The Tsunami

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Epic Tourney Break at the Monte Carlo

This past weekend, I was in a freeroll at the Monte Carlo. The structure of the tournament was such that we got a 10 minute break every 4 levels. With levels lasting 25 minutes each, this amounted to a 10 minute break every 100 minutes – a little brutal for someone who likes to stay well hydrated in the desert and can’t bear to miss a hand in a tournament, but far from unbearable.

The tournament started at 3:00PM. And since I didn’t eat as much as I probably should have earlier in the day, I was damn hungry when the first break arrived. Though my bladder was knocking on the door, I was concerned that the bathroom near the poker room would be packed. Getting food first seemed to be the best play with respect to optimizing my 10 minute break. Since I’m always prepared, getting food entailed sprinting to my car – where a peanut butter and jelly sandwich awaited. (Based on how the rest of this story goes, I’ll leave it to you to judge whether it’s accurate for me to say that I’m “always prepared”)

I sprinted through part of the casino, weaved my way through a somewhat crowded hotel lobby, and dashed up a long flight of stairs leading to a door. On the other side of the door was a bridge leading to the 2nd floor of the self-parking structure (my car was parked on the 3rd floor by a stairwell). The bridge was uncrowded and primed for a 50ish meter dash. I opened the door, sprinted for about 5 meters, and a wind gust blew my famed black Nike visor off my head. My visor flew over the bridge’s wall and plunged unseen, presumably to the ground below.

I hate playing poker without a visor. After all, how am I to hide my sneaking eyes when players adjacent to me are flashing their hole cards! And furthermore, this wasn’t just any visor. This was my battle tested black Nike Dri Fit visor! A replacement would cost about $20. And given that my primary source of income is temporarily live cash games, getting a replacement visor would cost 30-60 minutes of my time (winrate at live $1-$2 NLHE about $20/hr; winrate at live $1-$3 NLHE about $25/hr; winrate at live $2-$5 NLHE about $40/hr).

With the US government devaluing the dollar the way that it is, my wife and I should probably be less cheap with our savings. After all, the savings we currently have put away probably won’t be enough to buy a Happy Meal in the not-too-distant future. But that’s enough on that topic for now. The bottom line is that my wife and I are cheap. I’m definitely not a baller – which is okay, because the world already has more ballers than it probably needs:

I’m untiltable, but a “shit” or some other similar 4-letter word left my mouth as my visor plummeted to the ground – partly because I was unable to see over the wall and figure out where it landed; partly because I realized how stupid I was to forget that there were 50+ mph wind gusts in Vegas that day. Quickly, I decided to sprint to my car, chomp down as much of my sandwich as I could, and perform some surveillance from the 3rd floor of the parking structure.

When I arrived at my car, I checked the clock on my cell phone, and I was pleased to see that only 2 minutes had elapsed – leaving me 8 minutes for chomping down my sandwich, locating my visor, obtaining my visor, sprinting to the bathroom next to the poker room, taking an epic piss, and getting back to my tournament table (where things were going well). I ate about half of the sandwich in about 2 minutes and decided to save the other half for later. I then swapped my computer glasses (which I wear pretty my all the time) for my distance glasses, went to the edge of the structure, and quickly spotted my visor. It was in the taxi/limo pick up area – in the middle of the road.

With about 5 minutes remaining in the tournament break, went back to my car, swapped glasses again, locked my car up, ran down three flights of stairs, ran into the middle of the street, and got my visor. I then ran back to the poker room area and hit the bathroom (where there was no wait – $hip it!).

After all was said and done, I still had about 2 minutes remaining before the tournament was due to resume. I settled down, consulted my jam/fold cheat sheets, and went to war. This tournament had a very flat payout structure (86 entrants; top 25 paid; 25th got $200; 1st got $1000). I ended up taking 15th for $550 – after which, I headed to my car to finish off the other half of my peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Fun times!

May Your EV Always be Positive!

Tony Guerrera


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Tony Guerrera is an established poker author, an instructor at PocketFives Training, a member of Team Moshman, and host of the popular poker strategy podcast, Killer Poker Analysis. Tony blogs about decision optimization on and off the felt at


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