The Poker Player

Florida Poker & WSOP St. Maarten Poker Event | The Poker Player

Chapter 31 | Florida/St. Maarten | The Poker Player

I landed a free night at a hotel in Florida, Daytona Beach Shores by showing the manager my Yelp account. I can use it in the future. It’s amazing how this works. If you’re in person, it’s going to be effective about 90% of the time. All you have to do is build a massive Yelp account, and you can do that by sending friend requests to everyone in the universe until you reach 5,000. More on this later.


This property didn’t honor this deal. When someone doesn’t honor a deal, I immediately view them as the scum of the earth. These are people that would run away in battle, leaving you to fend for yourself. I obviously lowered my Yelp rating for this property: 5 stars to 2 stars. Maybe you disagree with this policy, but if I’m not going to leave a positive review for someone I can’t trust.

While at this unnamed hotel, I sat on the balcony facing the ocean, put my feet up, and fell asleep while listening to the waves crash onto the beach. It was the second-most relaxing nap of my life, the most relaxing being in a lawn chair along the bank of a river in upstate New York.

I later played a cash game at Daytona Beach Racing and Card Club. This is a relatively soft room, and it was a winning session, but I’ll combine that win with the total from St. Maarten to avoid confusion.

During my cash game session in Daytona, the dude directly to my right had blood leaking out of his nose and said he was on antibiotics. The dude to my left kept sniffling and sneezing. I asked the dude to my left if he had a cold or a sinus infection. He said, “I think I have a cold.”

What is wrong with the human race? Fortunately, I was + $143 for that session and didn’t catch a cold. I did meet David Jones here, who is a cool dude that’s now also a FB friend. 

Hard Rock Poker

Scott Robb got me a free room at the Hard Rock the next night. We had a good conversation over dinner (also comped), and he was kind enough to give me a chip protector from Kazakhstan. Thanks for everything, Scott! It is truly much appreciated. The room was super comfortable, and they even left a plate of fruit out that I couldn’t tell was real or not (until I tried to bite into one and succeeded).

After dinner, I went to the Hard Rock poker room, but it was packed. I drove to Coconut Creek, but it was a dump. So, I went to Isle, where I won $640 at a 1/2 NL game, but that included a high hand for $400 (quad nines). I left $40 for the dealer. It would have been + $680 total.

I called my mother to say hello. This is how that went down…

Mom: “It’s been hot by you. Have you been outside?”

Me: “Of course.”

Mom: “Have you been using sunblock?”

Me: “Yeah, I’m not stupid.”

Mom: “You’re not?”

Me: “Anyway. What have you been up to?”

Mom: “I’ve been feeding all the little pussies in my neighborhood.”

St. Maarten Poker WSOP Event

St. Maarten didn’t go quite as well despite a soft field. It took me two days to adjust to their style of play, and I was only going to be there for five days. Two events stood out in particular.

One, the guy I beat in Coconut Creek to get to St. Maarten called my jam when I hit a set of Aces on the flop. He hit a jack-high flush draw without the board pairing. This was the Monster Stack.

He made an awful call there, but he told me later in the elevator that he was running bad and told himself that he was playing the hand to the river against me no matter what, partially because I’m the guy that knocked him out heads-up at Coconut Creek, which forced him to pay for the trip to St. Maarten.

Two, during the last event, I put in a raise without realizing someone had already put in a larger raise. I asked the dealer if I could take my cards back. I know this is against the rules, but a lot of dealers let it slide, especially in St. Maarten. The dealer said, “Sure” and I took my cards back.

The player to my right waited until I folded, then called the Floor. The Floor ruled that I couldn’t get my cards back and that I had to sacrifice my chips. St. Maarten is beautiful, and it’s a very chill poker environment, but despite me knowing the rule, they need to get their shit together. This was poorly handled.

Even if that’s not the case, that dude was a douche. He was a smart douche though. When I first moved to that table, he had a ton of chips and I called his river bet with bottom pair. He said aloud, “This is going to be interesting.” He was using a ruthless approach to get me to tilt.

We both ended up making the final table, but he was the chip leader. I open-jammed with AJo with 12 BBs on his BB. He tank-called with QTo and hit a Queen on the turn. I busted in 7th, which paid a little.

Poker has little justice. The guy who used a ruthless tactic knocked me out at the final table with a weaker hand. Then he won the freaking tournament! I hope to see this guy again. I did see him in the casino during a break. He approached me and didn’t know what to say. I opened with, “Good move.”

He smiled and questioned, “Good move?”

I said, “Yeah. Good move.”

He knew what I meant.

After the tournament, I asked the bartender if I could get some Coke. He froze.

“Coca-Cola,” I clarified.

As he poured me a Coke, I asked, “Is cocaine a thing on this island?”

“It’s a thing on every island.”

Later, in the hotel lobby, I ran into an Anonymous Reliable Source, who told me: “Don’t play in Aruba. Bahamas and St. Maarten are okay.” I’m just the messenger on that one. 

Overall, I highly recommend St. Maarten. It’s a great poker environment, where the blinds change to high-energy music instead of an announcement. I also recommend staying at the all-inclusive Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, which is on the beach and right across the street from the casino.

UPDATE: I wanted to visit again this year, and I tried to make a deal with Thomas Kremser, but he said we could talk in person. I also have three free nights to use. Fortunately, I didn’t book it since we are currently in Coronavirus mode.

Florida/St. Maarten Result (overall): – $1701

Profit/Loss: + $20,961

♠ pokerjournal.org | Tyler Nals

Chapter 32 | Cherokee Poker Classic | The Poker Player