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Since last we spoke Pt. 9 WSOP 2018 was interesting 5/5

Quick Preface: I realize my lack of consistency hasn't made it easy to follow along fluidly with these posts, but recapping the highs and lows of 2018 has been some of my favorite writing, so if you find a moment to read or reread 2018 parts 1-4, I think it wouldn't be a waste of your time, and would give you a feel for my headspace moving forward, thanks!

"Why are you crying?"

"Babe, what's wrong?"

"Is your Grandma alright?"

I got out of bed that morning, noticed my phone was lit up with missed texts, scanned the messages, nodded my head, and went to sit in the shower - my favorite place to collect my thoughts, or just switch off.

My best friend, the one I've shared virtually all of my live poker experiences with, who lives to sneak away for a handful of days in order to compete at the WSOP where he'll "Maybe go deep in something, but there's no shot of winning," in spite of all of my I'm telling yous. Well that guy made his first final table, and I can't keep it together.

"20 more of these and we can pay for the rugs."

It's kinda cool to really feel excited about a final table. If I'm lucky enough to make one, I think I view it more as an ending in sight, and very infrequently does it bypass a range which's low is anxiety shitting my brains out, and peaks at forced stoicism. A zone exists. A flow exists, but there's no room for me to lose composure; maybe I'll be able to afford that one day.

Letting these emotions resonate has definitely resulted in a 'when it rains it pours' affect, and I'm still a mess heading downstairs to see my then worried girlfriend. She's happy when she finds out nobody's died, and is ALWAYS excited when final tables are made. For me, it's day two of the 50k Poker Player's Championship, and Kuznetsov is at my table. I really cant afford to let Trueteller see me cry.

Classic judgy Russian, always reaching for chips.

My stack winds up going to Ben Lamb in a series of big bet game coolers, the first of which I could've gotten away from, and I was out of the tournament just before the scheduled dinner break. To this point I was running over to the Stud Final Table for 15 minutes at a time during normal breaks to sweat my aforementioned friend Steve. By the time I had busted, the man was heads up with six time bracelet winner Jeff Lisandro, and a bunch of our friends had gathered on the rail.

The heads up lasted about two and a half hours. While our guy was navigating a 3 to 1 deficit for the second time after a brief reprieve as the 2 to 1 chip-leader, I was in a text thread with Steve's wife Heather, and their non poker playing friends explaining that no, he isn't able to cash out his stack now, and also, regrettably, the prize for first place will not be the 2.3 million tourney chips in play, but, according to the payout structure, roughly 5% of that.

"100k, fuckin' alright that's great!"

Steve loses a pot.

"Orrrr 65...that's good too!"

The second time Steve took back the chip-lead, he'd ride it to victory. As his arm extended out to shake Jeff's hand, my sense memory could feel that clammy, unresponsive, thanks but no thanks grip turning into mush inside of Steve's pleasure doing business with you squeeze. It's held out there like it's meant to be kissed. I'm having trouble not turning this into handshake erotica.

Some of you are eating breakfast right now; I'm sorry

Steve's band Shellac has a song called Wingwalker, where, at least on stage, Steve and their bassist, Bob will declare "Look at me, I'm a plane," while stretching their arms out to the side emulating wings. Once Jeff was out of sight, Steve picked the bracelet up and flew it over towards us, hands holding each extended strap, teetering it from one 45 degree angle to the other before he got close enough for us to mob him.


The above experience was retold nicely in a 12 minute mini-doc that you're able to watch for free below! I'm so fond of these memories, and the episode was extremely well produced. It's so inspiring to me to watch somebody make it all the way to the finish line, and keep composed when things aren't going your way, but you're so fucking close to it all being over. I will always cite Steve's disposition as a point of reference if I find myself in a similar spot again. I love you, and I'm so proud of you man!

Outside of what has already been detailed, I would eek out a 12th place finish in the 10k PLO8 event won by Phil Galfond, and sprinkle in a few small event mincashes to put a cap on 2018. Crypto implosion, and Commerce big game losses be damned, the 10k PLO along with taking a piece of my friend has once again kept me afloat. If I can just final table this PLO every even year I'm sure I'll be fine.

<3 Brandon


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