Chasing EJ – Chapter 2: Tourney #1

After going deep in my past five tournaments without wine, I chose not to drink wine. I drank caffeine instead. When I drink wine, I get a little too aggressive. More on that soon. When I drink caffeine, I chill. I know that sounds ass backwards, but I have a backwards ass, so it makes sense. 

No, I don’t have a backwards ass! WTH? Are you that gullible? Come on, people! What the heck would a backwards ass look like anyway? Tough to get a visual on that. And now I screwed everything up because people might look at my ass next time I’m at LKQ to see if it’s backwards. You were already looking at my ass? So messed up!

Okay, so, that was off-topic. As far as poker goes, I folded more than I had in over a year. My VPIP was probably around 8%. If I’m not aggressively accumulating chips, then I have to make tough calls. And if I don’t make those calls, I can’t win!

In Tourney #1, I didn’t hit flops whether in the hand or not. Somehow, I still got past the second break. This shows you what tight can do. But when I finally had two opportunities, an exploitative player with chips fired at my passive play.

He didn’t show on the first one, but I had bottom pair anyway. On the second one, I played it like I was weak with the intention to call the river with middle pair and a moderate kicker.

This plan was foiled when the river gave him a potential straight out of the Big Blind and he bet 12k into my 36k stack. I tank-folded. He tossed his bottom pair high in the air and halfway across the table to show his bluff. To make it worse, another player two seats to my right stared at me to see my reaction. I pretended not to notice. Looking back on this experience, it was humorous.

I played very soft in this tourney and let my chips dwindle. I almost never do that, and I don’t like when it happens. I’d rather go out swinging. When I busted, I saw that EJ was still in at another table, but he was probably around the average stack with a long way to go to ITM. I made a mental note that there was a 50% chance he would cash anyway. I was prepared to start from behind. Playing from behind is better anyway.

While talking to someone else in the hallway, EJ walked out and told me that Mike Bennett just busted him with a flopped set of 2s. Yes, that Mike Bennett! The one from the YouTube video who loves AT and got mad at me about it. If you haven’t seen it yet, just search for Tyler Nals on YouTube. You’ll find it.

EJ and I talked poker for almost two hours. I also enjoyed getting to know him as a person. He’s way more badass than I thought. I already had mad respect for him as a Marine, but I had no clue about his martial arts background. Very cool. It also makes sense because of his disciplined and fearless approach to poker.

EJ mentioned that he knew I wouldn’t play well in Tournament #1  because I would change my game too much. True! And he admitted he had an advantage because he knew all the players well. Also true! However, I still want to ship this series. Not going to be easy. Just requires focus.

On Sunday, I played the Freezeout, but EJ couldn’t be there so it didn’t count for this series. I finished 18th. Not good enough. I started out playing well, but since EJ wasn’t there, I drank my wine. This usually starts out great because it’s the perfect blend of fearlessness and relaxation. The problem is that I think it’s working so well that I keep drinking wine. And that’s when I start 3-betting with 42s. Not a good plan. My big ‘error’ in this hand was making a calculated move against a player that I knew didn’t have a strong hand. I was correct, but he called with middle pair. That one hurt. Putting a player all-in with KQo and losing to J9o didn’t help, either. But if I was playing well, this wouldn’t have been a major issue.

I was open-raising way too many hands. My VPIP was probably around 45% in this tourney. Terrible! But this tourney didn’t qualify for the series because we both have to be there. I wanted to win, but I was also having fun.

LKQ is a puzzle for me. My friends that have seen me succeed on other stages keep telling me that most of the players here just play their cards and that it’s not a strong field. That might be the case, but the problem isn’t the field. It’s me. I keep overcompensating in both directions: Tight/Aggressive. Is this frustrating? Actually … No. I don’t look at life that way.

I have learned that if something is failing now, poker or not, there is a reason for it. Just trust the universe, have good intentions, and it will all make sense in the future. At that moment, after you figure it out, you will stop and say to yourself, “Oh! That’s why that happened that way! Because if it had happened the way I wanted, then this would have happened, and that would have been bad.”

It’s about Good Flow Energy. Trust the universe. You will end up in the right place. My biggest poker failures have led to my biggest business opportunities. Bad events off the felt have led to me avoiding danger. And failure leads to the best stories. Then again, what is failure anyway? Failure would be me not having the courage to challenge the best player at LKQ. Win or lose, I have learned something important about life: Courage Pays!

I’ll be at LKQ next weekend, as will EJ. Both tourneys will count for our 10-tourney duel. I’ll see you there! For those of you who can’t live this journey with me in person at LKQ, I hope you enjoy the rest of the journey here. 🙂

Scoreboard Update…


# of Cashes: 0

Total Earnings: $0


# of Cashes: 0

Total Earnings: $0

Chasing EJ – Chapter #3: The Characters