Click here for Part 1.
Playing a full World Series of Poker schedule quickly becomes an exercise in attrition. There are typically 2 events a day to choose from over the course of 45 days. Each event takes a minimum of 3 days to complete, and a normal tournament day lasts 13 hours long. In the beginning, I’m concentrated on my overall health, but at some point it becomes too difficult to pay attention to diet, so that falls apart. Not long after, I am cutting off exercise to focus only on recovering brainpower and maintaining my endurance. 15 minute breaks between levels are used to decompress with minimal talking, and similarly, minimal interactions with friends sharing our house.
Despite racking up some decent results in 2014, I really had no time to properly process anything until WSOP Las Vegas was over, and by that point all I could think was that I was 4 players away from winning 4 bracelets in one year, but managed just one, and that one win felt lackluster. Furthermore, George Danzer only had to cash in one event to take the Player of the Year lead away from me. I was disappointed in myself for not doing a better job of finishing, and was restlessly seeking closure in the Player of the Year Race that was to be decided 3 months from then in Australia, where World Series of Poker held additional events over the course of 16 days in an effort to branch out Internationally.
As a quick aside, if you’re curious what type of demand there is as far as the media is concerned when you have a year like this, assuming you are a relatively unknown cash game player that doesn’t shy away from sociological hypotheticals, there is some, but really not much. I did maybe 10-15 interviews, with probably 5 of those being podcasts, a magazine shoot, and a few strategy columns. I requested, and was promised copies of magazines I contributed to, but none of them followed through. There were no sponsorship offers at any point in America or for Australia. I assumed that if anybody were interested in me at all, they were probably waiting to see how Player of the Year panned out to better assess my value. All the same I had no aversion to trying to be a positive ambassador of poker, and asked around for information on what I might expect, and what I should avoid. The few conversations I had yielded very little advice. I tried myself to contact the Chicago Tribune and the Red Eye, as I thought, being a proud local with a unique backstory, that the race could be a fun thing to follow, but my emails received no response.
When Australia rolled around, my competitor, Danzer, wasted little time overtaking me, cashing in the first NL Event he played. I retook the lead cashing in the second heat of the same event, after my luggage had gotten lost between connecting flights, causing me to actually miss my connecting flight and the first heat of the tournament. A few days later I took 6th in a different NL Event distancing myself from Danzer briefly who responded with a 6th place finish in the Dealers Choice Event, and then outright won his 3rd bracelet of the year in the 8 game event despite entering day two of that event short on chips. I did my best in the final two events, getting my money in very good, but managed only a 17th place finish in the Main Event which wouldn’t be enough to beat Danzer.
After Australia’s conclusion I really didn’t hear anything from anybody media related at all. Again, this isn’t a grievance, just insight into my experience. My favorite moments during 2014 from a poker standpoint were reading the sweat threads my friends posted on Facebook during live-streams, hearing that my home casino ( The Horseshoe in Hammond Indiana ) showed the 50k Poker Players Championship on their TV monitors and that many of my closest friends did commentary for it, and of course the overwhelming amount of support that poured in from strangers, peers, and loved-ones. I loved feeling like Chicago was taking over the WSOP, and that we were back in the spotlight even if I hadn't met my standards.
A bunch of stuff came up that caused me to be away for a bit, but I should have time in the very near future to knock part 3 out.