Wow…. What a wild ride that was.
I’m sitting here, looking back on the last 12 months and I’ve got to tell you, I’ve come a long way. This time last year I spent every single day sitting in my apartment, at my desk, with my computer and my 2 monitors, playing 10 tables at once for 12 hours a day. I would wake up around noon and go to the gym, get home at 2:30pm, order food for the entire day, and play online until like 3am. I was working my ass off when online was around and was 100% dedicated to learning, winning and working as hard as possible. I watched players who I knew were better than me and it motivated me to catch up to them. It was during this period that I took my game to the next level. I played so many hands and discussed poker relentlessly. I also had the privilege of having an unbelievable mentor.
During the period where I played online every day, I was able to watch, play and discuss poker with Kevin “Bel0wab0ve” Saul for hundreds of hours. He is among the greatest online poker players of all time and he took me under his wing. I have always been a live player, I’ve been playing in casinos since I was 19. I would drive to Indiana twice a day with Ralph’s ID to go play. However, it was the online fundamentals that brought my game to where it is today. To be honest, I wish I had started playing online 5 years ago. If I had, who knows where I would be right now.
Anyways, something pretty crazy happened… Online poker in the US got all screwed up. And guess what? It was time to play live again. This ended up being great for me because it forced everyone to have to play me in my arena, where I thrive. Live poker is what I was meant to do; I honestly know and believe that it is my calling in life. It’s kind of exhausting to explain but if you know me or have seen me play, then you know what I mean.
With live poker comes a lot of travel, and I have been to quite a few places this year. It started with Tunica, St. Louis, and New Orleans. I took a train cross country with my close friends to Vegas for the World Series. We stopped at a few places along the way including the Grand Canyon. We hiked all the way to the bottom of the Canyon, slept there overnight, and climbed out. When we got to Vegas we stayed at the Golden Nugget on Fremont Street in old Vegas for a week. Then I moved over and stayed at the Gold Coast, next to the Rio where the World Series is held. I lived there for over 6 weeks. During that summer a lot of crazy shit happened and I had a lot of experiences. I took part in some of the best partying I’ve ever been around in my life. Cabanas, clubs, bottles and bullshit... All of it. I never really spent money at any of them either.
I am half Jew and a man of value, so I always managed to position myself nicely with my hookups. I also played the biggest tournaments I had ever played in my life. I played around 18 tournaments that mostly consisted of bracelet events. I made my first WSOP final table and played in the Main Event for the 2nd time. I got a wealth of experience and played with some of the world’s top pros. I had finally arrived.
After returning home for a month it was time to get back to work. I went to Lawrenceburg and won the Indiana State Championship #1. I went to Borgota in Atlantic City and played the WPT. Then the WSOP circuit started down in Southern Indiana and I got 3rd place in the Main Event. I came back to Hammond where I only cashed once then went back to AC. I final tabled the 6 max and got 16th in the Main Event. Around Thanksgiving I came home for a week. I went back to AC for the THIRD TIME in early December. I played for 2 weeks with no luck and that was a wrap for the year. Well, I still have been playing cash but I was done with tourneys. I took the bus to NYC and partied with my brother and some friends. I was captivated by the city and would love to move there when the time is right. My brother’s Birthday and Christmas are now in the dust so that is that.
Looking back on all of this has given me great perspective. I can honestly say that it is my hard work, dedication, and belief in myself has gotten me to where I am today. I am not tooting my own horn. Thousands of people can relate to this, I am merely a small example. It’s pretty simple, if you work harder than your peers at improving, in any profession, you will widen the gap between yourself and the people who aren’t as good as you, while closing the gap with the people that are better than you. Those who compliment work ethic with a passion, motivation, and real interest and enjoyment in their craft are far ahead of the game. When you enjoy what you do, it makes it very easy to go to work. I get excited to go work. Giddy even, like a little kid. I love the game so much. A lot of people work hard at their jobs and have great work ethic. The difference is that 95% of people wish they were doing something else. The job they have isn’t their REAL passion, it isn’t their REAL dream.
I am humbled and grateful that I actually get to live mine out. I know in my heart that the only reason I am able to live my dream is because I worked very hard and made several big sacrifices. I also know that I have to continue to do the same, and step my game up even further. If I don’t, then I won’t end up making it in this business. I will become nothing more than a cautionary tale. If I don’t continue to step it up, continue to work even harder, and continue to make sacrifices, then everyone will look back on me and all the shit I’ve talked and call me loser. I can’t let that happen. I won’t let that happen. I have devoted myself to the game and won’t give up on my dream of becoming a star.
I am out of here on Jan 1st. I’m going to Los Angeles for the WSOP Circuit at the Bike. From there it’s straight to Biloxi for the Million Dollar Heater. Me and Kevin are playing some nice tourneys there including a 2k and the 5k Main Event. We fly from Biloxi to the Borgota in Atlantic City (again). These tourneys are gonna be big and juicy as always.
After AC I go down to Tunica and then West Palm Beach for more WSOP Circuit tournaments. After playing the WSOP Main Event in West Palm I will come home… but not to rest. The Chicago Poker Classic will be going on and I can fly back just in time for the 1k Heads Up tournament on March 1st. I’ll play the Main Event then take it from there. I’ll probably hit 4-5 more Cities before this summer’s World Series of Poker.
I am going to grind my ass off and play every single tournament I can. I am going to work twice as hard and be as focused as I possibly can. I have huge personal goals for 2012 that MUST far surpass what I did in 2011. I ended 2011 ranked 163rd in Cardplayer’s Player of the year. My goal for 2012 is top 50. I am currently 40th in the National Points Standings for the 2011-2012 WSOP Circuit. 38 players get an at large birth to the Million Dollar Freeroll Tournament in May. I need to be in that tournament and need to crush the Circuit this year. I cannot fail. If I do I’m a loser… and I don’t want to be a loser, so… I won’t lose, I will win.
Happy New Year Everyone… See you in 2012.