I'm pretty much done saying how I got into poker. This entry's going to be a review of my "breakout" summer.
In the spring I had won the $200 HU MTT on PS for $14k or so, and the $10r 55k for about $13k. I was very satisfied with my online results, but one major thing still eluded me. A major live win. In May I was in Vancouver for the Johnny Chan Poker Classic. KalenSC won the first $500 NLH event, then Jeff won the $1k 6max event. The next event was PLH and I final tabled, but ended up losing a critical race at the final table and placed 5th, if I recall correctly for around $13k.
Then later in June I made my first televised final table - a $1k Heartland Poker Tour event at Turning Stone. It wasn't a big deal media wise, but I desperately wanted to win a live tournament. I went into the TV table (final 6) as the chipleader, and played worse than I'm capable of and got coolered out of it to place 4th for ...I don't even remember. Around $12k.
That was a very devastating experience for me. I was a decent favorite to win, was feeling confident, and came up short. When you're as hyper-competitive as me, nothing short of a victory will suffice. I went home and was massively depressed at my failure.
About a day after I got home I bought a plane ticket to Las Vegas. The WSOP was going on and I figured it'd be a good idea to take a trip out and see some friends and clear my mind. I was taking the TS tournament too hard, which is something I've worked on. I don't get as heartbroken anymore over tournaments (although they can still be extremely frustrating). At that time I was really frustrated though. I'd taken 8th in a previous TS 1k, 5th in the PLH $1k, and now 4th in the TS Televised $1k. My motivation was hurting and was ready to just take an extended break.
Anyways, I stayed with Bond18 and then stayed at "The Gobbo House" with Gobbo, JCarver, EC10, Kalen, Mlagoo, and I'm sure others that I'm missing. Not to mention there were many visitors every night. It was nice to see all of my poker friends outside of the poker element.
One night my friend, and fellow two ragger Matt (mlagoo) won the $1k Sunday Million for around $315k. Words cannot describe how happy I was for my friend. Without a single iota of jealousy we all celebrated his win. I remember the next day I was incredibly motivated. I said to myself "Matt can do this, I know I can!"
It was Monday and I decided I was going to win the biggest tournament - the FTP $1k. As some of you may recall, I didn't end up winning, but took 3rd place for $33k - my biggest cash at the time.
I was not satisfied.
I wanted to win. I wanted it more than anything. I wanted to experience the feeling of winning a huge tournament, whether it be online or live.
I didn't take 3rd place too hard, after all, it was my biggest cash. My friends were around me to help give moral support, but I was fine. I hung out in LV for another few days, but I had a mission. I couldn't concentrate on the online majors while playing on a laptop too well, so I flew home a few days after my FTP cash to play the majors.
I believe it was the next week at home that my mission continued. I had
to win a tournament....and I was in a great position to. I was heads-up in the Sunday $100+R, first was around $36k, and I had a gigantic chiplead heads-up. Well, I somehow managed to lose every single hand during HU play and took 2nd for 23k or so.
It was horrible. I still can't believe I lost that. Don't get me wrong, $23k is a hell of a lot of money - I still know the value of money.....but I set the bar very high for myself and when I lost that match I was just in shock.
The next Sunday arrived and I was ready to play. I was incredibly determined to take down a major. Perhaps the devastating $100r disappointment turned out to be a blessing, because I was firing on all cylinders. After 12 grueling hours of intense concentration I did it.
I DID IT!
I won the PokerStars Sunday Million for $200k.
This was by far my greatest poker accomplishment. It was such a relief to finally take one down. I still wake up sometimes and just think to myself, "Damn...that was awesome. I reached my goal, I did it."
My local friends were at a friends house, watching me play on a laptop. They were all drinking and having a great time. I woke up my mom and told her I "finally did it." She knew how badly I wanted a victory and was very happy for me. Later that night I went with my friends to Steak N' Shake, a 24/7 diner to celebrate. I'll never forget it.
Just writing about this brings back the amazing indescribable feeling of finally achieving a major goal.
I'd won the biggest Sunday tournament. Now it was time for me to put up a big live result.