I fell off of the grid shortly after the 2014 World Series of Poker Asia/Pacific which was held in Australia. The months prior were a whirlwind that culminated in my first WSOP bracelet in Pot Limit Omaha, a 2nd place finish in the $10k Razz, 2nd in the $50k Poker Player’s Championship, 3rd place in the $1,500 Limit Hold ‘Em, and a tenuous lead over George Danzer in the WSOP Player of the Year race. A very fortunate thing to be a part of absolutely, but I feel like putting in writing what it was like for me at the time and the cause and affect of it all leading to now.
Going into WSOP Las Vegas I was feeling uncharacteristically confident. My lease had recently expired, and not wanting to scramble to find a last minute apartment or piss away rent money while in Vegas, my friend Steve Albini offered up a room in his recording complex Electrical Audio. These will forever be some of my happiest months, sharing a space with one of my dearest friends, the other engineers and staff who I’m close with, and the constant flood of bands excited to record their latest material, in Chicago, at one of the most prolific studios in the world. I was playing poker, kickboxing frequently, there were instruments everywhere. At night, after Steve finished recording, he would cook dinner for his wife Heather and I, and we would bullshit about whatever was going on while Louis CK played in the background. Between my mindset and the very long hours of grinding at the Horseshoe Hammond Casino, I felt compelled to call some shots, this included a goals thread on the 2+2 Poker Forums titled 'Win a WSOP bracelet to sell on Ebay'
The first event of the series that I played that year, I won. One of my most vivid memories happened on day 2 of this 3 day tournament. I had just lost a crippling pot for the majority of the chips in front of me. My eyes drifted towards the rail and focused on the people trickling in and out of the Amazon Room that had come to observe who was still left in the tournaments that were running. I remembered that feeling of busting out, followed by the masochistic compulsion to see who had outlasted me in the hours that followed, and reminded myself that the only place I wanted to be is right here in my seat. While it’s impossible to control the outcome of a hand once you’ve committed your last chips to the pot, that memory immediately stopped me from feeling sorry for myself and refocused my attention to playing the best that I can with the chips I had left.
My final opponent Morgan Popham similarly nursed a short-stack with care to the very end. The final hand saw me getting AKK5 in against his AAT5 and sucking out to win. Although I was happy with how I had played going into heads up, the feeling of winning from behind against a guy who played his heart out was very underwhelming. There’s a great video made by Sean Urban of the final hand using some animation that described the mood pretty well below.
While of course thankful, my only real feelings following the tournament were not of happiness, but of relief, and I wanted to late register a $1,500 Razz event that was already underway.
Since I’m a slow writer, and all of my tangents make these blog posts unreadably long, I am going to break this up into parts. This post is not meant to be a recap of 2014, but more an insight into the the things I observed and felt during this strange period of time until now. Thanks for reading. Part 2 soon.