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.
Hi everybody! It’s truly been a long time since I have written one of these. Recently I’ve really been getting the writing itch, and I’m hoping this blog will be a great place to scratch that itch, while continuing to share some of my experiences!
My entire young adult life, as well as my time playing poker, has been an exercise in getting the maximum, while giving the minimum. This isn’t to say that I’ve had a perfect life, or that I’ve experienced all of the things I hope to experience (not even close), nor that I’ve never put in any work at anything. I’ve simply mastered GETTING BY. I was lucky enough to be born with a pretty decent set of genes, leaving me naturally skinny with a great metabolism, as well as intelligent, with an incredible disposition for numbers. I managed to combine these gifts with an ability to do just enough to GET BY.
Hey all, definitely been a while since I checked in on the blog. I’m going to try and get a lot more of these out there from now on … I’m hoping to find a nice mix of writing about some things poker strategy-related, some things BorgataPoker.com-related (there are so many cool promotions being run by them right now, and some amazing new additions to the live casino as well!), and some things related to life traveling as a poker player. For now, I thought it would be smart to start with a quick recap of my recent World Series of Poker experience…
I’ve spent the entire past year on the road, traveling to different tournament stops around the country, and sometimes around the world. In a sense, I understand that I’m living many poker players dreams, because this was stuff I used to dream about a few years ago. I could wax poetic all day about it, but I figured I would spend some time breaking down the practical side of things for a traveling poker player. During the past year, I’ve learned a lot about the smartest ways to travel, so here are some tips for you grinders thinking about hitting the road sometime soon:
Find a friend (or friends!)
The biggest problem with traveling to play poker is expenses. Simply put, it is hard to be good enough to warrant all the expenses needed to travel playing poker. The simplest, most effective way to combat this is to find ways to split your expenses. Traveling with friends, or meeting friends at events, is the simple answer.
Going from hotel to hotel can become a nightmare on a few different levels. It’s very easy to rarely see the light of day, often going from hotel room to poker room day after day. Hotel rooms tend to be one single room, which over time can leave you feeling cramped and/or miserable. I strongly suggest looking into Airbnb for short term rentals when traveling somewhere you feel compelled to see the sights. If you are going to the random tournament circuit in Indiana or Delaware, sure, hit the hotel for cheap. But strongly consider an Airbnb in places like Florida, California and Europe!
The truth of the matter, however, is I had a fairly irrelevant summer, poker-wise. I cashed in just enough events to not take a financial bath while I was out in Las Vegas, and I also played less than I had in previous years due to the freedom afforded me by my Borgata wins. The definite highlight of my summer was watching my close friend Justin Liberto win the $2500 6-Max for his first bracelet! As you could imagine, we had a good time afterwards!
Shortly thereafter, I made my first-ever trip to Europe. My first stop was in Berlin, for WSOP Europe. I had a great time there, cashing three events and making my first ever WSOP final table. After two summers of relative disappointment at the WSOP, it was nice to have a good showing, even if it was in Europe! Also, Berlin is a phenomenal city. I was able to check out their annual Festival of Lights while I was there, which is something you have to see to understand the beauty of – I’ve attached pictures of the event to give you an idea.
You get to take pictures. A LOT of pictures. Pictures of you alone, pictures of you with the trophy, pictures of you with money, pictures of you with the dealers and floor staff, pictures with family, pictures with friends, pictures with WPT sponsors (in this case Monster headphones and Hublot), and pictures with anyone else who wants a picture.
I honestly didn’t think of it nor expect it. It took a bit of the intensity off; and by the time I was done with all the pictures and interviews the initial shock had at least initially worn off. The next thing to do is an obvious one: Celebrate!!!
After blowing off some steam and relaxing for a bit, I headed to the beautiful Bobby Flay Steak at Borgata. About 20-25 of my good friends, family and a few acquaintances gathered together for good food and good times. After that, we headed to a pool party with the gang. Most of us ended up in the pool, and while none of us ended up sober, no one got out of control. In fact, it was one of the best nights of my life – which just so happened to cap off the best day of my life, and I’ll never forget it!!
We welcome Asher Conniff as a guest blogger to Borgata Poker Blog! Asher made Borgata history by winning Borgata Spring Poker Open Kickoff event and Borgata WPT World Championship, both of which he qualified for on BorgatPoker.com online satellite events.
Coming into Sunday, I had already had one of the best weeks of my life. Ten days before, I had turned a $60 satellite on BorgataPoker.com into a $560 seat in the Borgata Spring Poker Open $1 million guaranteed kick-off event, a seat which I then turned into the first place prize of $203,231. After years of grinding poker tournaments full-time, both live and online, it was wildly fulfilling to see the fruits of my labor. Needless to say, between the large sum of money I won and the sweet, sweet vindication of beating my good buddy Matt Stout heads up, I was pretty damn happy!!
Back to “that” Sunday. I was at my next-door neighbor’s apartment in Brigantine, NJ, a stones throw away from Borgata. As we often did, a group of 6 or so of us had gotten together that day to hang out while we all played online poker tournaments. Our ritual: we order food, watch sports and talk through hands on our breaks. Armed with a freshly renewed bankroll and sense of confidence, my levels of relaxation were extremely high, and how could they not be!? I also was overjoyed to be heading to Europe the next week with my mother and sister, a vacation that was to span over 2 weeks and had been planned over 6 months prior. Having never been to Europe, I was super excited, and this was obviously the ideal time to be going on vacation. I even skipped the $3500 buy-in Borgata Spring Poker Open Championship event in anticipation of this trip, knowing that if I was to win/nearly win the tournament I would miss my flight!