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Don't call it a comeback!

mlagoo What it do, tworaggers?? Your friendly neighborhood magloo here, reporting in. I just wanted to write a blog and fill you guys in on what’s been happening in my life since I won the Million in late June.

After the win, I continued playing a few WSOP events, culminating in a disappointing finish in the $5,000 NLHE 6max event, all of which really left me with a strong desire to get out of Vegas. Vegas is a great city to visit for a short time, and probably a really fun place to live, but staying there for six weeks just meant I was treating it like a short vacation that seemingly never ended. And that really wears you down after a while. I finally left the day that the Main Event started (I know, leaving without playing the main event seems like blasphemy, but I just needed to get out of there).

To the victor, some spoils

After I returned home, I spent a week or so just winding down. I looked at cars, and bought myself a nice new 2007 Mazda 3. I don’t have a picture of my car, but it looks a lot like this:

click to enlarge the image

Same color, same model, but mine has a few added things (specifically, a moon roof and a small spoiler) that I really like. I know, not exactly a BMW, but it’s a start.

I also bought myself one of these:

click to enlarge the image

For whatever reason, the style of the Movado has always been attractive to me, but I could never justify spending that much money on a watch. But now I kinda feel like … why not?

That’s about it for the extravagant purchases. I also bought a bunch of clothes and a bunch of CDs/DVDs, but nothing too interesting. All told my post-million shopping spree probably set me back about 25k. It was fun =).

I basically didn’t play poker for the entire month of July. Towards the end of July, I did a week-long hike through the Appalachian Trail, in the Shenandoah Valley area. After that, I spent a week on a lake house in Canada, near Lake Ontario, just relaxing with some friends from high school.

Turning Stone

Following my stay in Canada, I finally played some poker! I rode from Ontario straight to Turning Stone Casino
in upstate New York, to play their Empire State Championship Series. In that, I played 4 tournaments – a $300, a $500, a $1,000 and a $5,000. The $300 and $500 ended early, with nothing exciting really happening.

The $1,000, however, was another story. This tournament had a pretty good structure, which would prove to be very beneficial to me because I was AMAZINGLY card-dead. On day one, we played down from around 320 players to the final two tables, which took about 14 hours. During that time, I would guess I played roughly 10% of my hands. This took an incredible amount of patience and an incredibly good play-list on my iPod. Somehow, I just found myself staying in the tourney – I would find a good spot to resteal, or a good spot to steal the blinds, and I would just stay afloat. Finally, towards the end of the day, with around three tables left, I found myself picking up some hands. I won a big race against one of the tougher players left in the tourney with AQ v. his 77, crippling him and giving me a good stack.

From there, I started getting a lot more active on the bubble, calling raises in position to try to take it away on later streets and doing my best to accumulate before the bubble burst. It was somewhat difficult, because my table was pretty tough – at that table were notable internet players such as RandalFlow, Exitonly, and LegendofLink, as well as some tough live pros. Luckily, I had gotten a very favorable table draw, as I was to Randal and Exit’s left, and LoL was pretty much on the opposite side of the table. With this favorable table draw and a nice rush of cards (and, I’d like to think, some skillful play), I managed to build my stack up from about 7k with ~30 players left to somewhere around 50k when we ended for the day as we reached the final 20 players.

Day Two

We came back the next day and people started dropping quickly. I can’t remember many specific pots, but suffice it to say that I continued to accumulate and run well and reached the final table with a decent chip stack. We eventually got down to 5-handed, and I eliminated a player with KK beating his AQ. I then eliminated another player when I sucked out on him with AT flopping a ten against his AJ, all-in pre-flop. This got us to 3-handed, where I had about 2/3 of the chips in play. Then the wheels fell off.

It was just incredible. For some reason, I could no longer win a pot. When I had a good hand, everyone folded. When I had rags and tried to make a move, they had a huge hand. When I tried to float to take it away on the turn, they two-barreled. When I called down with a marginal hand, they had a better hand. It was just ugly, really. All of this bled me down to like 350k at 6k/12k, still 3-handed, when I lost a pretty big race to one of the other players for about 275k in chips (he shoved about 130k on the button with J7s, I called with AKs, he flopped a J to win). This set me down to 250k-ish, and when that same player busted to the other opponent shortly thereafter. Instead of going to HU with about even stacks, I went into HU with a 3:1 chip disadvantage. My opponent made short work of me when I limp-reraised with 33 and he called with AA. gg. I took home 36k for second, but I really wanted the satisfaction of 1st, and the shiny trophy that went along with it. Maybe next time.

After Turning Stone, I took another couple weeks off where I didn’t play much or only played the big tourneys on Sundays. It’s very difficult to motivate yourself to play when you no longer need the money. I mean, I could always “use” the money – anyone could. But when you’re set, when you have everything you want for the moment, and you’re content – it’s really difficult to get yourself back to grinding. Which is good and bad I guess. It’s good, because it helps my mental health and lets me do stuff outside of poker. But it’s bad because I’m never going to become a PocketFives all-star =( . Somehow I think I’ll survive though =) .

Borgata Open

Right now, I’m at the Borgata for the Borgata Poker Open, which will culminate on September 16th with a $10,000 WPT event. So far, I’ve played 4 live tournaments at the Borgata, none of which have gone well – I haven’t even made it to the ante level once yet! But I’m still hopeful for two reasons: 1) these tournaments are amazingly soft, with some of the worst players I’ve ever seen gathered in one place; and 2) I’m good! I’ve been doing pretty well online this past week, with a 2nd in the 109r (my first 109r ever), an 8th in the FTP Sunday Mulligan, a 5th in the FTP 30r, and a 13th in the Stars 20r, grossing about 28k and netting about 20k. That’s having only played online like 3 nights this past week. I know I’ve got the talent to take another big one down. Just gotta hope it’s my day, one more time. We’ll see if it is, and if and when it is, you guys will be the first to hear about it.

mlagoo’s Asia tour

After Borgata, I’ve got big plans. On August 26th, I’m leaving on a first-class flight to Seoul, Korea, to compete in the Asian Pacific Poker Tour. After that tournament, I’m going to be taking some time off from poker. I might still be playing occasionally on the weekends, but for the most part, I’m not going to be playing. Why, you might ask? Well, because I’m going on a huge tour of Asia, going from Korea to China to India to Japan to a tour of Southeast Asia, including Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand, then off to New Zealand and finally landing in Australia in early January for the Aussie Millions tournament. After that, I’m not sure what I’ll do. Perhaps back to Thailand to soak in some more sun before I return to the real world. Who knows? If there’s one beautiful thing about poker, it’s that for those of us that have been fortunate enough to make a livelihood out of it, it affords us complete and total freedom. So my plan is to wake up each day, in whatever country I find myself in, and go where the wind blows me. It should be a wild ride.



Anonymous says

Great to read another post and see what's going on since your win. Congratulations on your new toys and on the 2nd place finish. First would have been nice of course but you did pretty good coming in 2nd. Looking forward to more good news from the Borgata.


lakeoffire says

Good for mlagoo! Looks like you're not going spending crazy and made some good choices (car and watch). Travel while you can, while you're young. Good luck in future tournaments and thanks for the update.


rica says

this post too, gl, enjoy all the money you've been winning, glad to see you will spend part of it in a very nice trip such as this one to asia


Swami54 says

I'm extremely jealous of the traveling. You lucky bastard! :)


Bond18 says

Movado's are classy, nice choice Matt. Also, since you'll be int he area you should consider coming to the Poker News Cup in Melbourne in October.


Mr_Taterhead says

Nice toys. I once bought an IPod with some cash winnings from a local casino. I know I am a balla what can I say.

Congrats on the Million win and the 2nd place finish at TS. I love it when people abuse the bubble.

Good Luck


Anonymous says

You're attracted to the Movado because it is a really great design. Congratulations both on your extraordinary winnings and your obvious excellent taste. Hope you take lots of photos on your adventure and be sure to mark them because in later years you might not remember where they were taken. or exactly what they were of. Sunsets, mountains, ocean scapes, etc. all look similar when you look back from a 'future' perspective. I know - Ive been there and done that.


mlagoo says

Hey guys, thanks for all the kind words/advice. I definitely appreciate it.

I arrived yesterday in Korea! Right now its 11 AM here, gonna meet up with a couple friends of mine who are in Seoul teaching english, and then sort out the rest of the day from there.

Would you guys be interested in me posting about my travels? It won't be very poker-related, but hopefully it will be somewhat interesting.


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