Florida Poker Trip & 4 Clues to Winning Revealed

I had this Florida poker trip planned for many reasons, including…

  • To meet with someone about BestBet being involved with the movie, The Dark Side of the Felt
  • Being a promoter for tournaments once in a while for BestBet
  • To play poker
  • To go Boogie Boarding

I accomplished the first three goals plus two more, but I never got to go Boogie Boarding. By the way, is it Boogie Boarding or Boogey Boarding? I usually Google these things, but I’m going to make you do it this time.

Before getting to poker, I’ll fill you in on what happened with these goals. Let’s begin with the movie. I met with Mr. Anonymous for about one hour. We talked about potential avenues for a partnership. We then met again a few days later. Since that time, The Producer, Mr. Anonymous, and myself had a conference call, which lasted 25-30 minutes. During that time frame, the Producer spoke for 21-26 minutes.

As a salesman, I wasn’t in love with this approach because it made us seem in need. Is that the case? Perhaps. We’re in need of capital. The catch is that we have a script that is way beyond average. Actually, it shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same sentence as the word ‘average.’ As a reminder, I didn’t write the script. Taylor (not Tyler) wrote the script, based on The Dark Side series.

If a potential sponsor or investor were to read this script, they would jump at the opportunity. The dilemma is that The Producer won’t let anyone read the script until we fix the Curls character—still working on that and it’s exhausting. You might think this is something we can fix easily, but I’m not a script writer and neither is The Producer. Taylor wrote the script on spec, and he won’t work on it anymore without payment, which is understandable.

We’re not talking about a few hundred bucks here. This is big money. So, we need a sponsor or investor so we can take some of that money out of the budget to pay the script writer, but it’s tough to get a sponsor or investor without anyone reading the script.

You might be thinking: You have no solution. If that’s what you think, then you’re not one of the few people that knows me well. And, no, I’m not coming out of pocket.

The first solution is simple: Send the script to potential sponsors and investors because they won’t notice the character flaw with Curls anyway and we can fix it after.

The second solution is also simple. A few years ago, I got in touch with Amazon about sending them a script because I could prove my book sales and audience—I sell my books on Amazon. They were open to reading. Now that I have more book sales, a bigger audience, and a kickass script, it should still be possible to get in the door. This isn’t a lock because policies change through the years.

However, there is one thing I decided yesterday. The Producer is a great guy, but he’s from Los Angeles. This means he takes his time. I’m a native New Yorker. Therefore, I want things done yesterday. From this point forward, I’m taking matters into my own hands in regards to finding a sponsor or investor. I can’t promise results, but it will be a much more aggressive route.

UPDATE: I wrote this article in a notebook on the plane on the way to Las Vegas. I’m since back from Las Vegas and typing on the computer. A few days ago, I asked The Producer if it was cool to send the script to potential sponsors and investors despite not having perfected the Curls character yet. He said yes. That was unexpected and simple. Ask and you shall receive! Sometimes. But if you don’t ask, you have no chance.

During the conversation at BestBet with Mr. Anonymous, he mentioned two unexpected things.

One, he offered mentioning one of my books on the Jacksonville sports radio station. I obviously accepted and chose Basic Training: Beginner’s Guide to Texas Hold’em. Don’t be fooled by the title. This book is for everyone, not just beginners. You would only know that if you read it though. And make sure you read it all the way through. I chose this book because it’s recently published and receiving excellent feedback.

The other thing was an invite to BestBet livestream. I have already set the date for 10/22 at 7 p.m. If you would like to watch, simply go to the BestBet website and select Livestream. It’s 2/2 NL DEEP, which means a max buy-in of $500.

As far as promoting a tourney as a trial run, I’m meeting with someone else about this the next time I’m in Jacksonville, and I’m 95.7% sure this person is waiting to see the results for the Sahara Poker Tourney that I’m trying to drive traffic to later this week.

UPDATE: The Sahara tourney didn’t drive nearly as much traffic as I had hoped. I have helped drive traffic for 10 tournaments/tourney series prior to this one and every single one broke traffic records. I was devastated by the low turnout here. There were literally dozens of people who told me they would show up and didn’t. This was disappointing.

However, I always try to look at the bright side. Two good things happened. One, the people who did show up loved the room and have been spreading this news amongst their friends on social media. Two, I got to see who did show up. These are real friends.

As it turned out, we were competing against a tournament series at Venetian, which was the main reason for the low turnout. The price point on the buy-in was also a little high for most people during Covid. A lower buy-in would have driven more traffic. If I had won the tournament (I didn’t), my plan was to tip $1,000 to make up for the low turnout. That would have paid off tenfold throughout my poker career.

The bottom line here is that it seemed like a failure but it was actually a success because everyone loved the tournament, which will be excellent branding for Sahara. One last thought on this: The majority of the people who have met me in person are on the East Coast or in Mississippi and Louisiana. I have a lot of online friends in Vegas, but it’s about real connections. I will fire at this again with nothing expected in return, and I will build on those connections. Nothing motivates me like failure.

It has been an interesting flight so far. The Jamaican family to my left has been blasting 80s Rock music, the which chick in front of me has been playing Drake at what she thinks is a low decibel, and a lady a few rows back just threatened someone over the phone: “My name is LAKISHA, DAMN IT! And you don’t want none of me when I get back to town! But you gonna get some anyhow! You and you’re fuckin’ little punk ass!”

I thought she was talking to a customer service agent somewhere until she added, “You just a dumb teacher. Let me speak to the principal!”

With all this going on, a lady and her daughter are in my row. The daughter has a Hello Kitty doll and has been dancing with it to the Drake music in the next row. I think it’s time for some poker…

Poker at BestBet Jax

I hit the 2/5 NL game at BestBet Jax for $300. As always, I played super tight for the first hour in order to figure out how the table played. It was a big-time Ego table. They would even say to each other: “You ain’t got the balls to call my all-in.”

I just waited to trap at the right time. I played for three hours and left +$175. I hit Daytona the next night for a tourney and got a Bubble Save for +$45. Nothing serious there. 1st Place was $1600+, which would have been nice, but TT < AQ. I almost got her to fold AQo pre on my jam but she made a crying call and hit the A on the flop. She also ended up winning the tourney.

The real value in this tourney wasn’t the money. It was when I contemplated a decision and a 20-something guy across the table said, “It always looks like you’re calculating every possible scenario, even pre-flop. Like a bunch of different wheels are churning in your head.”

That was a huge compliment, but I didn’t want to look like an ass, so I just said, “Thanks.”

After a kickass BLT, I played some 1/2 NL—the 2/5 NL games were full and there was a long wait. Good thing. I ended up +$444 after about two hours. The players in this game liked to build pots and were relatively easy to deceive. My deception game is a little different because I’m being deceptive on what would be deceptive. This does sometimes lead to failure because I’m a trappy player, but my style of play keeps me more in control of situations and pots than 99% of poker players. This, in turn, leads to me being +EV.

I played at BestBet Jacksonville again the next day and was very fortunate to be at a 2/2 NL table I could control. Since it was a tight table, these were small pots, but I like those tables because I can grind it higher without much risk. I ended up +$129.

The following day, I went back to BestBet Jacksonville. Why wouldn’t I? I played 2/2 NL and left +$777 after about seven hours. This table was passive aside from two gamblers. Simple solution: Steamroll the passive players and trap the gamblers without taking too much risk in one specific situation. I have to add that I won a High Hand as well, which played a major role in this total. For the record, I left a $50 tip opposed to the average $25 tip. I did the same thing at Venetian last week.

As many of you know, I switched back to 95% cash games, and it makes a HUGE difference. Also, since I’ve been playing online almost every night, I have been seeing approximately 10,000 hands per month. I’m one of a few players that are profitable in that game. Most players lose too much money and never return. I know who the winners are, and they ARE NOT people who 3-bet pre all the time. You will have some ‘pros’ tell you that this is how winners play. They are wrong, at least on a sustainable basis. This is why Daniel Negreanu said a few years ago: “You know those guys who were 3-betting pre all the time in 2011? They’re not here anymore. They’re mopping bathrooms at Burger King.”

Let me put it to you this way. If you buy-in to a 2/5 NL game for $400, someone raises to $30, and you raise to $100 with AK, what happens when you whiff the flop and have to fold? You just wasted 25% of your stack on poor-implied odds drawing hand.

If you want to win in this game, it’s about pot control and accumulating information based on player patterns and tendencies, then using that information to make good decisions. If you balloon pots, you’re increasing variance and decreasing skill. If you control the pot, you’re decreasing variance and increasing skill.

This should be simple, but for some reason, many players don’t get it. I think that’s because most players follow the herd and read the same bullshit. If 90% of players lose in this game and everyone is following the same plan, what does that tell you? Yet here I am, doing my own thing based on trial and error and winning over and over again. Not every time, but most of the time. If you don’t believe in my poker theory, that’s good! If you do, that’s good too. J

The game comes naturally to me now. I don’t know how to explain it. And I never study or had a poker coach. I have been this way with everything throughout my life. I teach myself through trial and error so it leads to a more unique route. The same applies to writing, sports, and other things that shall not be mentioned here.

Those who have bought-in to my approach to poker have turned their games around and started winning. This happens every time. I only know of one person who said my approach didn’t work for them, but she must be smoking meth.

If you want to win, remember one thing above all else: It’s a human puzzle game, not a math game. Keeping your VPIP low will also help. Oh … and never re-buy in cash games. And the majority of your play should always be cash (not tournaments). Now you have four clues. Start applying them and you will see a change. If you need more specific guidance, apply SPATS.

Please root for me with the movie! I hope it’s something that the poker community can embrace and enjoy, even though it’s a bit dark.

See you on the felt!

♠ Tyler Nals | pokerjournal.org