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What I Learned From Playing The $3500 WPT Event The Last Couple Of Days - Poker Is Hard, But I Can Beat It

You guys know I love playing poker. I once had a terrible job in advertising in NYC, quit, and moved abroad to Manchester, England to play online poker professionally because I couldn't spend one more day in the cubes. It went..ok. I made enough to pay the bills, but realized it probably wasn't going to be a career for me. Wait, before I go on, ironically about my NYC cube job, my first day was the first day I read Barstool, and on that day I remember going to my friend's apartment on 178th street (oh yes, the streets do go that high in NYC when you are dead broke, I lived  at 157th at the time) and telling her that I was not cut out for a cube job, I was not going to keep doing it, and I am going to follow my dreams instead.

So I did that job for a year, read Barstool most of the day...and boy, those were the days. Today is a very reflective day because of this sale thing, but if you were around for the old days when it was just blogs, you know what I mean. Every blog was an "A" blog. Commenters literally used to grade blogs on a scale in the comments. You would just refresh the blog all day waiting for something else to hit. There weren't 38 writers flooding the main page at the time, it was just the OGs....and Neil. Shout out Neil. 

But anyway, I eventually moved to England, played online poker, and started my own blog because there was no Barstool-esque blog for the DC area. My 5 month stay in England came to an end and I moved back home to my parents house unemployed and unsure about my future. I was still doing my blog though, and the 15 people who read it seemed to like it. 

While in England I emailed it to Dave. He said something to the effect of "I like it, just need to see more". So that's what I did. I did more, while telling my parents I was applying for jobs. Then when I felt I had done enough "A blogs" (shout out to the Pogs Blog!), I sent 15 links to Dave from my childhood bedroom, he emailed me back that night, and I was hired the next day, and that was October 2013.

Wait this blog was supposed to be about poker...I know I'm getting there.

I've only really loved doing 2 things in my life: Blogging and playing poker. I hear sex is cool but I've never been able to afford it. And blogging and poker have always been very similar in my mind- mostly, because they are grinds. Back in the day we were doing 8-10 blogs a day. Nonstop blogging. I didn't leave my apartment for 2 years because I was so scared about missing a story and not being able to blog it. Every old school employee has a story about sprinting home from the bar to blog something, or going into the bathroom or outside in the freezing cold to call a coworker (love you Trent/Banks/RDT) to help get a blog up. 

Poker is the same way. You have to work at it. You have to grind. When you're not playing it, you need to be studying it. If you're not working on improving your game, someone else is and they will be more successful than you. You guys seeing these similarities now?  Every professional poker player we've had on the podcast has said the same thing- you have to work on your game off the felt more than the next person. Negreanu said it, Moneymaker, Ryan Riess, Galfond, everyone. 

So let's catch up now to the last few days. I was fortunate enough to play the $3500 WPT event at the Borgata. A lot of pros come out for this, as the prize pool gets big and there are a lot of non-pros in the field like me for them to feed on. And what I realized while playing the last couple of days is I can get good enough to beat this game. You know how when players go from college to the pros and they say at some point something just "clicks" and the game slows down? That's how I started to feel. Like, I'm not a complete novice. I know I have some poker talent. 

I didn't make the money, as I finished about 300th out of 1290, with 162 getting paid. It was a swingy couple of days, but I think I played pretty well for the most part minus one or two hands. 

What I learned is I know I also have a while to go to be where I want to be as a poker player, and if I put in the work, I can get there. I love playing these larger buyins against the better players because I can push myself to play my best and see how I can hang. There are players who are clearly better than me, but also there are players I was clearly better than that have wayyyyy more winnings than I do.

So what's the next step? Work more on the game, play more, and build up the poker brand for Barstool. Cracking Aces does ok. It's young. But it's also a side project. It's not my full time job like say, Foreplay is for Riggs, ya know? I started Cracking Aces because I wanted to combine my two passions- blogging and poker. See how I went full circle there? That's some good bloggin'. And Cracking Aces has been such a great release for me- after 6 years of nonstop blogging, I started a podcast. And you know what? It's pretty freaking good. I have always been the guy who hasn't been the best on the mic or on camera, but it turns out when I'm talking about what I'm passionate about with one of my best friends (Jake Toole, pro poker player extraordinaire, 34th place finisher in the 2015 Main Event, Penny the dog's dad, and the brains on the podcast), it's actually good. 

So I want to grow this shit up. If poker (and other assorted gambling/Las Vegas things) interests you, hit us with the follows on social. Subscribe to the podcast. Come along for the ride. It's time for me to stop being a pussy and....wait for it....go all in.



PS: Scroll back to the top and look at that picture. And now look at this one:

Look at this dude tryna look at my cards!!! Two different pictures! Sheesh!