Well…another Las Vegas summer in the books.
All summer, all I could think about was how there really is nothing like the life and grind associated with playing the World Series of Poker and all of the surrounding tournaments. Spending two straight months away from home in the insane city that is Las Vegas, living in a rented house or hotel room and oftentimes spending 60 plus hours a week – every week, playing a card game.
Thousands of people are all there chasing the same goal – playing a zero sum game where many must fail as only some succeed. While a grueling and strategic few months, it truly is a one-of-a kind experience.
With that being said, somehow I didn’t have too many of those 60 plus hour weeks this summer. In 8 weeks I played in a total of 20 tournaments. Now, that may seem like a lot but compared to my previous summers, and compared to the summers of other grinders, that really isn’t very much. With the amount of tournaments running in Las Vegas during this year’s timeframe, it isn’t very difficult for someone to play twice or more that amount.
After my annual trip to Electric Daisy Carnival, one of the largest music festivals running held on a massive racetrack in the Vegas desert, I was able to work in the first tournament of the summer (and my second favorite behind the main event)- the WPT Tournament of Champions.
It obviously holds a special place in my heart as I was lucky enough to win this event at Borgata in April 2015! In previous years this tournament was the WPT World Championship. On top of that, the tournament was run so incredibly well by WPT and Aria casino.
They ran this tournament rake free, added over $200,000 in cash and prizes to the prize pool, players were given swag bags worth roughly $1,000 and the tournament used a 30-second shot clock (which I couldn’t have been a bigger fan of and wish was a part of every poker tournament). Not having to deal with tanking and people stalling is really a treat. If I were a recreational player I would be incredibly turned-off by the tanking that sometimes takes place in live poker tournaments. I had an incredibly fun run in the tournament, finally losing on day 2 in 19th place (10 people cashed).
Looking back, the rest of the summer now feels like sort of a blur. I certainly enjoyed myself.
Personally, I probably had a few too many nights out on the strip. I have a hard time saying “no” to a night out at a Night Swim Pool Party and probably spent a few too many nights watching the sun come up at 6AM.
However, I wouldn’t change a thing.
I was still able to make a bunch of decent runs, cash in six of the 20 tournaments I played in, and had a good time doing it! I also was able to watch my good buddy, Justin Liberto, final table the Millionaire Maker and make a run at WSOP player of the year, my guy Michael Jukich finish 51st in the WSOP main event and watch my friends Seth Zimmerman and Craig Varnell get heads up in the $550 PLO!
I almost get more of a rush from watching friends and people I have a piece of go deep in tournaments than I do from going that deep myself. Being a spectator is just as exciting as being the player sometimes!
As amazing as this summer was, I’m really excited to be back home. It’s looking like I’ll be moving to the Jersey City/Hoboken area, settling down a little bit, hopefully getting my first dog and getting off the road for a while.
That means more time spent playing on BorgataPoker.com in New Jersey, and playing in some live poker events throughout the Northeast which I am excited to get back inot.
There really is no place like home and I’m excited to be getting back to my roots.
I hope you all enjoyed my summer recap, I definitely plan on writing as often as I can!