 3 of us were immediately in constant 3 betting battles! It was fun but very challenging, really putting the poker skills to the test. The rest of the table weren't slouches either, but none were on these two guys level. I had a bit of a roller coaster day because of the constant 3 and 4 betting with them, but still felt pretty comfortable. I was 3 betting light quite a bit until the pro on my left decide he was gonna 4 bet big every time I did it. It was like he could see my cards lol not cool! I had to calm down a bit and tighten my play before I could go back on the attack. I got the opportunity sooner than I though, when I looked down at pocket Kings on the button and the aggressive pro on my left had raised yet again! I knew if I flatted the pro my left wouldn't be able to resist making a squeeze play there with basically any two cards, so I decided to just flat the open and set the trap! I was getting a little low on chips by then and thought if he raise at all he would be commited to call off badly. He did just what I hoped an raised 4 times the open! The initial raiser quickly folded and after I took a few moments, I tried not to look too excited when I announced all in. lol To my surprise the squeezer folded almost immediately even though he was getting about 3.5 to 1 to call! I was shocked and obviously disappointed. But hey I made a good play and I had more chips lol so I should just be happy with it! Sadly I didn''t have them for much longer as a few hands later I got Ace King of hearts in the lojack seat and opened to 1800 at 400/800 with a 50 ante. I was hoping this would be a big hand for me to get some serious chips and build some momentum. I got my wish when the button, an older asian guy, who had 3 bet me twice already that day, reraised it to 6500! It was a BIG(too big) 3 bet that was enough to commit me to going all in or folding. I don't know if that was his intention or he just felt think 6500 was the magic number? lol Obviously I'm never folding there, it was an easy all in shove for me and I couldn't have been in a better spot when he quickly called and turned over Ace Queen off suit! I guess either he just didn't believe me, felt like he committed himself to a call, or maybe just felt like gambling!? Either way I was pumped and the flop came out all blanks not providing any sweat for a draw for him. Then AGAIN disaster struck as he binked a Queen on the turn!! No King for me on the river and for the second time 3 events AQ had out drawn my AK to bust me! OUCH! Definitely not cool, but as they say, you can't be results oriented! I  made the right plays and got people to put their money in against me when I was a HUGE favorite! That's all you can really do, right? That's poker for ya!
The "jumbo tron" late in the satty lol
So it's on to the next one! The next one live won't be til Aruba with Intertops for the PPC 500k GTD! Can't wait! But, for now, it's nice to have a well deserved break in my poker traveling and get to spend some much needed downtime with friends and family. Gotta stayed balanced people! Time for some trips to the pool, TV show bingeing, good food and some drinks! It won't be all fun and games though, as I will be bringing Intertops to the Twitch world, Streaming as much as I can! So if you haven't check it out yet, be sure to head over to!  Come watch me play our nightly tourneys as well as the Sundays majors including our 5k GTD and our satellite tourney to whatever amazing place they have lined up! lol Hope to see you there!
Run Good!

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

How fitness will boost your mental game

One of the basic reasons for making my blog,, was that the life of the traveling poker player makes staying healthy and fit very difficult!
Long hours sitting at the poker table, in a smoky casino with poor food choices, isn’t usually very conducive to getting in shape! And in my recent trip to Foxwoods for the WSOP series, I fell off the wagon a bit. It was a brutal grind and I needed someone to give me some motivation. We all need help sometimes!

Enter Victor and Victor is an online fitness coach and part of the Intertops family. His no nonsense style was just what I needed to get my mind right and get back on track! He has a great wealth of knowledge on training and nutrition, with over 15 years of experience in the field. But my favorite thing about Victor is his approach to the mental game!  He doesn’t pull any punches, just gives it to you straight and tells you the truth! He sent me this article and it was just the kick in the ass I needed! So if you’re having a tough time at the tables or with your fitness goals, I suggest you give it a read. I know it will motivate you as much as it did me!

How To Be The Best

It's late at night.

You're at home spread across the couch watching an underdog movie. You know the kind of "rags to riches" story, where the good guy wins and gets it all. You brush it off as a Hollywood fairy tale.

"This stuff doesn't happen in real life..."
You say to yourself while making your way to the bedroom. But you can't shake the feeling of utter disappointment. You're looking for ways to justify your situation, to silence that inner voice. Is it bad luck? Bad genetics? Destiny? Wrong! I'll tell you why you're not sitting atop the food chain. I'll tell you why you haven't tapped into your potential yet.

You haven't paid your dues.

These days it seems everybody expects money, women and 6-pack abs to just fall into our laps. But there is no such thing as something for nothing. You have to invest the time and energy. You have to go through hardship and adversity to get to the Promised Land. You must work for it. You must earn it.

"Yeah sure... I just wish I had the talent to..."
Stop right there. Your lack of talent is not why you're stuck in reverse. Hard work will always outperform talent. If you use your talent (or lack thereof) as an excuse to slack off, you will get mauled by the competition. I don't care what game you're playing or trying to be successful at. Talent won't get you anywhere if you fail to do the work. It's a level playing field, with equal opportunities for every man.

The game plan
But how do you proceed? How do you become the best at what you're doing? How do you become the best YOU? Stick to this game plan for the next 30 days and never look back. Don't just read the lines nodding in agreement. I want you to incorporate as much of the following as possible into your daily routine. The time is now.

1. Start eating better.
You're eating the same stuff as the next guy (= crap) and you're wondering why you look the way you do, have no energy and no drive to get anything done. Your body is a high performance machine, yet you're feeding it waste material instead of high performance fuel.

"What diet should I follow?"
Eating right is not rocket science. The industry wants you to think it is, but it's not. Ditch the diet shakes and superfoods and focus on the fundamentals. Reduce the amount of processed garbage in your diet and start eating more foods that don't come in a plastic wrapper.

Consume 3 nutrient dense meals a day like clockwork, and cut out the perpetual snacking. In doing so, you provide your body with the necessary means to function at peak capacity without becoming a slave to hunger or your meals.

2. Build your body.
Ahhh... now we're getting to the fun stuff. Physical badassery. Not that silly BS you read in your men's health magazine. No. I'm talking about unapologetic human performance. If you want to be the best you have to do what others are unwilling to do.

"Got it. What's the best fitness routine and should I sign up at my neighborhood gym?"
It's not about the particular exercise program or bodybuilding split you do. It's about how you do it, how you train. You don't need weights or fancy equipment to get the job done. Your muscles don't care whether they're being stimulated by weights or bodyweight training.

What you need to do is introduce a progressive stimulus for adaptation on a consistent basis. Choose compound movements over isolation work (chin-ups > bicep curls) and go after it. Keep your workouts short but ramp up the intensity. Challenge yourself every time you train. Aim to move more weight, do more reps, do higher complexity exercises and/or shorten your rest periods. Also, monitor your progress and make sure you improve on a weekly basis.
I don't expect you to start lifting iron and blow up like a bodybuilder. But I want you to realize that you'll never be where you want to be physically, mentally and emotionally, until you get your ass in shape. No more excuses. Get it done.

3. Strong body, strong mind.
"You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this and you will find strength." - Marcus Aurelius

Start carrying yourself like a winner. This is no time for false modesty. You've been a push-over for all your life, and look what it got you. Here's a little secret for you: You don't need anyone's approval.What other people think and say about you is absolutely meaningless. Know your true value and don't be afraid to proclaim it.

For the next 30 days, I want you to stop wasting mental equity on the stuff you can't change and start focusing exclusively on the stuff you can. If you're complaining, you're losing.
Put your head down and work on your craft with obsessive determination. Every damn day! Get your meals and workouts in with the precision and regularity of a Swiss timepiece. You said you wanted to be the best? This is the price you must pay. There will never be a shortcut to greatness. Ignore the buzz around you and start focusing on the only thing that truly matters - yourself.

You are in control and have absolute power over your actions. The way you look, the way you feel, the way you perform on a daily basis... is your choice.

Choose wisely.
Thank you for reading

Victor Gaspar has researched the fields of nutrition, training, health and performance for over 15 years. A former Muay Thai national champion with a Masters Degree in Business, he currently coaches clients across the globe, helping them achieve their fitness goals. He is the founder and creator of, The Ultimate Human Performance Resource. 

Monday, 22 August 2016

Slow Start at Foxwoods

A video posted by Tim O'Keefe (@2fit2fold) on

Things didn't start too well for Tim O'Keefe at Foxwoods this weekend :( We haven't heard from him since this video on Saturday. Hopefully things have picked up!

UPDATE: Tim finished in the money!

A photo posted by Tim O'Keefe (@2fit2fold) on

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

No Rest for the Wicked

IMG_0830 (1)
Living the Dream! I wish this was my view! lol
 Ahhhh my solid showing at Velden's long past, my disappointing Choctaw WPT is done, it's time for so much needed rest and relaxation! Or so I thought lol Turns out that there "Aint No Rest for the Wicked" as "Money Don't Grow on Trees!"  That Cage The Elephant song reference could not be truer for anyone trying to be a successful poker player. While we are fortunate enough to play a game for a living, it's really easy to slack off when you're your own boss! And to be ahead of this game, you need to constantly be on the grind, on and off the felt.
What I dreamed of doing...
So while I had had dreams off not leaving my bed for a few days or laying on a beach somewhere, it was not what actually happened.  I did somehow (lol) make sometime the first couple days to catch up on "Game of Thrones" of course, and I may have also been forced to watch a few episodes of the "Bachelorette" lol But after that, it was back to studying, grinding on Intertops and planning for the next events!
What actually happened!

So while it wasn't right back into business, it was productive! I finally got my Twitch set up and ready to go, @ 2Fit2Fold. So now at least the design is professional !;) My first stream with the new set up was this past sunday and went amazingly well! I final tabled two tournaments, including a 4th place finish in the 5 k guarantee.

The real highlight however was watching my friend Ashley take down the Aruba satellite for a 5k package! It was pretty exciting as it was happening while I was at the final table of the 5k GTD! She gets a 5 days stay in Aruba and a $2400 entry into the main event at the PPC! So it was a great kick off to the stream, and hopefully there's many more like that to come!

I also mapped out my next few events, one of which already started and another that starts tomorrow!! The River series at Winstar in Oklahoma kicked off some satellite tournaments this past weekend, you might have seen some of the action on my social media stuff, and if not, no worries, there's plenty more to come ;)

I played two satellites for main event entries, bricking both unfortunately! First one I literally bubbled it, finishing 17th, when top 16 got a seat! Ugh The next one I finished in 20th with 13 getting a seat! I went out in dramatic fashion in that one! I looked down at pockets Aces in the big blind after not 1, not 2 but 3 players had moved ALL IN preflop!  High Five the dealer and snap call!! lol I'm up against QQ, JJ and AK off suit! Dream situation right!?! It was only another dream though, as the board ran out 5,6,4,  rainbow flop, 9x on the turn and of course, guess it, BINK Q on the river for the big stack player, taking us all out!  It was a rough day to say the least. lol But I stayed positive, took the rest of the night off, then came back to play cash the next day to get it all back!

Next stop -- Foxwoods!
The other event I'll be playing is the WSOP circuit event at Foxwoods! It actually starts tomorrow and I'll be flying out in the early AM! Im excited about this one, even though im only planning on staying for a few days.The kick-off event has 4 starting flights and $500k guaranteed prize pool, plus a WSOP ring of course! It looks to be a great value and attract a lot of recreational players! I'm sure the field will be a lot tougher than WinStar, but this smaller buy-in and big guarantee should even it out quite a bit! I haven't committed myself to the main event yet because I think the value at the River series is too much to pass up! But I will have to see how the fields are and of course how well I run in the kick-off event first! lol If I scoop up a win, I might have to rethink things lol. I ran really well there my last visit, going deep in several events! Sadly I got Really unlucky at the very end of ALL of them, to get  knocked out just short of a huge score! I had 4-5 final two table runs, where I got it in well ahead and the other player lucked out on me with some ridiculous hand, sending me to the rail! SO CLOSE! Hopefully I can put those runs behind me and use the knowledge I learn from them to do even better this time! C'mon at least one final table!! lol

Run Good and let the shenanigans begin!

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

WPT Choctaw! The grind never stops!


Well as you can see, I didn't waste anytime after Velden! It was an amazing trip and was tough to leave such a cool location, but the grind never stops! The WPT was already in full swing at Choctaw Casino when I arrived back, and if wasn't for a brutal layover in Chicago, I would have been there 8 hours sooner! lol Things went smoothly for the first two flights, but it came to an abrupt halt on my last layover. I got all of 3 hours away from being home in my own bed finally, just to find out O'Hare airport had different plans for me lol! A 2 hour layover turned into 6 hours and the plan was ruined. I was absolutely exhausted. By the time I got home, I knew there was no way I could make it to Choctaw for the first big satellite the next day. After a decent nights sleep though, I did make it for the 5pm, 5 seat guaranteed satellite, but busted just 10 away from a seat! I got into a big hand with AK off suit and somehow lost after flopping top two pair!
 I raised from under the gun to 900 at 200/400 with a 25 ante and the next player(pretty passive calling station older guy) insta called. It folded around to the button, who was also the big stack(who was only the big stack cause he was a luckbox lol) raised to 3000. I had around 15k and thought about shoving, but this was literally the second hand after the break, which was the end of late registration/rebuy period, so I decided to  just flat and see the flop. The next player called as well. The flop come AKQ, ALL spades! lol So while Im happy I flopped top two, the board is crazy, and I'm not exactly sure what my play is. I thought though with the structure being so fast and having such a huge hand, there's no way I can't try and get it all in here. Still not sure about that, but thats how it played out. I checked, next player checks and the button 3 bettor makes it 4500 to go. I thought for a minute and shoved, only to have the next player snap shove all in as well. OOPS! Thats never what you want to see, but giving that he didn't re-raise me preflop, I thought I was probably still good?? The button tanks for about 2-3 minutes and then finally folds AK off suit face up...Well now I really hope I'm good cause a full house doesn't look like it's coming lol. The other player turns over JJ with the jack of spades for a royal straight flush draw. I was pretty shocked by the way he played every street with this hand, but I don't know if I could have folded there either, trickey spot? Well the turns a blank and I'm fading a spade, a Jack or a 10 on the river for a real good stack to probably coast to getting paid, but ..bink...a 10 of diamonds hits the river for the guy and I'm out. Ironically enough finishing 10 places from getting a seat to the main! AArgghhh lol
Cash game action!!
I played a little cash afterwards and made my money back, but nothing special to report there. The first night was still kinda slow and I was mentally and physically still drained anyway. I needed a good nights sleep and a good workout to get myself back on track! Unfortunately for me, the guy I was sharing a room with snored like a chainsaw, and that didn't happen lol I was a Zombie the next day for the most part. Next time I'll splurge for my own room! lol I managed to man up and force myself to get through a quick workout in still, as It usually still energizes me for the day. I was glad I at least got something in and it did help a bit, actually coming close again in another satty! This time they were giving away 20 seats and I of course finished in 30th place lol. AK failed me again, but in much less dramatic fashion this time. I shoved AK off from the cutoff for about 7 big blinds, just to get snapped off by the guy right next to me and his pocket Kings! The board whiffed me completely, no sweat at all, and I was out again. I'm not too upset though, as satellites are mentally brutal and a completely different tourney than usual. So while I'm disappointed with not being able to play the main, I can't complain too much, especially given the circumstances! lol Two close calls in two days isn't all that bad a showing!
Fancy! lol
Still I didn't follow through with one of the main things I learned in Vegas already and it may have cost me a seat at the main event! I know my friend can't help it, but I shouldn't have been cheap about it. While saving money on rooms and just trying to be friendly or social is always nice; for me, sleep is more important! My friends will understand! lol Maybe I'm just getting older or am too set in my ways, but my main goal is to win and I need to be able to perform at my best everyday. Hopefully that's yours too, don't let anything stand in your way. Real friends will understand, do what you need to do.
CoysnBwUsAA4aWt (1)
Final 4 tables!
So I missed out on playing the big one, but I had a few poker friends make VERY deep runs in the Main event, both finishing in the top 15!! So at least I got to sweat their action and see the last few tables play out for a while. There were some very talented players going into that final day, and it was cool to see some local pros mixed in with the big dogs like Phil Helmuth, Olivier Busquet and Jeff gross! I'm glad to say they held there own and made us all proud! And no worries guys, it's on to the next one!!
Run Good
Helmuth and his gold shoes!

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Velden Wrap Up

Cool shot on the final day
Well another Intertops satellite trip has finished up and it was a great success, by far. I wish I could say I took home the title, but the experience itself was a win for sure. We all made day two, which is always tough and a plus for any poker player. The big buy in and long structure always bring around the better players, so just making it that far was quite an accomplishment. So I hope everyone is proud of their play. Unfortunately, only myself and Emil made day 3, but the rest of the guys got to enjoy a day out in Velden at least! I'm not gonna lie, I was a bit jealous they hit the beach without me. lol I can't complain too much though, as I was playing day 3 for a chance at 142k and the trophy! The day started out with a great table draw for me, seating me at what would be the final table. Always nice when you know you won't have to make any table changes and have the time to get reads on players. The play started out tough, aggressive and at times confusing, lol. So I had my work cut out for me. There was an odd balance of big/small stacks at the table with with shortest being about 20 big blinds or so. While I was one of the shorter stacks(35 bigs), I felt very comfortable and knew if I could just win a few good pots or get a double up, I could do some serious damage at this table.
Obv my new profile pic lol
I quickly noticed two guys on my right were very aggressive and the rest of the table somewhat passive. So this looked good for me at first. They were opening on my right frequently, and I 3 bet them a few times and took down the pot. A few other times my 3 bets were called and we battled post flop. One particular hand involved me 3 betting from the small blind w A6 of clubs for the aggressive button raiser. He thought for a moment or two then called. In retrospect, I think I made the raise too small, only going for a x 2.6 3 bet, knowing he was a good post flop player and I was out of position. It worked out well for me though when the flop came Ace 4 4 rainbow. I decided to check, knowing I was well ahead of his button raising range but still leery he may have a better ace. When he checks back the flop I knew I was good, and once another Ace hit the turn I knew I had the nuts. The only next move was to just figure out how to get any more money out of him! I decided to check the turn and call if he bet, and then put out a large donk bet the river, to look like a bluff. My hope being he wouldn't believe me and look me up light. Well he bet the turn like I hoped, but after a minute or two of thinking, he was good enough to make the fold. He even said out loud, it looked like a bluff! Crap! lol I think I may have missed some value there. I could have either checked to him and let him bluff the river, or just thinly value betting, and hope to get called. But, oh well, I had a gut feeling and went with it. Unfortunately it doesn't always work out. Almost though!;)
Gabor and I sweating Emil's final table
While I had a few decent hands and spots, I never really got any traction going, and after a few levels ended up about where I started the day. I Think there were some other hands I could have played possibly played differently, but still think they were probably the right moves. I just didn't have many hands to work with and the spots I did take, either didn't provide enough chips to keep me going or just completely backfired lol. Once the money bubble burst, I decided to open up my game, only to get 3 bet shoved on 3 times when I opened relatively light! So I found myself really short and it was a matter of getting a good enough hand to ship in at that point, hoping for a double. I shipped once with J 10 suited from under the gun, and surprisingly the big blind open folded an Ace! I had some other hands that I am looking back on an wondering, "what if" Like pocket 6s from the small blind with the same button player opening; and an open with KQ off suit that I discouragingly folded to a 3 bet shove from a tight player, when I had only about 15 bigs. When I finally put my last 9.5 bigs in, it was from under the gun with 88 and made it through everyone but the small blind, who called with Ace Queen of clubs. The queen hit for him but also added outs for me with a Q J 9 flop. A 7 turn was still hopeful for me but another q on the river sent me off the to rail in 22nd place. It was a decent payday, so while I was upset I didn't get the win, I will gladly take it lol I always find it funny when I do better in larger buy in tournaments with better structures and tougher players. I guess I should take some comfort in that as a player, an know my abilities are at least up to par with some of the big dogs. Clearly I still have a long ways to go, but it is encouraging at least. lol
Emil calm and ready for FT time!
From there we got to sweat Emil's action and enjoy Velden, having some delicious meals and enjoying the scenery between stops in and out of the final table area. It was awesome to see another member of team Intertops there, even though I was jealous i wasn't there with him! lol We did some interviews with the beautiful lake in the background, gambled a little in the very cool little casino and had some drinks to celebrate when Emil went out in 6th place. He was disappointed it wasn't a win, but the extra 26k in his pocket made him feel better very quickly as we enjoyed a fun last night out together in what was probably the coolest location Intertops has had us at yet. While we didn't scoop a win, we all had deep runs, played well, ate great food, enjoyed amazing scenery, drank delicious Austrian beer, and had ALOT of fun. You can't beat that. Well maybe at least not til the next satellite tournament! lol ;)
Team dinner at Lakeside!

Check out all of the videos on  the Intertops facebook page!
Run good

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Poker Life, Velden!

On to the next one! The WSOP may be over but the poker never stops! We have arrived in Velden, Austria for the another amazing tournament series! Myself and the rest of Team Intertops are in this beautiful location to take a shot at the massive 2700 euro Poker EM main event! Intertops had satellites running for a while a couple months ago for this awesome trip, and lucky few of us are here to attempt to make the poker dream a reality. The idea of scooping a win here for insane amounts of money for only a cheap satellite entry online is "iving the Dream" to be sure! Intertops has done it again, not only did they pick a great tourney in a great spot, they over deliver on taking care of their players.  From helping with rides from the airport to getting us settled at the hotel/casino to taking us all out on a boat ride to an amazing dinner! Its been incredible and its only day two! lol No ones even played poker yet!
After writing my last blog post on lesson learned from the WSOP, I knew I needed to take a step back and get some perspective. I will admit, at first the idea of traveling this far and playing poker again so soon after the WSOP wrapped up was not looking so great to me.  The life of playing poker professionally can be brutal sometimes. The airport lines, the long flights, hotel living, the costs and just the straight grind that is tournament poker wears on you quickly.  But as soon as I arrived here, I knew this opportunity could not have come at a better time.  The country is beautiful, the location is amazing, and the people I've met already are great! It's already been the best reminder for why I wanted to do this for a living! These are the experiences that make all the losses, bad beats and close calls worth it. The job could allows us to travel across the globe to play a GAME...It puts things in perspective really quickly, especially with all the tragedies that seem to be happening on a daily basis in the world.
On our boat ride to LakeSide for dinner!

Being adventurous and trying the local cuisine!
Wish us all luck, as  we start our main event here today!  And I know from my previous experience in Seefeld that the competition will be fierce. At least the insanely aggressive play will not be a surprise this time around! lol  It should be a really challenging tournament to say the least, but I know will all will enjoy it! Maybe Team Intertops can come away with a five way chop!? (Nahhhh no chops! but I'll let them have 2-5th at least! lol) We are all hoping for a deep run and to come home with the championship trophy, but all we can do is play our best and enjoy the ride!  Everyone here has already won in my book!  I'll be back soon with another post updating our day 1 status!Run Good

Monday, 18 July 2016

Lessons Learned from the WSOP

Well my first WSOP has come to a close. It has had it’s ups and downs, and downs, but overall I learned a Lot and am still grateful to have been able to play at the biggest and best series in the Poker world. While I didn’t get to live out my poker dream completely and play the Main event, I’m confident the lessons I’ve learned from this roller coaster adventure will help me refocus me for upcoming events and come back to crush next years WSOP! So to keep me on point and have something to reread before next years events, here’s a list of the top 5 most important things I figured out in the last 5 weeks!
Confused look for most of the series lol

  • Have a plan, but be flexible!  I had what I though was a really good plan going in. I had mapped out all the events I wanted to play, totaled it all up and even made a spreadsheet for investors! It was all set up! Until I got there and it basically went out the window! lol While I still played in a decent amount of the events I planned, I changed my game plan on almost a day to day basis. There were simply too many tournaments outside of the WSOP that were softer and clearly a better value.  I had not done enough research on other events in town and it caused quite a bit of stress and confusion. I was constantly torn between what I planned and what others were telling me to play. Flip/flopping on what to play will drive you crazy, believe me. (lol) Just figure it out beforehand and Commit. Another big part of this was reentering tourneys after busting. While many, if not all of the tournaments had multiple day ones, I repeatedly fired a second bullet after busting. While there are definitely spots where I think reentering is worth it, I know now that I was just glory chasing and went WAY too hard too early in my trip. By not sticking to my plan of just reentering the next day, I wasted valuable mental energy, relaxation time and of course money.

  • Be Disciplined!   Staying along the same lines as sticking with your plan, being disciplined enough to stay the course throughout the series is vitally important! If I maintained my discipline and didn’t reenter those tourneys, I would have saved myself from a lot of stress. And while I said be flexible, don’t be so flexible that you end up just going with what everyone else is doing.  You are there for you and no one else. I need to workout everyday, eat healthy, and get a good nights sleep or I’m off my game. Don’t drink, stay out late, skip workouts or eat crappy food, just cause that’s what everyone else is doing. I fell off my routine multiple times throughout the series, I either was trying to keep up with what everyone else was doing or simply slacked off, and I know it cost me my A game. You don’t want to ignore people’s advice completely, I would have missed out on a lot of opportunities if I did, but make sure you still put yourself first.. Do whatever you need to do to bring your A game everyday, no matter what.

  • Bank roll management! Your bank roll isn’t big enough! lol Plain and simple, if you think you have enough, double it. I don’t care who’s bank roll strategy you follow, but double it. Some players come out to the WSOP and take every last cent they have to the tables. Its INSANE. Unless you are completely comfortable with losing your entire roll in a few weeks(and I don’t think anyone should be) Don’t be one of these players, be smart! Use the same intelligent financial decisions that got you here in the first place. Yea it’s the World Series of Poker, and you should take your shot, but don’t shoot yourself in the foot and go home broke! Many times throughout the series the loss of money, compounded by a stretch of running bad, caused me to to tilt and knock me off my game. Even if the thoughts are WAY back in my mind, it’s still there enough to start even the best players down a bad path of negativity and self doubt. Save yourself the trouble and make sure you have enough in your roll to not worry. I know it will improve your play at the tables and make the trip much more enjoyable.

  •  Just playing at Intertops while watching the One Drop!
    4. Pace yourself! Burn out is waaayy too easy at the WSOP!   Six weeks of nonstop poker is sheer craziness! haha I have a new respect for pros that play this every year and honestly, a little bit of pity. The way I and many others went about playing this series is not a way to live, even for 6 weeks! lol Doing nothing else besides playing poker is mentally abusive to ourselves and just not healthy. Being in a casino everyday, while fun for a bit, but gets very old very fast. Dealing with the smoke, the table games, the alcohol and the same degenerate players really takes a toll on you.  You need to make sure you are are balanced and not just grinding away the experience! There’s always another tourney! Thats the beauty of it! If you bust out, leave the casino and do something besides poker! Poker (actually another amazing tourney) will be there tomorrow! Also be sure to schedule days off completely. You might not think you need the break, but trust me, you do.  I was delusional thinking I could play everyday for 12-15 hour days and be at my best! If I took more time off completely, I know my game would have been better and my bankroll would be fatter lol.
    5. Enjoy the Experience! Remember you’re at the WSOP! Its the biggest and best tournament series of the year! It’s poker heaven!  And It’s Vegas! Have fun! Take time to enjoy the process. Poker is supposed to be fun, right?! If it’s not, then what’s the point! You should wake up everyday and smile at the thought you get another shot at poker fame and tons of cash!  Appreciate how lucky we are to be able to play a game like this! Soak it all up! Take pictures, meet Pros you’ve only see on TV, watch a final table in the thunderdome, have a fancy meal, see a show, hit the clubs and the pool!  I mean, it is Vegas! and the WSOP is a spectacle to say the least! ! lol There’s always something going on, poker related or not! I regret not making more time for all these things and really diving into the whole thing.  Unlimited poker isn’t always a good thing. Put the chips down and have some fun somewhere else! 
    The WSOP goes by way to fast and painfully slow at the same time lol When things are going well it’s over all too quick and when things are going  bad, you cannot get on that plane home fast enough lol It’s the part were you have these feelings all in one day that’s hard to describe, but I’m sure most players understand what I mean! lol Hopefully others reading this can learn from my very expensive lessons and not make these same mistakes. And If you’re around for next years WSOP and see me doing any of these things, you have my permission to slap me in the face with a copy of this! lol;)
    Run Good,