I fly in to Vegas the night before my Day 1 flight…but I could’ve gotten there just on the high of my excitement to play in the WSOP, my first ever. Walking the halls of the Rio’s convention center and beyond I can’t go two feet without my eyes visually smacking a familiar poker face — Allen Cunningham texting on his phone, James Woods taking pics with random fans, Matt Affleck chatting with another player by registration, Carlos Mortensen at the cash out line.

I’m so stoked seeing all those poker players, this happens…

ColossusGladiators I lose my mind and take a corny photo op w/ the models dressed like gladiators hired to say, “Greeting humble guests, welcome to the World Series of Poker at the Colossus” as players meander in. After I have breakfast, I buy myself a $2 banana and sit down to play in the Brasilia room. Level 1 is an exercise in breathing because I’m card dead. I lose half of my 5K stack in one hand – getting stubborn with 7-6o in the hijack.  Wanna hear about it?!  Here it go…

I raise and an older, equally stubborn man calls me from the BB. Flop is good with a 7 and low cards. I bet out half pot and he calls.   Then Stubborn Man leads out when a J falls on the turn. Hhhmmm…River pairs board w/ another J and Older Equally Stubborn man bets 1200ish…in my mind I say, “NO, I’M more STUBBORN, I’m good here, you suck, I call.” He flips over A-Jo. Aaaaand CUE Jayne Furman, a photographer from Joe Giron’s team, to snap my pic when nothing is going my way!!! #YAY

Photo credit: Jayne Furman of Joe Giron Photo

(P.S. Looking back I’m pretty sure now that Jared Jaffee was at my first table in seat 8 or 9, good thing we didn’t tangle…I would’ve had to flick that Brooklyn cap off his head. JK Jared!  I heart BKN.)

MOVE #1: A Colossal Affect.

And then things get even better…they break my section and move us. To make room for the late waves (that’s right, MORE players sitting down to play), me and three hundred plus players get shepherded like sheep from one poker pasture to another. This takes TWENTY minutes – half of a level. An ETERNITY. All around me this pilgrimage to who-knows-where is bringing players out of their shells, commiserating with each other about their bad beats and short stacks. Me, I’m freaking the fuck out…


Time is money.   I’m out of the game when I should be in it, and I need to get to my next table pronto!! And then something happens — a zen, FrankieGoestoHollwood-esque voice from within me punctures a whole in my inner spazz out monologue.  He says, “Relax…” And I realize there’s nothing I can do about this, what I CAN do is shift my state of mind and visualize the can of whoop ass I’m going to serve to the new table.


Time to Get Amazon.

Table #321 is good to me. I notice I’m not the only short stack, there are 4 others with nubs like me.  So I wait for spots to run my stack up, preferably against the nubs. One opportunity comes after 15 minutes of folding –

two red nicubunu-Ornamental-deck-Queen-of-diamonds nicubunu-Ornamental-deck-Queen-of-hearts ‘s  in late position…

Only the small blind, another nub, calls with… Jh9h

Nothing fancy happens on the board and I double up! Here are some other big hands from this table…

Diamonds, Bitch, What?

With the blinds at 100/200 25 ante I’m on the button with 2 sneaky players on my right, a good place to be. OK look it, I’m gonna go into my tirade about these 2, since my A.D.D./ O.C.D. mind can’t move forward without getting this out NOW (even though one of them is not in this hand).

The skinny guy to my immediate right (not in the hand) is a joker. No, literally, he’s wearing one of those silly multi-colored joker hats with bells on the ends that keep stabbing me in my right eye every time he moves. The entire time I’m next to him I’m suppressing the urge to snatch that hat off his head and fling it across the room. As annoying as his hat is he’s a decent player.

Two to my right is a guy wearing a black hoody with the handle bar moustache. Since I’ve been at the table I’ve watched him spew chips and raise with marginal holdings. He’s also a bit of a wildcard, and I’m happy to have both these suckers on my right. Anyway, back to the subject at hand…the hand, brought to you by Rihanna…

In middle position and three to my left an older white man raises, and Spewy Black Hoody/ Harley guy 3bets from the hijack.

Once Joker folds I decide to cold call figuring that I’m on the button with… KdJd



Our OG raiser in middle position comes along for the ride & we all see a flop of…

7h8d 9d

Middle position bets, Spewy Black Hoody/ Harley guy and I call.  Turn is a… Tc

Older Man in MP goes all in and Spewy ‘Stache in HJ folds. I look down at my chips, older man has me covered, but not by much.

I call, he has…Jhnicubunu-Ornamental-deck-10-of-spades.

We have straights but I have…

tumblr_mdbpw7Cjye1rare4zo1_500    Diamondssssss BITCH! 

All I remember on the river is spiking that diamond to scrape in a big pot!

I’ll Show You Mine, You Show Me Yours.

I’d tangled with Joker once before this hand when we were both in the blinds.

I had Ad Kc  in the BB and decided to just check my option after he completed the small.

Flop comes… AhKd 4c

He bets, I reraise, he shoves, and I call. We both have AK. Verrrry sneaky…

Before our blind vs. blind hand he’d been flashing me his cards here and there. In my mind I thought, “Word! Free info, better than getting free donuts at Krispy Kreme!”  And that’s all, I didn’t think anything else of his charitable gestures, until after this next hand.

With the blinds at 100/200/25 ante Joker raises to 750 in the cutoff.  I’m on the button with:

5c 5d

Flop comes… 5h7s7h

Joker bets out 950, I mis-click to 1900, UGH! I was so excited I put out too many chips of the wrong color. The floor rules it a raise so…WHOOPS. #rookiemistakes

Now you know Joker’s thinking there’s something rotten in the state of Denmark.

Turn is an…    Ad

Joker checks, and I bet him out of the pot. ARGH!! As I’m collecting the chips he barks at me, “Well, are you gonna tell me what you had?? I’ve been showing you hands all day and you can’t show me one?! You won’t see anymore that’s for sure!”  I look over at him, and my temperature rises.  There is a moment where I want to say… oh_hell_no

I’m being tested again and I’m on the verge, but I push my inner sistah away.  No, today is not the day!  This Joker is not going to get the best of me.  Instead I flip it and kill him with kindness, “Oh is that how it works? I can’t tell you what I had, you’re way too good…” He huffs and puffs so much I’m afraid the bells on his hat are gonna fly off.

Just as I’m feeling good and happy with my lil rush, a big stack, a kid wearing a V-neck and sporting neck tats, arrives at my table. He has his mini-heater, too – except he’s 3 betting a lot PRE from every which way he can (I’m #3betjealous with a 30-40ish bb stack). So I’m avoiding this aggro kid with the V-neck, observing his play, and by the break I’ve run my stack up to 48bbs.

On break I rush to the bathroom and witness the longest line of men ever waiting to go. As I’m thinking about how lucky I am not to be a man, I run into Marsha Wolak, one of my Epic Poker Training poker coaches, in the ladies’ room. I had never met her in person, only on our weekly web classes.   She gives me a big, warm smile and her signature, enthusiastic “Hey Girlfriend!”  We talk briefly about having dinner together, wish each other good luck, and head back to into the field for battle.

Epic Poker Girls
Me & my wife (bottom left) with Epic Poker Training pros Marsha Wolak and Jessica “Da’ Machine” Dawley (top right) and friends after our dinner together.  Thanks for treating me for my Birthday, Jessica!

Check out Part 2 of my trip to Varianceville here!




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