Blog 2.0

A lot has changed since the last time I sat down to channel my inner Hemmingway (more like Dr. Suess). It’s been just over 9 months since my (mis)adventures in Vegas and since that time, I’ve lived quite a bit. I found that elusive live score I was searching for, traveled to a number of exotic locales and even chose to alter my future entirely (starting in the fall, I will be attending UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School to acquire an MBA). Today, I can safely say that my blog will not read as melodramatic as it once did. As cathartic as the process was during the WSOP, going back to read my thoughts, I’m somewhat embarrassed by how unhappy I may have sounded. The truth was that my life was great.

So, what do I attribute this new-found sense of self (and skill)? First and foremost, I can’t help but thank the guys I lived with last summer in Vegas. One thing I never imagined that would happen was how much I would learn in 6 short weeks. I was looking forward to living with the guys because it sounded like a load of fun, not because I thought I’d get schooled in the game. In truth, learning how to play heads-up no limit holdem’, which was everyone’s specialty but mine, completely altered my thinking. The interesting thing about it all is that while I was learning heads-up play specifically, I was internalizing it, so that I was, in retrospect, improving my overall game. What this means is that I was able to take what I learned about heads-up and apply it to my tournament game – something that none of the other guys I lived with probably considered at the time. Understanding the minutia of post-flop play, something that heads-up really drives home, has done wonders for my abilities when I am playing postflop in a tournament.

So, after learning from the guys, I went home and played heads-up cash exclusively for a couple of months. I was reinvigorated, having found a new source of cash flow. Then, without really knowing why, I started to win more tournaments, both online and live.

Preaching low variance lines, I final tabled a 5k WSOP circuit event in Hammond, Indiana. Then, I traveled to Madrid, Spain for the FTP ESpana Grand Finale. I got into the tournament only because my friend, David, urged me to try to win a seat online. After my first try, I acquired my seat and was off to Spain with newfound tournament confidence. I played well, ran decent and managed to attain second place for 120k Euro. Most of you know this by now, but I thought I’d bring the rest up to speed (sick brag, I know). I had a hell of a time getting the money from Spain back to the U.S., but decided that tournament poker, especially in high buy-ins live, had so much opportunity I had to pounce. I made trips to the Bahamas, Australia and a number of U.S. destinations (LA, Vegas, AC).

Then, I took a look at my tournament schedule and made an important decision. If I wanted to play all the events that I thought I needed to play in order to hit an even bigger score, I was going to need backing. The idea of spending upwards of 150-200k in live buyins in next 6 months seemed silly. So, I sought the advice of a few fellow tournament players and stumbled upon an opportunity from Bax and Sheets, two of the biggest backers in tournament poker. Just to give you guys an idea of how this works, Bax and Sheets, two 30-something poker playing Jews from Long Island who used to run a hedge fund, pay for my tournament buyins both online and live and get a percentage of the profits. I got a great deal from them; I’m trying to prove that I am, indeed, a good investment. I’ve already played in a few live events for them (Indiana WPT and Mohegan Sun, CT). And, as I sit here writing this, I am headed towards another event. I’m currently sitting on a plane to Nice, France, where I will take a train to San Remo, Italy and Monte Carlo. I will be playing in a number of high buy-in events. The hope is that I have enough time to report my escapades on the blog for the rest of the month.
Because the internet in the hotel is somewhat suspect, I was unable to post all of this until now. I played Day 1A of EPT San Remo yesterday. I ended the day with 78,400 in chips, a stack that is above the average and above the median. Today, I get to rest because it is Day 1B. Pretty excited about continuing in this tournament, as there are a ton of soft spots to acquire more chips. One interesting hand I played involved me correctly folding kings early in the day. The action went as follows:

Some younger Italian player opened to 750 with the blinds at 150 300. I made it 2000 to go 3 seats away with KsKd. An older Italian gentlemen threw out a 5k chip and then announced raise, several seconds after the chip hit the felt. I immediately said, “that’s not a raise, call the floor.” The dealer was confused, but proceeded to call the floor. The dealer explained the situation in Italian and the floor ruled that I was correct, it was merely a call. The original raiser got out of the way and the flop came 10d83d. The gentleman bet 5k pretty quickly, obviously unhappy with the floors previous ruling. I called, suspiciously. The turn came 3, pairing the board. The opponent immediately announced he was all-in for the remaining 24k of his stack. I had started the hand with around 40k so, I had about 33 left. I thought more about the hand. The funny thing is that this situation had happened once before to me, in Chile. I knew in my bones that my opponent had AA, but in Chile, I wasn’t able to fold. Well, its been a while since then and I’m much more studied in the game. I decided this was actually somewhat of a trivial decision. My opponent just almost has AA in this spot and I have so much equity in a tournament like this going forward, that to risk most of chips in a spot like this is just stupid in the long run. I think many online players wouldn’t even bat an eye at getting it in here, but I consider myself to be somewhat adept at reading players live and this player just screamed AA. So, I folded, showing a few of the players around me my decision. The man immediately flipped over his Aces to win the pot. I then grabbed my cards and showed my folded KK. Everyone at the table was impressed, congratulating me in Italian (lol). Anyway, I had a couple of other interesting hands, but I’ll save them for another time. Hope everyone enjoys the blog once more. Now, what to do on my day off?


3 comments so far

  1. Andy on

    Hi Josh, it was great to hear how you are doing. Thank you for posting, with you so far away, the blog some how keeps you close to home. I know you are in a very good place now, and that is wonderful to know. I am very proud of you and the decisions you have made. Keep having fun and working hard.

    Life in Norhbrook is good. I am having surgery today on my finger. Justin and Julia are great, enjoying school, football, soccer, baseball, dance and ice skating!! Terry is working hard and spending time with his father, who is doig well too.

    Looking forward to hearing more! Good luck, I love you, Andy

  2. MpaMola1000 on

    Hey!! I’m Migu, good luck in the tournaments maybe I go to las vegas this year but I’m not sure yet. I add you blog, if you want to see mine is

    Good luck!

  3. Ben Volpe on


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