Late May, 2016, I drove my car from Seattle to the slightly warmer southern Nevada city known as Las Vegas. My intention was to stay permanently & make a living solely from playing poker. I found a decent apartment as quickly as I could & brought my wife, 1 year old daughter & dog down a few weeks later. This was the beginning of my professional poker career. Nine months later, beaten & broke down from the Las Vegas lifestyle, we packed our bags and moved back to Washington. My dream was shattered. I was a failure. How did this happen?
After retuning home, everybody wanted to know why I already moved back & what happened. I had little interest in admitting all the details of my inadequacy. This forced me to really reflect on and analyze the things that went wrong.
My first week in Vegas I primarily was playing 1-2 pot limit Omaha at Aria. I didn’t run particularly well and was a bit disappointed. I took a massive risk moving over to a much bigger game (5-10-25 PLO) trying to quickly recoup my losses. That one session (which was actually just a few big hands) made up for my losses from the first week.
My successful session prompted me to go back the next day for more, but I ran usually bad this time, getting it all in numerous times as the favorite & losing. I burned through nearly half of my bankroll in just a few hours. I was feeling deflated, but still had visions that I would soon make more money than I would know what to do with. With the dream still alive, I entered the first ever $565 PLO bracelet event. Then I reentered. Then I reentered again. I didn’t make a deep run. I was nowhere near cashing. I was going to be completely broke before summer was over. I had to get a job to help sustain myself.
Now I was working as a poker dealer at Bellagio & still playing full time. I would work in the evening, get off & go straight to the poker tables. I would typically drive home as the blinding Vegas sun was coming up. I would walk inside, feeling like a zombie, as my wife and daughter were just getting their day started. I’d say hi briefly and then pass out, just to repeat the process the next day. My losing sessions felt so much worse than normal as they were compounded with the reality of it affecting my role in my family. I could not win at the poker table if I was failing as a husband and father
I was generally unhappy and felt desperate to make a lot of money in little time. This reflected in how I played. I felt as though I needed BIG wins so I could take time off. I became prone to gamble more & overinflate pots with marginal hands. I needed to win more and spend less time doing it, but instead I ended up dumping my chips. I was not in the proper mindset to be playing poker. I knew I had to make some serious changes. My wife & I talked about our options and decided it was best to move back to Washington state.
My nine-month long failure in Las Vegas is EXACTLY what my poker career needed. I learned first hand the things that were holding me back from being a solid, professional poker player:
- Balanced Lifestyle
- Bankroll Management
- Mindset / Tilt
After a lot of reflection, self-analyzing, and meaningful planning with my wife, I believe I am now properly prepared to try to achieve my dream of Turning Pro At Poker & invite you to be a part my journey.