Wednesday, May 22, 2024


It’s just after 6am. I’m drinking my second Corona. I have no idea how old it is. I know that I looked in the mirror a few seconds ago and I didn’t recognize the guy looking back at me. However, there was something faint in the mirror. It recalled a guy who one year ago this month started hitting the bigger online tournaments. It recalled the face of the guy who, a year ago, said, “I think I can do this.” Still, I hadn’t seen The Guy in a long time.

I know that the past two months have been full of cash game swings I couldn’t even bring myself to write about. They were obscene in both the positive and negative. Those closest to me heard me ramble, usually after a few drinks, about the two huge slot gacor sessions I had at $50/$100 in December and January. Fewer people heard about the late January massacre. And no one had heard about how March had started in a way that made me think about giving up the game. I was keeping it to myself. I was sneaking five minute reads of “Shut Up and Deal” because, when I’m losing, Jesse May gets my head on straight.

And yet, despite the cash game swings, despite three bloody attempts to take a shot at $100/$200, there was a nagging optimism somewhere around my medula oblongata. It started a couple of weeks ago when I made it deep into a $1 million guaranteed event. For more than an hour I played with Gavin Griffin, Carl Olson, Matt Matros, and Stuart “The Donator” Patterson. The table was brutal. Griffin finally dealt me my death blow and sent me out in 43rd place. (Edit: In fact, I went back and checked my records, this was a Sunday event, not the $1 million guaranteed. It was a 43rd place out of mor than 3000 entrants. The previous day, I had cashed in the $1 million guaranteed).

And the tournament game continued to succeed. Something inside my noodle was working right. I was seeing things much too clearly for my success to be nothing more than a fluke. In fact, on two consecutive nights, I final tabled an ever-loving PLO8 tournament (which anyone will tell you, is a game at which I blow much sack). Sure, I was having my fair share of good luck. Still, I admitted to myself, that something more than luck was going on.

More than anything, I was able to admit the mistakes I was making that were sending me out of tournaments, in the money, but out of the big money. When I finally busted out of any tournament, I could look back and identify the mistake I made the sent me to the rail. Even if I lost on a bad suckout, I could admit that I had done something leading up to that moment that led to me being in a position where I could lose.

And still, the March cash game massacre continued. At one point, just Thursday night, I was on the verge of a full-scale cashout. I was on the verge of giving it all up until this summer. I wasn’t playing a good cash game. Sure, there were a lot of bad beats, but there was a lot of bad play on my part as well. I found myself wanting to get even and that is never a good thing.

And so it happened that Friday was a workday so full that I spent ten straight hours pounding on my keyboard, knowing very well that I leave for Monte Carlo in two days. I knew that I was about to be forced to take break, regardless of whether I wanted to.

Already planning to spend all of Saturday with the family, I knew I had one more chance to get somewhere in the neighborhood of even. And so, I entered the $200 NL Hold’em event with more than 1000 other people. Four hours later, I entered a silly $100 PLO8 event with around 70 people.

I wish I could tell you what happened over that eight hour period. I wish I could recount a full hand history for you. I wish I had the energy right now to tell you what brought CJ to pull out the “You can dodge bullets, baby” line.

All I can tell you is that I chopped the PLO8 event five ways for a modest profit.

Oh, and I can tell you that just about half an hour ago, I chopped the other tournament four ways, taking better than second place money. In short, it makes up my biggest cash to date.


In the grand scheme of things, it means precious little. It’s not been six hours since I was wiping my tear ducts with Jesse May’s words. It’s not been 24 hours since I told msyelf that there is a much greater life than I can find under two hole cards. It’s not been five seconds since I admitted to myself that I could lose it all back with a few bad sessions in the cash games.

And yet, it has been nearly a year since I saw The Guy and realized I could play tournament poker. That guy seems to be back.

I like The Guy and I hope he stays around for a while.