It’s been a while… Over a month since I’ve blogged. That doesn’t mean I don’t have a lot to say, I just haven’t gotten around to writing. I will begin where I left off.
In my last blog post I was going into day 3 of the Hard Rock tournament. In disappointing fashion, I finished 12th. I basically lost three big coin flips in a row to lose my stack and eventually bust. There were only a few remaining players in the field that would have given me some difficulty I believe. There isn’t anything you can do when it comes to the luck factor in poker. I’ve learned that over my career and it is the one thing I despise in this temporary profession I have chosen. The FTOPS was taking place at the time and after I lost my last chips, I headed over to Jason Mercier’s house to play online.
I brought my laptop with me to the casino since Jason lives 10 minutes from the Hard Rock and I live about 45 minutes. I hopped in the 6-max PLO FTOPS and a bunch of other tournaments. I managed to make a deep run in the PLO tournament. I was hoping that I could erase the disappointment of the 12th place finish earlier that day with a big online win. Both tournaments were over 100k to first. I was running hot for a while in the PLO tournament and cooled off. I bricked a couple flops, blinded down, then lost a coinflip to finish in 22nd place. Rough day. I played online here and there for the remaining good FTOPS events but didn’t have any final tables or anything else noteworthy.
There was a good basketball league going on at the local YMCA and I ended up getting on a team the last week they allowed new players. I was super excited about playing in an actual league. The games I had been playing in weren’t that great and I hardly ran full court games. I was still working out lifting weights and doing basketball related exercise, I just wasn’t playing full court that much. We had two games I played in. In the first game we got crushed by my best friend/brother Brian. They definitely had a better team than us but we didn’t play great either. It was the first time most of us played together. The week after that we managed to win an insane triple overtime game. We were down 3 with 8 seconds left. I caught a pass at half court with a man guarding me. I realized he was on my left side so I spun to my right and set my feet at the three point line. I pump faked and another player from their team jumped by me while my defender stayed next to me with his hands up. I put up the shot and managed to make it with a couple seconds left to send us into the first overtime. I picked up two horrible fouls in the first overtime (the refs obviously suck in this league lol) and my team was stuck playing 4 vs. 5. We had another player hit a 3 to tie the game again and send us into double overtime, then they made a layup while time expired to go into triple overtime. We somehow managed to pull it out and win the game. I was just happy playing basketball again.
The next week we were playing a pretty good team and I wanted to make sure I was ready. On Tuesday I went to the gym and went through a tough basketball workout. I did dribbling drills, shooting drills, everything. Normally I just shoot off screens or set shots, but I wanted to get real competitive again. After that I got a quick lift workout in. I was feeling good. The next day I went to 24 hour fitness. I’ve been a member at this gym since they opened but I wasn’t going there much because I was working out at the YMCA with Brian instead.
I knew a couple of the guys in the gym playing and had to wait a few games to play. The games aren’t really that great in this gym but I wanted to play full court some more and get ready for the game the next day. I was shooting around on a vacant hoop while I waited for the games to finish. I was feeling really good, getting back into the swing of things. I felt like I was about to go off in this upcoming game. I picked up four guys that were in their 40’s to play with me. They were the first ones to ask and I really didn’t mind either way. The second play of the game I brought the ball up on a 2 vs. 3 fast break. I wasn’t going to attack but the third defender stepped up to me at the NBA 3 point line. I went by him and was met by the open defender at the free throw line, I had the whole lane to make a move and get a bucket. I hit him with an in and out and stepped with my right foot to the left side of him. I was a little left of the basket and had to twist back right to finish the layup. Once I planted my leg going left and twisted a little to the right to finish the play, my knee snapped. I immediately felt the nostalgia of my torn ACL/two meniscus tear injury to my left knee from my senior year in college. I landed on the ground out of bounds and a couple of guys ran up to me. I knew what the injury felt like but I was still hoping for the best. I laid there for half a minute, slammed the floor, and tried to get up. I could put some weight on my knee but it wasn’t good. I tried to stay positive because when I messed up my left knee I couldn’t walk off the court on my own. I managed to limp over to get my stuff and make it to my car. My leg was really weak. I got home and made an appointment for the doctor the next day.
The doctor couldn’t tell definitely if my ACL was torn from examining it. It was really swollen and sore. He told me he was 75% sure it was an ACL tear but of course we would need an MRI to confirm. I was supposed to leave to California the next day, Friday, to teach a DeepStacks camp at the Pala Casino.
Ironically, it was NBA All-Star weekend when I flew into Los Angeles. I met up with The Grinder at the airport and we boarded the same flight. The doctor gave me some pain killers but I was hardly able to walk. I had a bad limp, couldn’t straighten my leg or bend it all the way. I was advised to get up and walk around and stretch during the flight a couple times so I wouldn’t get a blood clot in my leg. That was a long shot, but that’s the last thing I needed. We made it to LA and then drove to Pala.
Pala Casino was very nice. The staff was great, they were really accommodating. We had probably 40-50 people show up to the camp. It was a great camp. Mike Matusow, Adam “Roothlus” Levy, Mike “The Grinder” Mizrachi, Chris Torina, and I all taught at the camp. That night we hung out and had a few drinks around the casino. The FTOPS was still taking place and the staff at the casino set me up with a router, internet connection, and power outlet in their poker room. I was playing online at an empty poker table while both Mikes played in a 5/10/25 NLH game. Like I mentioned earlier, nothing exciting to say there haha.
I stayed in Pala for two more days until Monday. I played online in my hotel room on Sunday and flew back to Florida Monday night. I landed in Fort Lauderdale at 6am and had my MRI scheduled for 7am. I was super tired. I didn’t get any sleep on the flight. During my MRI I was instructed to not move at all. I’m pretty sure I nodded off a few times but luckily I didn’t mess up the MRI results. My ACL was torn, but I expected this all along. Luckily I didn’t have any other damage aside from some sprains to other parts of my knee. Hopefully that diagnosis doesn’t change when they operate on me in a week.
Although it sucks to go through another knee injury to my other knee, I realize I’m still lucky to walk and be in the situation I’m in. I have a lot of things people wish they could have and no matter what, things happen and you just have to move on from it. It can always be worse so I definitely keep a positive mindset.
--- Now on to the present ---
Thursday I left Florida to come to Reno, Nevada. That is where I am now at the Grand Sierra Resort. My voyage to get here was a little crazy. I connected in Phoenix and we tried to land in Reno but it was too windy. Once we went down they pulled back up and said that they were going to take us to Sacramento. When we got to Sac they announced that we could either go back to Phoenix and wait for a flight to Reno after midnight, or stay in Sac. It was noon and I didn't feel like waiting around until the next day to get to Reno. I had to be there now. They said we weren't able to drive a car there because of driving conditions. Reno is only a 2 hour drive from Sac. The person obviously had no clue what they were saying, and US Airways was just a complete joke when it came to this situation. They did nothing to help. I rented a car with 3 strangers and we drove to Reno. It was an interesting time and everyone was nice and fun. I made it here safely luckily haha.
It's now Saturday night (early morning.) We had a training camp on Friday. Today was the start of the $2500 Deepstacks Main Event. It only got about 80 players. That was a little disappointing but it is still an awesome tournament and it has a sick structure. There were 17 people who survived the day and I happen to be one of them. I have 147k with blinds 1k/2k/300a. The average is 90k. 9 people get paid and first place is a pretty nice payday. There are still 4 other people who are involved with Deepstacks left. Adam "Roothlus" Levy, Hayden "nipsman" Fortini, Robert Croak, and Chris Torina. It should be fun tomorrow, we resume at 2pm. I'm going to get some sleep but hopefully I can take this tournament down. I have a really good seat/table and I hope some things go my way. I will update the blog more frequently so I appreciate everyone who stops by constantly to see if I've written anything. Goodnight!
Also sorry if this blog is all over the place. I tried to pile the last month into it and it's too late now for me to go over it. I'm pooped.