So I wanted to write a little recap about my year and some new goals and expectations for the future. I will talk about my development as a person and as a poker player, and how it has changed my life. It is very long so I hope I don’t bore and put you to sleep!
At the end of last year/early this year I remember sitting in my room at my house in Kent. This is where I was going to school at the time and I was on Christmas break. I had managed to rack up a nice little credit card bill upwards of around $2500 dollars. I had no Idea how I was going to continue paying for my education, books, rent or anything really. I was not doing well in poker at the time because I kept playing out of my bankroll and losing. Actually the whole semester before I managed to drop about 5k in poker, which was all the money I had saved up from that time. I had to quit my job as a certified pharmacy technician before I moved down to Kent because the commute would have been too long and expensive, and I had a full load of classes. I had cancelled my subscription to the poker training sites that I had been apart of because of money and I was too busy with school to actually sit down and learn. I had the fire inside of me though to want to keep playing poker so I ended up deciding to reactivate my PokerVT subscription.
My whole life I have been a very hard working and dedicated individual. I am very competitive and do not like to lose. I also never played another other form of poker other than No limit texas holdem cash games. At the time of rejoining the site, they had recently added two new pros to their line up. They were Nick Rainey and Jason Somerville. I remember Nick was strictly a sit and go guy at the time, so I didn’t watch any of his videos at the time. I was very intrigued by Jason’s videos at the time as I had never heard anyone go into so much depth and strategy as he did. The man is truly a genius when it comes to poker and I watched his video many times, taking notes and really trying to learn his new strategy’s that I had never even though of before. I re-deposited 50$ onto my full tilt account again and tried to play a few tournaments. I was actually starting to play a lot better and started winning more consistently. By the end of January I made my first big final table which was in the midnight madness and cashed for 900$. I was super excited at the time because I was actually going to have money for my trip to Las Vegas that I was taking in a week for my 21st birthday. One thing I forgot to mention was that I also only started out taking 12credit hours in school this semester instead of my usual 16-18 so that I could have more time to study and learn poker.
My first night in Vegas I ended up playing a 75$ tournament at Binion’s that started at 2am. There was only about 37 people who entered in it, and I was a little intimidated at the time. I used all my strategies and thinking that I had learned from the previous weeks of study and ended up playing very well in the beginning. It was about an hour in when I recognized a voice that I had heard before. I looked over to the other table to see JC Alvarado, who was a video producer for PokerVT. I had watched all of his videos and knew a little about who he was. I wasn’t actually sure at the time if it was him or not, but when I heard him using poker talk that no amateur would use I was pretty sure it was him. On the first break I was in the bathroom and I asked one of the guys who I thought was JC’s friends if that was actually him and he said “yea!” This guys name is Aaron Been and he is a very successful poker player.(I did not know who he was at the time though.) He was also accompanied by their friend Steve O Dwyer who was also a very accomplished player. Aaron introduced me JC and Steve and I was in shock that I was actually playing with them in the same tournament. I mean who plays a 75$ Binions donkament at 2am?! They were obviously getting drunk and just having a good time, but it was still a really cool moment for me at the time. I had never dreamed that I would actually get a chance to play with some pros at any point in my life! We all ended up making the final table together and the top 3 places where to be paid.
The flys were dropping fast and I continued to play really tight. I got into a hand where Aaron shoved in first position and I was in the big blind with K7s. He had less than 10bb and I figured that he had to have a lot of different hands so I couldn’t be in bad shape and made the call. He ended up having something like A5 and I ended up knocking him out. That was a very cool feeling at the time and I was loving every second of it. One thing I also learned from watching videos from Daniel Negreanu was theory behind the minraise. I was using it to my advantage as everyone had no idea how to react to my small raise size. I remember raising Steves blind one hand and he was like wtf as if confused at what to do. Looking back I know Steve is a very good player and knows how to play hands in every situation, but as a professional now I can see he probably didn’t know if I was any good or not and whether my raise was strong or weak. You just didn’t see bad players min raising at that time. Both Steve and JC ended up getting knocked out and I was in the money 3 handed against some random older guys. The coolest part was that they ended up staying to watch me. I ended up shoving K2o from the sb and the BB woke up with 33. I lost and was out. I remember talking to them afterward about the hand and wishing them good luck before they left. That was definitely the fire I needed to continue to learn and try and become the best poker player I could be.
Upon returning home I continued to watch videos and study. I had never logged onto a poker forum, or any forum for that matter, until I saw that pokerVT had their own. I was reading around and decided that I was going to try and discuss hands with other players. This is where I saw that Nick Rainey had been playing with a few members on the site and making a video of it. I knew I had to try and get in on this video because I had never played with a pro online and was super excited about it. I ended up getting into his 3rd tournament, which was a 9man sng. I had never really studied 9man strategy before and had only played a few back in the day on Party. I got really lucky to not only knock out the pro himself, but I also won it! Nick was giving his own money away at the time for anyone who knocked him out and for the winner, so I got a nice little 75$ boost to my bankroll! This is when I started watching Nick’s videos and started to learn how to play the 9mans. I decided that even though I was getting more and more into debt that I would spend 100$ to purchase sng wizard. It is a program that helps you perfect your calling and shoving ranges in the tournaments that you play. He also had a promotion going at the time that whoever made the most money playing 500 of these, that he would donate all of his profits that he made playing that day. I studied every single hand I played and learned what hands I could and could not play. This is where the bulk of my poker game and career started. I had never played 500 tournaments in my life, and here I was playing them in a period of two weeks. Not only that but I was actually studying every single hand and learning. To this day I actually think I was the winner but never got any money for it lol. There was a deadline for the challenge and by that time another extraordinary opportunity had fallen upon me.
I want to mention that this was all taking place during March and April, and during this time I became an alcoholic. I had always drank a lot during college due to being in a fraternity and being very outgoing and social. I was going to the bars 2-3 nights a week and dropping shots of crown by myself everyday. I probably had on average about 6-8shots every single day for about a two month period on top of the Thurday/Friday/Saturday nights that I always went out. I even started to have people over on like a random Monday or Tuesday night to play beer pong when I was bored. I had dropped out of one of my classes and was down to only 9 credit hours. One of my classes ended at the beginning of April so I only had to go to 3 classes at that point and two of them were 1 day a week. Needless to say I had a lot more time to get drunk and hangout with friends, on top of all the poker I was playing. I also racked up a lot more debt and wasted the rest of my student loan money on alcohol. In turn I also gained a lot of weight and became mildly depressed. The only thing that helped me through it all was poker.
Nick decided that he was going to choose a couple students to train over the summer. I knew I HAD to get in on this and this was my motivation to continue to learn and play. It was then one day that He also said he had a job for someone and I was the first one to respond out of all the fellow members of the site that were also competing in the challenges. I became Nick’s personal online assistant in exchange for poker lessons. It was a very simple job as I had to go through all of his emails and write back generic responses to the thousands of people that asked him questions. At this point Nick had told me that I had been accepted to come out and train this summer! That was one of the best days of my life as I bragged to all of my friends and family what I had accomplished. A real live pro wanted to train and stake me to play poker!
I ended up going out in June to learn the 90mans on full tilt poker. However because Nick had originally wanted me to be his personal assistant, I did not start out playing a lot of poker right away. I was running around for the month of June doing work for him. The times that I did get to play was mostly live at nearby casinos in LA. I was so mad I told him that if I didn’t get to play I was going to quit and leave. By this time it was already July and I finally had gotten approved to have rake back on my account so he gave in. From then on we played every single day for many hours. We went out to eat or golfing a few times, but other than that we were in the office grinding away. I had never played so many games in my entire life. This is where I learned the dedication and commitment it took to become a true professional at poker. It was at this time too where I started playing HU SNG, and really started to learn more about hand reading and all the little intricacies that each poker hand was made up of. It was scary at first to realize how bad at poker I actually was, and how much I actually still had left to learn! Nick loves to crack jokes and mess with your head, and I definitely was the one who got screwed with the most. So by the end of our training I declined his offer to stay and continue to learn from him. This resulted in a big falling out between us and we did not talk for many months after that.
I went back home but didn’t have a real setup to play on, so for the greater part of a month I did not play any poker. By the time I got my computer back I ended up losing all the money I had. I was definitely out of practice from not playing so long so I went back to studying and watching videos. I ended up buying a new computer and monitor so that I had something reasonable to play on and received a 1k stake from a friend. I was so up and down over the next week and it was very frustrating. If I lost the money I had no way to pay him back. The day before I was supposed to pay him back I finally had a break through by winning the turbo fiddy on full tilt for 5k!
I finally had a bankroll of my own and could afford to pay off my bills and new computer. I played every single day from that point on. I did not leave my house for almost 6 weeks. I did not hang out with friends I did not do anything except learn and play poker. It was at this time I started watching a lot of heads up videos. I bought a subscription to leggo poker and watched all of Aaron Jones videos. He is a genius like Jason when it comes to poker and I love how he keeps his videos entertaining while also giving a lot of good advice. It was at this point something great had happened to me. One day I was watching videos by Jason Somerville when I had an epiphany. I suddenly could see the big picture of poker, and his videos that had once dazzled my brain no longer were interesting to me anymore. I grew bored of listening to his explanations because I finally understood. It was at this point I knew I could produce my own videos at the same quality that he had. Not to take anything away from him, I still watch his videos, they are the best. But I was finally just able to tie all these advanced concepts together that I had been learning for so long and everything made sense!
I had some small success from this point on playing just mtt’s. I final tabled the 10$cubed and the 20rebuy two times for a few thousand. I also went with some friends down to the wsop circuit event in Indiana where I did fairly well. A few weeks went by and I decided to dabble in the HU SNG again. I started playing a lot higher than I was used to and experienced some mild success. I had a fish on the line at the 100$ level and he kept quitting me and sitting in a new game. I kept following him in and eventually he just kept playing me. I had him so tilted and was up almost 8 buyins on him when my life went to shit. I started to lose every single key hand in the big pots that basically decided the match. He went on a super rush and just drilled me for almost 3000$ which was almost half of all the money I had to my name! I felt so defeated so I went out drinking that night and got annihilated. The next day was Sunday and somehow I woke up fresh as can be. It was not a good Sunday as I busted from every tournament and was down to my last 100$ in my account. I had just busted in the biggest tournament of the week after running KK and AK into AA back to back hands. I about lost it. I kept my composure and ended up doing something great. This is from one of my earlier posts where I went on the win the double deuce for 35k!( you can read all about that in the post titled, “this wet dream only cost $22$”). I had finally had my big break through after getting so close so many times, and my first 5 figure score!
Winning the deuce was the not the best thing that happened to me. I finally had a big enough bankroll to grind all the tournaments I wanted to play but I got lazy after that. I felt like I was the best and that I did not need to play everyday or study anymore. I started going out and drinking a lot again. Luckily It did not get out of hand this time and I still played a few times a week. I ended up final tabling the Sunday Brawl a few weeks after that and ended up finishing 5th for ~30k. This was a few weeks ago and since then I started playing a lot more. I won a few more tournaments and had finally crossed the 100k mark, in just two months. I am very proud of how far I have come. I never gave up and continued to work as hard as possible. Nick and I eventually made up and are now good friends. He really is a great friend and person if you give him a chance. He is very egotistical and I had never met someone like that before so It was hard for me at the time to realize the good in him. Since then he has gone on to win many tournaments, the stars TLB, and over 100k in cashes, and all of this just in November! Between the two of us I believe we will easily make over 1 million dollars next year. I want to thank him for giving me an opportunity to do well and succeed when everyone else was against me. I could never have gotten to this point in my career without his coaching and help, so thank you for everything you have done for me! All it takes to succeed in life is a passion for whatever your doing, a very strong work ethic to achieve it, and someone to believe in you. If you want something in life, go out there and fucking get it. Everyone was against me, and still to this day there are many people saying that I can‘t make it. All I have to say to them is I fucking made it. I made it without them or their help, so go fuck yourselves. When I win 500k next year DO NOT come to me and ask for charity, to double your money, give me praise, etc. Just continue to work your worthless white collar job while I continue to enjoy the satisfaction that your sorry ass life is about as hopeless/sad as Tiger’s marriage. Sorry the average American is too ignorant and stupid to understand the life of this poker player.
Anyway, Good luck in your future endeavors and Happy Holidays!