Deep run in the Vegas WPT World Championships

In mid December, I flew myself over to Vegas to play the WPT world championships. A relatively quick flight of about 1.2 hours. Took off from KVNY (Van Nuys) and landed KVGT (North Las Vegas). Took a video of the landing below

I started by playing the $1,100 to warm up. Busted pretty quickly in that and went over to the Virgin for a little card counting. What a nice room the Wynn has but they need one more conference area because the re-entry lines were insane.

My buddy ended up playing his first tournament at The Venetian and actually cashing. What a feat. During that we both had a day off so we went down to Fremont and did some counting and subsequently got kicked out of one casino 🙂 Fun times.

The main was a super deep 10k world championship event and ended up doing pretty well in it. Made a day 4 and got 115th out of 2,975 for a $32k score. I caught a brutal brutal sickness there that started to hit me day 4, and my bust out hand was on of the worst hands I played. I blame it on the sickness. Sucks because it was so damn deep and out of like 310 tables we were down to the final 14 or so. Really weighed on me for a week or so. I blew it! Having played like 35 hours relatively flawlessly to busting on a hand I’d generally never bust on. So close.

The hand was AKo in small blind, CO raised first in, I 3b and he calls

Flop JJTss (two spades)

I lead 1/5th pot and he calls

Turn Ad

I lead 4/5ths pot and he calls

River 2d I check he jams all in. I call.

I tank call thinking he has a lot of Ace X and the flush never made it, so he’d have som bluffs but none of this is what I’d normally be thinking or processing. I figured any jack would raise me on flop to deny equity to flush draws given the two spades on the board and the river A gives me top two. So I was thinking that he likely raises any jack except TJ, that he was on an ace or a draw that misses the river, I called the shove. Hate it.

He has all KQs. I three bet from sb and his calling range is all broadway suited which TJJA board hits all day long (every QJ,KJ,TJ,AJ,KQ broadway) beats me. It’s hard for any Ax to call the turn bet so I am beat almost always and he has no natural bluffs really. He’d also likely check down Ax

Flawed thinking from being sick. He had KQs and thats that.

The competition was pretty tough, all the best players in the world were there given it was a world championship so bagging day 2 was an accomplishment to me.

bagging Day 2

The start of day 2 we found ourselves sitting next to Igor Kurganov (well respected high stakes player) and found a double up against him. A table move had us over with relatively inexperienced players and stacked up through the day.

Stacking up Day 2

We found a bag for day 2 at 585k chips from 100k starting day 1.

Day 2 bag. Feeling ecstatic at this point. Have a shot

On to day 3, the table was pretty damn talented so I didn’t have an easy time. Ended up 1.5x my stack for the Day 4. Their were a few dudes at the table that made jokes that I looked like a Euro Kevin Costner and both of them ended up becoming multi millionaires a few weeks later, go figure, apparently it was lucky to make fun of me! One ended up winning the entire tournament for 4.5mm and the other dude ended up winning a Pai-Gow jackpot (it was POSEV at the time) for 6.5mm. How weird.

Ended day 3 with 1.29mm and reached a peak of about 2.1mm early in day 4 before busting with my hand.

Stacking up 125 left!

The height of my stack just over 2mm (or 20 peoples starting stack).

Flew back home that day defeated, a bit sick and when I landed and got home it was game over. The worst sickness (worse than covid for me) that I’ve ever had. Two weeks of hell that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I got lucky though, I literally would not have been able to fly the plane even 5 hrs after that for like 2 weeks I was so sick.

Next tournament is a really big one. The PSPC and PCA in Bahamas in just a week. The PSPC is a 25k entry fee where they give away 500 or so seats to amateurs etc. It’s given away by a series of festivals, random pickings and events. Naturally all the pros flock to it making it almost like a Pro-Am. There’s no rake on it and it’ll be the biggest 25k ever done. Top 20% cash and get their money back so I am definitely going to play it. I’ll also be playing the PCA main plus the BSOP nationals. That’ll conclude poker travel until the world series in the summer.

I’ve been taking up mixed games which I am loving. The goal is to be fluent enough to play the 2-7 low ball triple draw, Razz, Omaha 8 and HORSE games in the WSOP. I don’t know how likely it will be to be good enough to play the 10ks but that’s the goal.

2022 – End of Year Update

Peak had accelerated gains into the end of the new year and ended with 59% gross return. Was not expecting that. I thought like maybe we match 2021 or inch towards 50%. Nice ending to the year and a nice boost to the performance fees that we only get once a year 🙂

In 2020, we had a gross of 40% (extrapolated due to starting in April)

In 2021, we had a gross of 44%

in 2022, we had a gross of 59%

What a nice 3 year to start to setting up a fund. I was pretty nervous at the start, with all the eyes watching and the pressure of performance and managing other peoples money. It’s something that’s hard to explain. I mean, we’ve got an auditor (Grant Thornton) looking at us, we have our independent fund admins looking at us, we have our independent directors looking at us, and most importantly we have investor expectations (both reasonable and unreasonable) and we have to deal with this each and every reporting period. For a guy that’s always been in the top position, it’s kinda hard to answer to people 🙂 but whatever, I go on these calls as myself (you’re not getting me in a meeting wearing a suit or a sport coat, it’ll be designer t-shirts and hoodies, I’m good. The success and performance speaks for itself.

I’m often asked why I opted to manage other peoples money, because it really doesn’t add that much more % wise to my personal bottom line. But I feel like it’s worth it to have accountability, but most importantly, it’s creating a new pathway that can create unknown opportunities down the road, we’re creating reputation and a very complicated structure to allow for further expansion into other areas and trade types. We have no idea where it will lead and I think keeping that momentum is important because it’ll shape the future. One thing I didn’t expect was the weird (maybe because I am getting older) pleasure I am getting in actually feel like I am contributing to society in a positive way by helping our investors setup their retirements. It’s really cool to see their balances increasing and being part of the team that helped do that.

All of this formality initially did bring me some trading and performance stress 🙂 That said, the yearly mandatory zoom meetings with the auditors, directors and admins is kinda fun because we’re crushing it, it was especially fun this year when 95% of the funds they deal with are down or consider -10% a success. I even cheekily asked “So guys, tell me, what’s it been like dealing with all these accountability meetings with funds that are down 20%+? Is it awkward?” I shouldn’t say that. It isn’t easy having the responsibility and especially when I first started, there was definite stress and a larger than life expectation I had on myself to really make sure the systems were setup and we traded appropriately.

To tie this up, the thing I learned in my trading life is that the management of risk is the most paramount thing above returns. Manage that and the returns come. They come because what seemingly seems like an arithmetic loss (buying long puts for $5k a month let’s say) feels like you’re spending $5k but in reality and geometrically (multiplicatively) and over time (several time series) the draw downs it saves on events allow you to actually compound better. You’ll be surprised to know that buying those puts actually brings in a return over time. The most noticeable affects when I first started was occasional second guessing and just how often you triple check things but we have extra eyes and systems for that now. I also have a huge confidence in my team, the systems and myself.

All in all, a successful start and I feel like this year is actually our most important year as we pass the 3 year mark. Can we keep it up?