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Poker Trail

Sitting in seat 19E on Spirit Airlines flight 711 from DTW to LAS, cruising somewhere in the vicinity of 550mph at 39,000 feet, typing this blog in the trusty Notes app on my iPhone5. Spirit is always the cheapest direct flight between my original home and my current home. If it wasn’t, there’s no way I would continue to cram myself into these squashed rows whenever a trip was in order. I think about that, but then I often remember that Louis C.K. bit about how we need to appreciate the miracle of flight and be thankful for the ability to even travel at all. It helps a little.

 

The reason our fares are low is because it's purposely uncomfortable as fuck and we have no technology.
The reason our fares are low is because it’s purposely uncomfortable as fuck and we have no technology.

WSOP Wrap

July 15, 2015
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As a professional poker player, it feels like there are two separate times each year to make new year’s resolutions. The first is the same as when everyone else does: January 1st, New Year’s Day. The second is at the end of the event that everyone looks forward to throughout the rest of the year, the biggest poker festival in the world: The WSOP. It feels like such a culmination of efforts, excitement, heartbreak and expectations and is a true finale of the year’s events. The rapid fire schedule of potentially life-changing tournaments, combined with the busiest cash game days on the calendar in Las Vegas, makes for an exhausting six weeks of poker.

I’m always eager for the WSOP to start and, about 75% of the way through the schedule of events, eager for it to end. Traditionally, this is the only time of year where I register for the poker lottery, aka no limit hold ’em tournaments. While there is nothing more exciting in poker than being deep in a tournament, it is also the most high variance and both mentally and physically draining of the two main variants. Cash games provide the ultimate flexibility in start and stop times, while tournaments are the complete opposite. If you want to completely remove the invention that is the alarm clock from your life, be a cash game poker player.

I fired at 5 lotteries tournaments during the WSOP:

WSOP $565 Colossus – 731st place for $4027
WSOP $1500 Monster Stack – dnc
WSOP $235 Daily Deepstack – dnc
Venetian DSE $600 – 13th place for $3275
WPT500 $565 – 164th place for $1667

In the cash games between May 27th and July 10th, I put in 203 hours of work and showed a profit at a rate of about $72/hr. The majority of my sessions were 5/10 at the Bellagio, with some 2/5 mixed in around town, as well as a couple 1/2 games at the Golden Nugget for a change of scenery. Total profits during my 2015 WSOP comes to $20.1k.

What is the “long term” in live poker? It isn’t rhetorical… I would seriously like to know your opinion.

The short and medium term has been good to me. Ever since moving up to 2/5 full time, I’ve taken each hand much more seriously than when I was putting in all those hours at 1/3 where both the competition and the stakes made me extremely bored. That, combined with endless hand discussions with friends (more on that later), combined with some good old-fashioned run good has resulted in me having very good months lately, and January was no different.

The Bellagio has been my home base. Despite it’s shortcomings, particularly regarding customer service and especially when compared to other top quality rooms such as Aria and the Wynn, I can’t disregard the results. Since the start of 2013 I’m averaging well over 10bb’s an hour in the Bellagio 2/5NL games, over 476 hours. A lot of those hours (the ~50 earliest) were very poorly played compared to my current game, mainly because I was still making adjustments while trying to move up in stakes. So when I exclude those hours from the stats, the hourly ticks up further.

I’ve been through horrific downswings and written about those. I’ll throw in a #nojinxs hashtag and hope for the best here. But I’m just wondering when this 2/5 hourly rate that currently displays in my Poker Journal app will be considered legit. Wondering when I can breathe a little easier, knowing we aren’t just having a one time menage with the variance mistress and lady luck while both are in a good mood. Keep the Bellagio Cocktails coming.