Before I get to that I have to share an anecdote and an image that are two sources of confidence going in to the summer.
First, The Image! It's a line! Specifically it's a graph of my cumulative win/loss for the last 50 sessions of cash games which represents 335 hours of play. I would invite the people who think poker is a luck game to draw a best fit line through this mother fucker and have a look at the trend.
Second, The Anecdote! In 2009 I started working with this guy who lives in Arizona as a poker coach. He's a doctor, an actor (he's done a few indie films, some commercials, and other such things), dates astonishingly beautiful women and is generally an awesome dude who is somehow extremely humble despite all of those things. He's also a poker fanatic and was an excellent student. After talking about once a month for at least 5 years we became friends and met up in person a few times in Vegas and Tahoe for poker related stuff.
At some point in the not too distant past I went to visit him in Arizona and we played a couple of poker tournaments at Talking Stick in the Phoenix area. The first one was a $200 buy in tournament where $100 went to the price pool and $100 went to bounties (i.e. if you knock someone out you get $100) with about 250 entrants. I made it to the final table collecting 7 bounties along the way and we chopped up the prize pool with 6 players left. It was awesome.
The next day we came back for a smaller tournament that had about 70 entrants and something like a $100 buy in. My doctor friend, his girlfriend (at the time) and I all made the final table which was excellent. I'd been at the same table as the girlfriend all tournament long and had been giving her the kid gloves to some extent, but there was one hand where I shoved with AK over her raise, she folded QQ and was pissed about it. So at the final table I was trying to win, but also to not piss her off. This was something I had never attempted!
When we get down to 5, my friend has gone broke, but the girlfriend is the chip leader. I am in a close second and suggest we do a chip count chop so I don't have to tangle with her. We do the math and her share would have been something like $1,850 which was maybe a shade over second place money with 1st place being $2,300. Everyone else is ready to go for the deal and she says...wait for it..."I need to get at least two thousand." (Face palm)
I was shocked. She knew I was a former pro player, but clearly she did not know who she was dealing with. I was playing my A game against a table of total clowns and since my hand was forced I had to start fucking people up. If it was a kung fu movie I would have causally walked up, rolled my neck around, given my shoulders a little shake and then...BOOM, knee/elbow/fist combo to one bad guy sending him down a well and then CRACK roundhouse kick another in the face blasting him into a swiftly moving river.
Now I was the chip leader and I asked the girlfriend if she really wanted to keep playing against me. She reluctantly (RELUCTANTLY!) agreed to a 3 way chop.
So I've played 2 poker tournaments in Arizona and have never been eliminated!
And now to a little life recap for those of you who may care.
My poker play has really been a function of my job status. Might need money? Better play poker!
In March of 2016 the company I'd worked for the past 5+ years got acquired by Uproxx Media. I wasn't sure if I was going to survive the acquisition with my job intact so I started playing cash games. That was the impetus for Project Manhattan which was the last series of posts (I ended up pulling the plug after Session 18 which was a small loser because I did end up working at Uproxx and I'd just had enough). I was at Uproxx for 6 months and then spent 3 months on semi vacation playing a couple of days a week.
During all of those sessions I did not play all that great or with a ton of confidence. I still knew how to play and I won regularly, but I did not dominate and it was kind of a grind.
At the start of 2017 I had a really well paying job as VP of Business Development for Joyus.com. I spent 7 months there and saved about 25% of my salary so when Joyus sold off all the assets of the company, but the team was not part of the deal I had my nuts stored away for winter. I played zero poker during this time.
I interviewed for a few jobs, but nothing stuck and I decided to try to coast though the holidays cobbling together an income from my wife's new part time job, unemployment and poker. My unemployment benefits have since run out, we're paying for health insurance out of pocket for 4 people which sucks, but poker has gone well and I've basically been coasting for the past 10 months or so.
And now I'm finding myself in a spot where my new dream is my old dream - crush it at the World Series of Poker!!